St Cuthbert’s Procession – a poem by Barbara Usher

St Cuthbert’s Procession

‘He was invited by my master Sibba….. who lived near the river called the Tweed, and came to his village with a company of people piously singing psalms and hymns.’ Anon. Life of St Cuthbert

Sing praise 
wholehearted words
to the bright blessed graceful 
salmon that is as wise as Himself
the salmon at the well of mercy 
We meet on the joyful path. Created
word-wise, we delight to praise Him 
in our own tongue, oft with joy-craft. 
Bless our swine, kine, sheep 
may they rest 
grass-sated in leaf-shade of rowan.

No boundary steppers we,
mindful of our covenant with the Rune Man
we bless you otter, gliding, mud wrestling,
wild goats skipping on the hills 
Be healthy Walker-weaver,
Be healthy Leaf-worm
As day’s eye petals bloom, open to the peace candle
we offer Sib-love, truth love of friends and un-friends alike
Let all unfriended people come, we will share.   
Heart love, bee bread, meat.

Endnote:  In Old English, joy-craft = music, boundary stepper = those who transgress, Rune Man =  decipher-er of mysteries, here with capitals applied to God.  Walker-weaver = spider, day’s eye = daisy,  peace candle = sun, bee bread =  honeycomb , meat = food. 

Barbara Usher practises animal theology on her 4 acre animal sanctuary, Noah’s Arcs. Her poetry has been published in Borderlands:  an Anthology,DreichLast Leaves, and in Liennekjournal. Her work appears on the Resilience soundscape for Live Borders, and she has contributed to a local project with Historic Environment Scotland. 

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