On this page you find a sample of some poems that I have
written. I often think I write the kind of poetry that won't so
much impress people as make them feel 'I could write a poem', so I
hope this small selection might inspire you to write.
In August I was spiritual accompanier for a Pilgrimage to
Ireland and Wales led by Russ Parker. These poems were written
following visits to some ancient Celtic sites.
Ciaran was born in 515. He founded a number of monasteries
and came to Clonmacnoise in 549 to establish a new Christian
community in the busy crossroads of river and road transport.
He died not long after founding the community, which, after his
death became one of the greatest centres of mission and learning in
Thus Ciaran died
While peaty smoke caressed his face
And swans swooped over Shannon reeds
In the morning mist.
What did he see in those dying moments
Beyond the teary faces of faithful friends?
Did he see the future vision for which he strove?
Did he see the busy scenes of gospel-hearted scholars
And flames of brilliant light
Unextinguished by the cold winds of persecution?
Or were his eyes fixed on a greater flame,
The light of all lights?
Whatever his eye saw in those fading moments
There were those there who were so heated
By Ciaran's firey vision
That they travelled to the ends of the earth with that flame
And a darkened world blazed up in luminous glory.
Let my heart be lit by such unquenchable fire
That even the valleys of deepest darkness
Will be enflamed with tender Christ-light.
Brendan was born in 484 Brendan was born near
Tralee in the south-west of Ireland. He was an active planter
of monastic communities. In his early 60's he felt the call to
search the seas of the West. In the Voyage of Brendan this is
described as a part literal exploration, and part spiritual quest
for Paradise. After he returned from his voyage he continued
his community planting and died in his nineties and was buried at
Brendan was as mad as a bear with toothache
But it was a madness you loved
And you took hold of that old bear
And threw him out to sea
'Til he returned to land with such a wild tale
That even the priests laughed themselves silly.
The people danced in the surf of Bantry Bay
And a thousand coracles set sail
Into the bright breeze of your Spirit.
O Lord madden me by that same Spirit
Bring on the God-blessed flights of fancy
Inebriate me with Holy Ghost visions
And set me free to behold with the eyes of my heart
Great wonders on the high seas of God.
Brigid was born around 454. She was the Abbess of the
monastery at Kildare that included both women and men. She was
known for her kindness and charity, assisting the poor and freeing
slaves. The fire she lit in the heart of her community burned for a
thousand years, and the remains of this fire temple exist to this
Leading lady, leading light and brightly lit leader;
You were fuelled by the Breath of God
And the deep breath of a people inhaling the life of Christ.
Lit by compassion you reached out with healing.
Your flame burned for a thousand years
Tended by women of faith
And your fire is still remembered
By those who seek the warmth of Christ.
Dear God, open the vents of heaven
That I may catch my breath at your wonders
Fill me, that I may breathe upon the dimly burning wicks
And the fragile fires burning in the hearts
Of your servants in this beloved yet wounded world
And let the compassion of Brigid
Be as a fire in the temple of my soul.
Kevin was born in the middle of the 6th
century. He founded his monastery in the lower valley of
Glendalough, but later felt called to live the life of a hermit in
the upper valley. He was at heart a mystic and was a great poet. He
was a gentle and kind person with an unusual affinity to
Few heard your footsteps in the forest
As you searched for your place of prayer.
You came to your mountain like an evening mist;
Mystery hung in the valley
While poetry rose in your soul.
Young mystic, dark-battling, light-releasing saint
You settled in your quiet soil
As autumn leaves brushed the lips
That quivered in devotion.
May I too find my high places of prayer;
Give me the grace to live with the shadows of God
And let holy mists of glory
Rise in praise to my most dear Creator.
Brynach was born in Ireland some time in the
6th century. He felt called to plant a community in
Wales but initially there was strong opposition to him because he
was Irish and following an attack he was seriously wounded with a
spear. He was also attacked by demons, but survived all these and
eventually planted his community at Nevern. Visitors today can see
an ancient high cross, and yew trees 1200 years old, one of which
weeps blood-red sap.
Dazed by the spear wound
Brynach found himself lowered
Into the sacred stream of Redspring.
And there, through the gentle hands of friends
The healing of Christ repaired his torn body.
He knew his destiny:
To plant a home in this foreign land
And this he did
Despite the hostile threats of men and demons.
This home still stands where ancient trees weep red
And a high gold-splashed cross
Reaches triumphant to a wild Welsh sky.
Dear Lord grant me Brynach's perseverance
That I may not fear the wounds from hostile hands
Nor be distracted in my quest
To build life-giving homes
Where the redspring of your Cross
Will weep with healing glory
On the sons and daughters of this wounded earth.
Non gave birth to David around 500 during a great
storm. Tradition has it that when she gave birth, nearby water
gushed from the ground and became a natural spring of water that
has flowed ever since. It has been regarded as one of the most
sacred wells of Wales, and many healings have taken place
We see you, Non,
In paintings, windows and sculptures
As a serene mother
Holding your infant, David, to your side.
But on that day when your waters broke
You gripped the stone on which you lay
And in your agony you birthed that young saint
Into Welsh destiny.
With his birth
The waters of the earth broke
Upon the bright sea-breezed headland
And have never ceased to flow.
To this crystal stream
Countless followers have pilgrimmed
To mark their new birth
And to feel the cool waters that rise from the dark earth.
Let your fountains of living water
Spring up again upon our dry land.
Flood us with the waters of new life
Flowing from the deep earth
Of your most generous heart.
After studying on Caldey Island, Illtyd founded a
community at the place now called Llantyd Fawr in around
500. Illtyd was a fine soldier, but was dramatically
converted when meeting the hermit Cadoc. He had a brilliant mind
studying maths and philosophy, and he became a fine Bible
In the candlelight
Illtyd leans over his grainy wooden desk.
His head is as still as a standing stone
As he draws his mind once more
Into the pages of Holy Scripture
That are to him the brightest of lights
In a world of deep shadows.
The hand that once wielded a great iron sword
Now grasps the feather of a goose
And in the silence
Wisdom is scratched onto another page of history
And the foes of God are silenced.
Bless the mind you have entrusted to me
Take me deep into your sacred Scriptures
That well stand the test of time
And let me wield your wisdom
With an Illtyd heart
That radiant truth will set the captive free.