Columba found out the hard way
not to cross his employer’s plans
He found out too that
beautiful accommodates ruthless
the angel appearing not as
the expected cherub but
an SS Sturmscharführer with Iron Cross
and Gold Oak Leaves
an angelic enforcer who lashed
the miscreant saint for three solid days
the brothers could hear the whipping
and cries inside the saint’s hut but
daren’t interfere for fear that
the holy hit man might ask:
D’ye want tae try some as well, Son?
And find themselves going to vespers
with their face in a towel.
Columba bore these scars
for life and carried the
experience into his dealings
with recalcitrant Scottish kings
When asking, Don’t you think
that in all the lands of the world,
God couldn’t find another king
for your people?
It was hardly a question and
the kings taking note of the holy man's
scarred back knew this was a god
with a message they could appreciate;
My way or the highway!
Perhaps, seeing in the mind’s eye,
the downstairs accommodation
and God’s war-band waiting
beyond the palisade
with whips and heated tongs
they took the baptism
for Scotland’s sake.
Today, the 9th June, is the day of Columba's earthly death in 597 on Iona, after a long life of converting pagans, curing the sick, banishing demons and other still enjoyed benefits of his blessings. This little poem is written in gratitude for the protection our nation's saint has provided (as promised) to us. It seems to be working – after all, we're still here, while better appointed others have long took the road to oblivion. The poem is actually from a little book, Epiphany in Azure, which you can download free if you click on the Big Ride link.