Cuddy; a sonnet for St. Cuthbert

cuthberts-tombOn the 20th of March we remember with thanksgiving St. Cuthbert, the great Apostle of the North, in whose honour the Lindesfarne Gospels were made and on whose breast was found the beautiful Gospel of St. John which is our oldest complete book. Indeed, I was inspired to write a sonnet about the experience of standing in front of Cuthbert’s copy of St. John, which you can read Here.

Cuthbert, or ‘Cuddy’ as he is known affectionately in the North, was a man whose whole life was shaped and lived in and by the Gospel, by reconciliation, by good news for the poor and supremely by that free movement of the Holy spirit, flowing like water, and like the wind, blowing where it listeth. Though Cuthbert worked tirelessly for the church and for the poor he was at heart a hermit and a mystic, in intimate communion with God in his hermitage on his beloved inner Farne island . I feel a particular connection with Cuthbert and have walked on pilgrimage along the Cuthbert Way from Melrose Abbey in Scotland to the Holy island of Lindesfarne in Northumberland.

This poem is taken from my collection The Singing Bowl, published by Canterbury Press. Canterbury have also launched a Kindle Edition

As always you can hear the poem by clicking on the title or the play button

‘Cuthbertus’ says the dark stone up in Durham
Where I have come on pilgrimage to pray.
But not this great cathedral, nor the solemn
Weight of Norman masonry we lay
Upon your bones could hold your soul in prison.
Free as the cuddy ducks they named for you,
Loosed by the lord who died to pay your ransom,
You roam the North just as you used to do;
Always on foot and walking with the poor,
Breaking the bread of angels in your cave,
A sanctuary, a sign, an open door,
You follow Christ through keening wind and wave,
To be and bear with him where all is borne;
The heart of heaven, in your Inner Farne

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Lindesfarne where Cuthbert was Bishop Lindesfarne where Cuthbert was Bishop
the heart of heaven in your inner Farne the heart of heaven in your inner Farne


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7 responses to “Cuddy; a sonnet for St. Cuthbert

  1. Colin Lovell

    Thanks Malcolm. Looking forward to going to Lindisfarne in May.

  2. Blackler

    Dear MalcolmThank you for sharing this with a retired Dean (of Hobart,  Tasmania, bottom of the world) now edging or tottering his way to 88, come St Francis’ Day.


    div>With many memories one stand out was to see Cuddy’s cross

  3. trish walker

    thank you !– you bring, or perhaps keep, St Cuthbert alive with your words and your great affection and connection with him gently cups the whole poem. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  4. Just discovered you in the Biola Devotional and clicked on your link they provided. My wife and I made the pilgrimage to Lindesfarne in honor of our 25th wedding anniversary in our 27th year of marriage 14 years ago. I look forward to sharing your link with her this evening when I return home and see the Lindesfarne trivet on my kitchen counter. Tim and Carol Conrad, Missionaries to the world through a passion for Christ and an understanding of the World of Football. (the round ball).

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