A Poem by Sorrel Wood.
Jacob woke up and said, “The Lord is here! He is in this place, and I didn’t know it!”
The wind swirled and pummelled the thick morning rain
And the pale sheaves of corn swayed to its music.
The sea was a charcoal chasm
Rippling out towards purple islands:
Islands beyond islands, blurring into mist.
Iona Abbey crouched, squat, on the hillside-
Old stone booming with the loudest silence.
I fretted. Where was my holy moment
In this monastic place? Beside the road,
A fat, brown chicken pecked amongst the stones
Scratching around round dark puddles in the grey dirt.
It strutted, puffed up with feathery importance.
Beyond it- the abbey, beside it- the bins:
Black for ordinary, green for recycling,
Exactly the same as at home. I worried:
Was I the chicken, bothering at worms,
Oblivious to majesty and depth?
But no, that wasn’t it, it wasn’t that.
It was that dirt, chicken, abbey, worm
Recycling- all were holy in this place.
I was as holy as the island, alive as the wind,
Significant as Saint Columba’s bones
Imagining the light beyond the blurred mist.
Surely, God was in this place and I did not know it.
I scrambled to capture the poem
Before the wind cast it out to the waves.
The island was alive with whispered song
And I reached out to catch it like butterflies,
But it was like grasping at rainbow light
streaming through glass. And all I knew
As a clear stream babbled past the abbey
down to the sea, was that the spaces between
words are as important, as weighted with meaning,
as the inky scratches from the biro;
as much as the water stretching between islands
as much as the breaths between words,
and that my holy moment