Colum Cille Cecinit

In this version of an 11th/12th century poem about the 6th-century scholar/saint Colmcille Heaney sets out the dignity and sacredness of daily toil and demonstrates his respect for scholarly labour. Cecinit: Heaney draws directly from Latin using (full title) the 3rd person singular of the Perfect indicative active tense of cano, canere (to sing), so ’sang’   i Is Scith mo chrob on scribainn The scholar/ scribe takes a break from his task: My hand is cramped from penwork. He examines his quill, its tapered point and the nature and gloss of wet ink issuing from itsbird-mouth: a blue-dark/ Beetle-sparkle. His function is to transmit Wisdom/ welling in streams from inherited texts. He and his writing are as one in fine-drawn/ hand.  Despite the script’s sallow faintness and the quill’s flooding, Riverrun with fluid the colour […]