Today is St Patrick’s Day, a day which, in my part of the world, is an excuse to drink lots of beer, dress in green and orange and wear puffy hats with shamrocks on them. But there is a more meaningful core to this day. Patrick was in fact quite a remarkable man whose honest, rustic faith helped transform a nation. Apart from being famous for (allegedly) ridding Ireland of snakes, he also used the three-leafed shamrock as a symbol of the Trinity, an idea which was at the very heart of his faith, so I have chosen that as the starting point for a poem written in honour of him.
The Three-In-One (For Patrick, Bishop and Missionary)We…shall not die, who believe in and worship the true sun, Christ, who will never die, no more shall he die who has done Christ’s will, but will abide for ever just as Christ abides for ever, who reigns with God the Father Almighty and with the Holy Spirit before the beginning of time and now and for ever and ever. Amen. (The Confessio of Saint Patrick) Over distant seas He reaches Into long forgotten hearts Calling as His people those Who have not been His people, Using as His instruments All the small, unlearned ones, Those whose speech is rustic, to Nullify the things that are. Into distant souls He reaches Over long forgotten seas Into tribes who worship suns And do not know the Son. Three-In-One is He who reaches Wide and vast within Himself And who prays in intercession, Bleeds and pleads for me. Over chasms vast He reaches Into souls and parting seas, Three-In-One, His love ingathers, Calls His people home. Vast and loving are His wide arms, Spread out on love’s gath’ring tree, Full and flowing, love eternal, Spanning every sea.