This sixteenth-century French cabinet
was a bequest. Originally to keep wine,
it now holds urns
of ashes awaiting internment.
And here we have our hermitess.
Her door is closed this morning
so she will not receive you.
Perhaps if you return—
No. She keeps no regular hours,
every audience is by chance.
I don’t know; no one knows precisely
how she spends those days alone. She has ink
and paper, needles and yarn, a small
black cat with white paws.
Sometimes she makes a little book,
or socks in brilliant colors that you might glimpse
between her long black skirts and her shoes—
Yes, her books are for sale in the gift shop;
sometimes she’ll sign one.
No. No socks.
No, she won’t let herself
be photographed. Or sketched.
When her door is open, she may let you in.
She may let you pet her cat, if
you are quiet and ask no questions.
Now down this corridor is the choir room
with a beautiful tapestry, very old,
of Magdelene in the Resurrection garden.
We’re very fortunate to have it in our care.