• Letters to Stanford


I, Brother Stephen

I Brother Stephen, sit in the Scriptorium
Copying,copying with diligence and x delight
In elegant, decorative lettering
Psalter and gospels,praise be to Him!
And praise also to our holy Abbot
Mild dove of Christ, sainted Columba
Of Ulster,Scotland and Northumbria
With whom I sailed out from Lough Foyle,
Away from Derry's grove of oaks
When he was known as Columbcille.
Long years ago we sailed,563 A.D. or so,
Landfall unknown,the green wavexxx pounding
And the storm butting our craft on to Iona.
Deathly sick and scared everyone was,
All except our gently strong Columba
tho calmed us with his burning faith.
"They that seek the Lord", he said,
"shall want no manner of thing that is good."
Praise Him! Praise Him! Praise Him!

study, prayer, fasting, gardening, fishing,
The bothers knew little comfort of the flesh
xxx foreven our robes are course and scratchy
Yet none would have it otherwise. Praise Him!
Praise Him for thistle as for rose,
Praise Him for bogland as for meadow.
My hands are calloused from oar and spade
So that I drive the quill right clumsily
Across the parchment acreage.
Praise Him! Praise Him! Praise Him!

Time was, when stripling green, I danced
In peacock robes of proudest hue,
Dicing and drinking in my father's house
Of princely pomp and devil's luxury,
Whoring fraa starry hour till rosy light.

One night when crazed with mead and lust
I ploughed in ecstasy my brother's field,
Emptied into his wife my bag of seed,
He roused us from our lecherous embrace,
Killed her,the faithless one,at a swift stroke.
Brother fought brother until I left him dead
Beside the marriage bed I had defiled.

I fled in panic,sought Columba's narrow cell,
Confessed to him the anguish in my heart.

He sheltered,fed me,wrapped me in God's peace.
Praise Him! Praise Him! Praise Him!


1977 Jul 22nd
Brother Stephen
LHL, "GreacenStanford287", Northern Ireland Literary Archive, accessed Fri, 05/07/2021 - 15:12, https://www.niliteraryarchive.com/content/greacenstanford287