The 26th of May is the day the Church remembers and celebrates the Venerable Bede, who died on that day in 735 (This year we celebrate him on the 25th, as the 26th is Trinity Sunday!) Bede was a Saint and Scholar, whose wonderful Ecclesiastical History of the English People, is still the major source for early English History, as well as being, in itself a deeply inspiring book. He is buries in Durham cathedral and set above his tomb, in beautiful shimmering letters is the text of one of the prayers he wrote. My sonnet in celebration of Bede draws on this prayer so I give its text here in both Latin and English and have posted a photograph of it below the poem.
As always you can hear the poem by clicking on the title or the ‘play’ button. This poem will be published in my next collection of verse ‘The Singing Bowl’, due out in November with the Canterbury Press
Christus est stella matutina, Alleluia
Qui nocte saeculi transacta, Alleluia
Lucem vitae sanctis promittit, Alleluia;
Et pandit aeternam, Alleluia
(Christ is the morning star who when the night of this world is past brings to his saints the promise of the light of life & opens everlasting day.)
I kneel above your bones and read your words.
Church-Latin letters, shimmering in gold,
A kingdom-glimmer through the dark and cold,
A revelation gleaming on the shards
Of all our broken lives and promises.
Christus est stella matutina
Qui nocte saeculi transacta
Christ is the morning star. He promises
The light of life when this dark night is past…
Lucem vitae sanctis promittit
You speak for all his Wounded witnesses,
The morning star will shine on us at last.
Scholar and saint, illuminate the way
That opens into everlasting day.