Monday, 16 September 2013

St Ninian's Map

I knew a man once, a simple man,
brave of heart. He carried the Celtic cross
beyond Hadrian's wall into the Pagan land,
Alba. A lover of nature's all, the puffin's cry and
silver fish swimming with the seal, he sought love
in God's light. A faithful few built the Candida Casa,
for him a bright white house at Hwiterne, above
the seashell shore where he walked in sun, 
rain when God's holy grace watered crops,
but the Pagans said the clouds opened anyway
as the Sun God slept.

I knew a man once, a good man.
He would sit quietly gazing at the tide, its ebb,
flow, praying for a change to Christianity.
They called him a Saint for his miracles.
He would have laughed at the propaganda,
not agreed, for all he did was give his heart
to his God, told them of a Holy Spirit
who walked the land, as he prayed to be safe
in the Lord's hands.

And solitary sometimes in a dark cave in
the earth, under the omnipotent moon Goddess'
starry sky, he must have wondered there alone
if the old Gods of creation the recalcitrant
Picts revered were so different after all.
All blessed nature's path to ease the mortal
journey into death's afterlife, called
for every man to abandon evil in his tracks.

I knew a man once. His bones were warmed
by the hearth just as mine, but the piety
of the desert fathers had inspired his soul.
The Jesus legend was a new story to be told,
retold on a cold winter's night, at the Yule Solstice.
Christians and Pagans worshiping alongside in
that same ancient place, huddled together for warmth,
a survival, for the night's breath chilled
indiscriminate to the bone.

I knew a man once, it was long ago. Bede's Ninian was my brother, his name was Uinnian.

If you would like to read more stories and poems on this week's St Ninian's image by Magpie Tales please visit