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Sunday, 17 April 2011


He sang as a bird might sing: clear,
full-bodied, matching every note
to the subtleties and splendours of a God who spoke.
But this was all in dream, in his small
private world. In ours
he had no rank or station, and he had no voice.

Yet just because he sang so in that dream
the power came to his life. He sang
of things he had not known before. His voice
thrilled through the pious monasteries. The bleak
religion of his day awoke to pray.

His world was shadowy;
the cattle alone for Caedmon were reality.
The Abbess Hilda was not real.
He knew her, of her, fed her cattle:
she remained
a symbol of his bread and butter.

Facing her across the hallowed study,
terrified to speak lest he should break the spell,
he felt the symbol change,
felt living water like a spring
well up from the abbess in her, welcome him.
The world had lost a servant, gained a limb .

This is my contribution for today to Writers Island's NATIONAL POETRY's Free Writing Month.


Isabel Doyle said...

Mr King, this is a lovely poem about the old poet-saint. Truly wonderful, and you know that I rarely gush.

Fittingly, the secret word is 'exuar' which sounds full of celebration.

Anonymous said...

The world had lost a servant, gained a limb

I love this line.

Stan Ski said...

A beautifully written piece.

Unknown said...

I have to say too like thelaughinghousewife that the last line of your piece is the one I love it resonates so deeply

Ron. said...

I'm always a sucker for any Caedmon poem, and this does not disappoint, as so many do. Kudos.

Carl said...

Another winner Dave. I agree with laughinghousewife... that final line makes the poem.

David Cranmer said...

Yep, the ending delivers.

flaubert said...

Beautifully penned, Dave, and I love,
"The world had lost a servant, gained a limb"


Tommaso Gervasutti said...

The "parable" vein continues mmarvellously, I have a feeling it could become or prelude to a future collection of yours.
I have just re-read "Space" which I had particularly enjoyed.

Windsmoke. said...

I have to agree with the comments made by thelaughinghousewife and Gwei Mui and add that it was very enjoyable :-).

Elizabeth said...

Beautifully written, and that last line so fulfilling,


Linda said...

Such an engaging poem and beautifully written.

Andy Sewina said...

Nicely penned!

Linda said...

Such an engaging poem and beautifully written.

Dick said...

This is really special, Dave. A beautiful meditation on Caedmon coming into his song. I don't know what draft this is in, but it's a keeper exactly as it is.

Dave King said...

Lovely comments, for which I thank you very much indeed.

thelaughing housewife
A warm welcome to you and my thanks for your comment. Much apreciated.

Stan Ski
Sincere thanks.

Hi, and welcome. Your comment is very much appreciated.

Thanks Carl, your encouragement is much valued.

Very many thanks.

Much appreciate that comment.

Interesting thought... that particular line hhadn't occurred to me, but I will give it some consideration. Cheering to know that you liked "Space".

Very encouraging. Thanks.

Always good to have such comments. Thanks for it.

Generous comment. Thanks.

Welcome and sincere thanks for your comment.

A really cheering comment, for which much thanks. I originally wrote it as part of a long poem - too long! This is a new and shorter version.

Dave King said...

Gwei Mui
My apologies for missing you first time through. I had read your kind comments, but skipped them when replying. My grateful thanks to you for them.

Jinksy said...

I can hear the song echoes, as they would be in a cathedral - your poem took on another dimension...

Dave King said...

Thanks for that Jinksy -
much appreciated comment.