Holy Trinity, ‘The Ballad Of Angels in the Churchyard’
This story was orginally told by Signore Bortolo Zanchetta of Bassano, Italy. Who translated the ballad into English is not known. The year was 1880, five years before Holy Trinity was built and consecrated.I have changed some place names and added some scotch and parking signs.
Wally du Temple
At Holy Trinity stayed I
One winter night in prayer
Beside my daddy’s tomb stone
On his birthday I was there
I had some big misgivings
My heart was sore with guilt
I had’t come more than a year
Since tombstone I had built
So brought a bottle to toast him
His favorite ‘Highland Cream’
“Four wings of a bi-plane please
It’ll really make you dream.”
So we drank together heartily
I quaffed eight ounces straight
My mind was twirling mightliy
The night was getting late.
I know not when the sun went down,
So much I sought to pray
I know not when the ‘tswilight’ glow
Floated soft ‘ackwoss’ Pat Bay
And when the fair, round moon arose
Behind the airport hill,
I looked across the churchyard path
And startled, stayed me still
Though low above the sleeping dead
The folded daisies slept,
I was not alone with patient watch
Until the morning crept
Came angels through the churchyard gate,
But in no heavenly guise;
So unadorned, I little thought
They came from ‘Paradise!’
The moon lit up their robes of white;
Framed by the trees full grown.
I watched them, as they paused before
One sunken, moss-grown stone,
And there they silver censers ‘slung,’
As at some saintly shrine.
But never incense burnt on earth
Had perfume so devine.
Between the graves they glided on:
Toward a cross they turned-
A wooden cross that bore no name-
And there the incense burned.
A fading garlend on it hung,
Of wild flowers simply twined;
Whoever lay in that poor grave
Had left some love behind.
And on to others, three or four,
Their noisless steps they bent:
Where’er they stayed, the insense rose;
Then, as they came, on went.
As they moved from graves along,
I thought to forward quest,
And speak with one who walked apart,
A step behind the rest.
Why ‘scomes’ you here slurred I
Holy Trinity to ‘svisit’
The granite tomb stones stark
That ‘leans’ at the Mills’ Roads ‘slimit’.
“Of God’s own saints,” the angel said,
“A few lie buried here;
And He so loves them that to Him
Their very dust is dear!”
“So, while their souls with perfect peace
Are in His presence blest,
He will not of these humble graves
Should some unhonoured rest.
“Each night from heaven He sends us down,
Where’er His flowers are sown-
These bodies that shall one day rise,
All glorious like His own!”
I was silent for my lips
Could find no word to’slay’:
I stood entranced, and like to one
Whose soul ‘swent’ far away.
As sun o’r Sidney arose,
They’d gone like mist at dawn.
I said good bye to father there
And stumbled all over the lawn
To West Saanich Road lurched I
As the bottle I placed in sack
By road sign “Thou shalt not park”
Did Someone cut me slack?
My tires were flat!