Sorrow at Stanlow
The Mersey floods were nettlesome: muddy
river water in the refectory forced the white-
habited Cistercians to evacuate their abbey
on its Cheshire peninsula and build instead
in Lancashire where Roman soldiers once tramped
wary of rebel British tribes or invading Picts.
Now Stanlow stands desolate, brambled
and nettled; waterbirds roost as ships ease
by on the Manchester Ship Canal and
sun glints on oil refineries--Stanlow cut off
from the world, little visited or known about.
No more hunting for ducks or eels for supper,
no more hymns to the glory of God drifting
over the Mersey mudflats at low tide.
Christopher T. George
Ruins of Stanlow Abbey. Photograph from English Heritage.
Also see Whalley Abbey, near Blackburn, Lancashire.