Friday, February 1, 2013

St.Kevin's blackbirds

                                                                           Clive Hicks Jenkins

When we were trying to find a name for our second son, the choices were Keith and Kevin.I am so glad that the final choice was the latter.Kevin is a strong name and the saint who bore it in Ireland centuries ago is a mythic figure.

St.Kevin served in Glendalough,Ireland in the sixth century and there is a story about him that I only recently came across.The saint was praying with his arms outstretched and one was outside a window since his cell was so small.As he prayed in deep reverie, a blackbird flew into his hand and nested.The saint finally noticed and unwilling to disturb the bird and nest,kept his hands outstretched until the baby birds fledged.I know what you're thinking.Really?

The intention of this story, while it may not be factual ,was to show Kevin's intense prayer life and his love for all nature as a reflection of the Creator.I think It's a beautiful image to ponder as we know about 21st century civilized folk who deliberately run over turtles crossing the road.

In 1996, I visited Glendalough and was fascinated by the quiet,and the small waves lapping the shore of the two lakes.I climbed up to St.Kevin's bed which is just a ring of stones on a hill overlooking the lakes.It was a bright, cool day .I sat down and closed my eyes.Immediately I felt the peace of the place.A deep contentment pressed down on me.It seemed that ancient prayers still swirl in the air there,I could feel them.Just then, a young English girl sat down next to me to chat and the spell was broken.It would have been rude to ignore her and she turned out to be a delightful encounter.Still, I feel I have unfinished business at Glendalough.

" his hands,and all her hatchlings were born ,
safe in his prayers and gentle palms.
the baby blackbirds grew and flew far 'way
from the patient saint-to new lakes and lands.

This happened long ago like a dream,
like a kiss that leaves you wond'ring what it means."Jane Beal


Martha said...

Very beautiful! You painted two pictures with words....

sharon graham said...

Thank you for reading and your kind words....