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