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In the Wake of St. Patrick’s Day — an Elegy to St. Patrick

In the Wake of St.Patrick’s Day — an Elegy to St. Patrick

In this post, in the wake of St. Patrick’s Day, Christian author Mark Fisher presents a prose poem to honor St. Patrick. ’Tis a sort of elegy, if you will. And no, your author has not gone glipe in the head. His fling into “poetry” is temporary and, with proper rest, will surely soon abate. Meanwhile…

Elegy to St. Patrick

To you, O Patrick, we give honor, pay homage, and bow low.

Forever, the years remove us. Like flocks flown south before the frost. Your legacy lives ever on.
Through the church.
Across Ireland.
And in civilization itself.

’Tis not green beer, nor shamrocks, nor men in funny hats. ’Tis deeper still,  this bequest you’ve left. This world you’ve changed.
This knowledge against the chaos.
This truth against the lies.
This light against the darkness.

From your villa they stole you. Across the wild, Irish sea. A frightened youth in chains.
To slavery and toil.
For six long, famished years.
Alone on Irish moors.

Once, you rejected God. Once, you despised the priests. But then you remembered.
And you prayed.
You fasted.
And you prayed.

“Holy boy!” did they cry. And they named your soul, your heart. These fellow slaves, imprisoned.
And God heard.
Then He answered.
And you listened.

“Behold your ship,” God whispered. But you questioned and waited. For who are we to hear God speak?
Whispered answer?
Divine direction?
In a dream?

But the dream came again. Behold a southern port! You abandoned your flock.
In the dark.
Over the bogs.
In fearful flight.

The ship waited at dock. But the captain said nay. To this ragged, bolted slave.
To God did you pray.
And before you left,
The captain said, “Aye.”

To wend your way again home. To family and villa. Unseen for heart-wrenching years.
A tearful reunion.
A ghost in the flesh.
A family reunited.

But something has changed. You are not who you were. And then came more dreams.
Divinely delivered.
Pulling at your heart.
Radiant and clear.

“Holy boy!” they sang. “Walk now among us!” The Voice of the Irish.
Souls of Irish damned.
Voices of pagans.
Desperate and pleading.

A deacon you became. Then  appointed a priest. Working ever toward bishop.
Granting sacraments.
Managing the church.
Preaching to the poor.

O miserable fortune! The Pope sent Palladius. So patiently you’d waited!
But foreigner he was.
And him, they rejected.
His mission a failure.

A bishop you became. On Irish shores did you land. Full of hope, joy, and peace.
Bearing gifts for kings.
Bringing courage and zeal.
With a heart for the lost.

How the druids did oppose you! Such a threat to their ancient ways! How they fought your new religion!
Using guile and tricks.
Plotting ways to poison.
Casting dark pagan spells.

How the nobles did hear you! Your good message of Jesu. Only a few did embrace.
Your message of light.
These Irish princes.
These nobles and kings.

And the commoners and freed-men. How they loved you and followed you! And your good message of Christus.
Such seeds of hope!
What words of mercy!
Such hope for eternity!

The hordes took the continent. But your cloisters harbored peace. Sought knowledge and scholarship.
Monks copied and scribbled.
Illustrated and sketched.
Protected and preserved.

O Patrick, you changed us! You showed us the way. For to Ireland, you went.
Bringing hope for the hopeless.
Mercy for the downtrodden.
Light against the darkness.

O Patrick, your bequest lives on in our day. Bent history to God’s end. Brought Christ to needy hearts.
Sent knowledge against the chaos.
Truth against the lies.
Light against the darkness.

To you, O Patrick, we give honor, pay homage, and bow low.

(With apologies to all poets everywhere.)

Keywords: St. Patrick, St. Patrick’s Day, Elegy

Mark is the author of  The Bonfires of Beltane, a novel of Christian historical fiction set in AD 432 in the time of St. Patrick. In which, he also wishes to add, you will find no poetry. Click on the link to learn more about his book.

Next week we’ll resume looking at centers of ancient Celtic culture.