Holy Island – a poem by Helen Jones


They walked, 
Crossed spike-ridged sand,
Feet-tearing shells and analytic rocks,
Steel-sharp sea, a scything wind
Battered skin-roughening wool on sopping legs.
They planted
Fragile cells upon a ridge
Beneath storm- beaten skies and gannets’ shriek.
Rough hand shaped stones
Made their bare square church,
Its music the seals’ fluting cries, percussion of the waves.
Nothing between them and God.

Numb fingers toiled to make word flesh.
Restriction here produced
A flowering of glory, a riot of blossoms, angels, beasts
Entwined as one.
A whole world singing from this barren rock,
And siren-like it drew in souls
To harbour in its grace.

All gone.
Behind the glory of the floating vaults,
The crowds whose chatter bounces from the walls, 
 Their nameless graves are hidden in the turf.
The sea withdraws again,
Across devouring sands,
The birds cry,
And the pilgrims come,
To look for what was lost.

Helen Jones gained a degree in English, many years ago from University College London and later an M.Ed. from the University of Liverpool. She is now happily retired and spend a lot of her time writing and making a new garden. 

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