Monday, September 16, 2013

Island Ties (Poem)


Map of St. Ninian's Isle
Courtesy Tess Kincaid at Magpie Tales


Island Ties

Not every island is tied
to its main land but nature
remakes in time a pathway

from restored connections.
Sea's hidden arms dredge
sandy depths where long ago

lies in a grave of stone. A patron
saint casts his rites in fine silver
bowls — in thimbles of wine

held high — thus loosening
mad Norse men's collars, swords'
songs of Gaelic winds unchilled

in warm notes of sweet sirens,
calling. A bone of porpoise jaw
in unknown hands etches the sign

of the cross across the scabbards,
undoing the need for mortared
walls those ancient Vikings built

round hearts ill-made. In metal
salts are found decayed a thistle
brooch, Celtic and penannular,

and Pictish forms, true meaning
never clear, gilt heads of animals,
lobed and geometrical. Island

treasure revealed in island time,
a hoard older than faith's own
deep dark roots we cannot bury.

© 2013 Maureen E. Doallas
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This poem is offered for the writing prompt at Magpie Tales: the image of a map of the fascinating St. Ninian's Isle, where a hoard of treasure was found in 1958. Go here to read others' contributions to the prompt or to drop the link to your own poem or flash fiction.

St. Ninian's Tombolo

St. Ninian's Penannular Brooches

4 comments:

jen revved said...

This is a spectacular poem, Maureen-- sustained and crisp imagery-- I love the way you worked the history and lore of the place into the poem-- beautiful simple but wrought language-- I did something entirely different with this that I may post later-- xj

Tess Kincaid said...

Evocative...historic...beautiful...

Kathy B. said...

"roots we cannot bury" is a captivating image.

~T~ said...

I love the images of faith setting the captives free and bringing peace. May it be so again...