A manifold mass meanders through the museum.
A line leads to the legendary illumination.
The crowd creeps to the crepuscular cranny.
I approach the plinth and peer at the pages.
The tome is tarnished by the touch of time.
Its margins marred, musty and mottled,
The perishable parchment is perhaps no longer perfect,
But the bold beauty burns bright:
Against the grime the Gospel glows.
The sublime story studded with little suns,
The leaves lie open, lavishly laden,
Marked with the mind’s mute message.
Embellishments might seem to move.
The work of angels, the Word of God!
But scrutinizing I descry scribal scratches,
Indentations indicating an individual’s industry.
This is not angels’ notation but a man’s.
A nameless laborer, like I, leaned low, looked close,
To bring about this book of beauty.
A genius gained no glory, going unknown.
He cast light for others, not upon himself.
Doubtless, he has long left to dwell with the Lord,
Forsaking forever the frame of his flesh.
Yet I can know, nearly see, the anonymous monk.
Inspired but inarticulate, I invoke his intercession
That I may work words of wonder and worship,
Illuminating the love of the Lord of Life eternal.
Jacqueline Medcalf is a professional educator and an amateur Medievalist. She recently graduated from the University of Dallas, and now lives in Texas with her husband.
Jacqueline Medcalf, “The Book of Kells,” An Unexpected Journal 3, no. 3. (Fall 2020), 171-172.
Direct Link: https://anunexpectedjournal.com/the-book-of-kells/