Thursday, June 4, 2009

Blessing The Statue

This is my friend John enjoying the sun.
Following my trip up Minaun mountain here on Achill last Monday I sat down and drafted a poem. Then re-drafted. Then re-drafted. It still isn't finished and might not be for months. But it's born and taking it's first tentative steps towards maturity. It's beginning to 'feel' how I want it to. See the initial draft and the current 3rd draft below.

Blessing Ceremony of Our Lady Star of The Sea, Minaun mountain, Achill island, 1st June 2009.
~ for Paddy and John

Blue on blue - sky, ocean, air,
soft springy turf and scattered stones
white rock summit cairn, beckoning, inviting;

we thronged expectantly, hushed.

We had come up slowly
like ants on Minaun mountain
to find the island's still centre
to witness the blessing
of 'Our Lady Star of the Sea.

Each of us, humbled in our journey,
gained entry, it seemed,
to a realm above man's;
looking about him a man remarked
'If I were a billionaire
I couldn't buy this.'

We sang 'Amazing Grace'
strains drifting among us
like perfumed incense
were caught and held briefly,
then, on a slight breeze
were carried to Clare island,
to Croagh Patrick over Clew Bay
until they came back again
as a quiet refrain - a thanksgiving.

Making our peace,
we shook hands with neighbours -
friends and strangers -
and turned our gaze to the sky
where Our Lady Star of The Sea
gazed on lovingly, arms outstretched.
And we knew this day
that people, islands, earth, sky,
were All Truly Blessed.

So that's where i got to with the 1st draft. Here is the 3rd, a couple of hours later:

pilgrims and priests
above the island
we climb the mountain
to witness a blessing

blue on blue
and scattered stones
white summit cairn
white marble figure
we throng expectantly
then hush

people islands earth sky
boats fishermen sailors
circle about us
until All are Blessed

strains of Amazing Grace
drift like incense
are held momentarily
then carried to Clare island
Achillbeg, Inishbiggle, Inishturk,
Caher, the Inishkeas until,
a quiet refrain
returns over the calm Ocean

we shake hands
offer peace
turn eyes skywards
to where
Our Lady Star of The Sea
gazes lovingly arms outstretched

we come down again
stepping lighter
among heather and stones
having been to the mountain top
having seen from the mountain's Summit.

(c) Mark F Chaddock 2009

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