The Grail

The Grail

A Poem by David Lewis Paget

In the village Bellastrino

On the craggy Tuscan hills,

Lies an old abandoned Abbey

And the Church of San Michele,

Though the village was abandoned

There are two who would not go,

The Abbot, Father Grandier,

The Priest, Don Angelo.


The Abbey on the mountain top,

The Church down in the dell,

They’d fought, these two, for twenty years

Consigning each to Hell!

For in the Church of San Michele

Before the village failed,

Down in the crypt, beneath the floor

They’d found the Holy Grail.


A bowl, fine wrought in pale green glass,

There’s no room for debate,

The Templar Knights had left it in

Eleven eighty-eight,

They’d always said they would return,

In fact, they never did,

They went to challenge Saladin

And died, as they had lived!


‘It’s mine,’ said Father Grandier,

‘Not so,’ said Angelo,

‘I found it and I’m keeping it,

Here, in the Church below.’

‘It should be in the Abbey,’

Father Grandier opined,

‘Its glory on the mountain top…’

‘Not so! The Grail is mine!’


For years the two had tussled

Had approached the Holy See,

The Pope thought it ridiculous

And said: ‘Don’t bother me!

We have two dozen of those things,

A heap of rusty nails,

All from the Cross at Calvary

But these are peasant tales.’


A Cardinal then came to call

And tried to sort them out,

Well practiced in diplomacy

He said: ‘No need to shout!

You have a choir each,’ he said

‘Who visit in the spring,

So hold a competition here,

What better way, than sing?’


‘The better choir shall win the Grail

And keep it for a year,

Up in the Abbey’s mountain top,

Or down here, if you dare.

Then sing for it each passing year,

Three judges, understood?

If one should win it three years straight

They keep the Grail for good!’


With many muttered mumblings

And hellfire in their eyes,

The Abbot and the priest said yes,

Dissembled with their lies,

They each set out to cheat their way

To keep that Holy Grail,

The Abbot got to pick each judge

He thought he couldn’t fail!


The Abbey won the first two years

And held the Grail on high,

While poor Don Angelo despaired,

The time was coming nigh;

They had to sing for it once more,

He knew that if he failed,

The Abbot would, victorious,

Not let him keep the Grail.


Don Angelo went down to Rome

And brought a tenor back,

His voice like rich red Tuscan wine

To join his choir’s attack,

They sang their hearts out on the day

But saw the judges feign,

And shake their heads, Don Angelo

Had nothing left to gain.


The judge stood up to name the prize,

The Abbot had his way,

The tenor stood and sang a note

Not heard since Jesu’s day,

He held it long, unwavering

The Grail began to ring,

A long high-pitched reverberance,

The Grail began to sing.


A minute there, without a breath

The tenor held his tone,

And Grandier stood up, alarmed,

Let out a fervid moan,

The Grail sang on, then shattered

Fell in pieces to the floor,

The judge stood up and shook his head,

Then said - ‘The sing’s a draw!’


The Abbey holds the base of it,

Up on the mountain top,

All glued together, like some vase

Bought in the Red Cross Shop.

While down there in the little Church

On a thousand Euro tips,

They’re coining them a fortune with

The rim that touched his lips!


David Lewis Paget

© 2012 David Lewis Paget

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Featured Review

Isnt it true The one with the grandest relic certainly gets the most tribute. Funny that they would fight over the pieces as well Instead of seeing the uselessness of the endeavor. Its time we grew up and became adults here .Stop worshiping items.
I for one say no good father wants to be worshiped no would he suffer such base instincts as jealousy. The things the church stands for are so opposite the things a good man would be. By example the churches here promotes the very thing mankind is so good at conflict and exclusion. I for one can't think of worse palace to spend eternity than with a heaven full of ideologists .I'm with Twain on this .Ill winter in heaven for the climate .Then stay in hell for the company .The poem is great and the language full of our past. I personally think you truly stand out here in your ability to research these things and put truth to the tale.

Posted 9 Years Ago

3 of 3 people found this review constructive.


How mankind perverts and destroys even their own values. A great "satire" of religious conflict. I read deep meaning between these lines and the historic accuracy gave it a firm resolution. Well stated "argument" put forth as simple historic observation.

Posted 9 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

such an interesting take on a popular subject. well written, poignant as usual.

Posted 9 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

And I thought I had the Holy Grail... As always you tell such vivid tales that seem to have truth to them.


Posted 9 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Men are still searching for the true grail..
The yarn you've spun a worthy tale
Of lies deceit and jealousy.
If christian priests cannot agree.
What chance is there for other creeds
Who minister to their flocks needs.
Religions rise religions fall
The same fault underlies them all
Theydo not practice what they preach.
and yet they still presume to teach.
It is no wonder that they fail
in searching for the Holy grail.

Posted 9 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Really great poem loved the historical content and vivid imagery

Posted 9 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Ah, Master Storyteller, you tell a moral tale. Aesop, for one, would love to steal this out from under you and give it to a fox and a gator. I think Chaucer would jump up and down with glee. You made me laugh, you made me shake my head, and most of all you made me glad I looked for one of your poems to read. You are never a waste of time~~quite the contrary, you enrich my day. Thank you.

Posted 9 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Not heard since Jesu's day for sure,
Though I wouldn't remember, the name is a blur.

Posted 9 Years Ago

A lovely piece of work to be sure! I greatly admire the history you managed to squeeze in so skillfully.

Posted 9 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

David..I am not with tate on this you know,,my beliefs are too strongly imbedded inside my heart and soul..Without my faith I am nothing..most days now..He is the only one I can talk to that understands..My honey doesn't anymore..Love to you and Lyn..Kathie

Posted 9 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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23 Reviews
Added on September 1, 2012
Last Updated on September 1, 2012
Tags: Abbey, church, mountain, cardinal


David Lewis Paget
David Lewis Paget

Moonta, South Australia, Australia



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