Friday, November 5, 2010

St. Dabeoc's Heather

I was a fasted pilgrim,
light-headed, leaving home
to face into my station.
– Seamus Heaney

And Jacob came to Socoth:
Where having built a house, and pitched tents,
he called the name of the place Socoth, that is, Tents.

St. Dabeoc’s heath blankets ben and bog,
Thick and grey as a monk’s hood. Dawn’s faint blush
Daubs the day with druid prayer stroking each crag,
And stone crops out by nature’s broadened brush.
But ageless Dabeoc pitched his mission tents
Everywhere to shade over pagan tones
Of low and highlands, graced with crimson tint
Conveying Lough Derg’s island-stationed stones.

So Jacob’s spontaneous booths and altars
Hallowing the hollow ground around Salem
Eventually canvassed the land of Canaan
And his pilgrim steps painted – from Adam
To Abraham to gospel’s glossed margin –
Hinted shroud’s lament in his tented psalters.

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