Thursday, 25 May 2017

A Ship Of Stone

St Magnus Cathedral

You built a ship,
A tall ship of stone,
To sail our souls in,
With a crew of painted saints
To fill the sheets of faith with song enough
To lift stone into sky.

A thousand years of
Eroded stone and windworn wood, and
Watching the sea, and
Reaching for the wind, and
This ship sags against its anchors.

You built a ship of stone,
A tall ship of stone,
Crewed with saints,
To fill her with song.
And she is still here,
Anchored and earthbound.
Have you forgotten the songs
Of stone and hope and heart
That could have lifted her to the clouds?

This poem is inspired by St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall on Orkney Mainland. I wrote the first draft of it before I ever discoverdd that the Cathedral is called the "ship of stone" - its shape had really captured by interest: long and narrow, like an upturned longship - witha crew of painted saints...This year is also being celebrated as the  (probable) 900th anniversary of Magnus' death with exhibitions and events across the islands

1 comment:

  1. Lovely and acute poem asking all the right questions to the church in general, it seems to me...'rave on' :-) Jay (Ramsay)