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Kells, Poetry, and Hoyt’s Birthday

illuminated manuscript
Illustration from the Book of Kells

First, happy birthday today to Hoyt, my extraordinary husband and love of my life. A few years ago, Hoyt and I visited Kells, a village in Ireland. Beautiful, green, moody, Ireland!

Here’s a gift from Ireland. You may know of the famous Book of Kells, an extraordinary version of the four Gospels with elegant and elaborate decorative illustrations. The original manuscripts are on display at Trinity College in Dublin, and we had the chance to see them. I wrote about that here ⇒  little blog.

Poetry celebrates Kells

The Irish poet, Eavan Boland, came to Orlando a few years ago, before I ever went to Ireland, and I heard her read at Valencia Community College. After listening to her powerful but soothing voice, I couldn’t resist buying her book, “Against Love Poetry.”  It was years later that we went to Ireland. I had not revisited Boland’s world of words until today and noticed this poem about what happened in Kells long ago… thank you to Hoyt for taking me to Ireland!

Limits I

So high

in their leafy silence

over Kells, over Durrow

as the Vikings

raged south-

the old monks

made the alphabet


they dipped iron

into azure and

indigo: they gave strange

wings to their o’s

and e’s: their vowels

clung on with

talons and the thin

ribbed wolves

which had gone north

left their frozen winters

and were lured back

to their consonants.

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2 Responses

  1. Linda Goddard
    | Reply

    Thank you, Charlene, for sharing this poem and Book of Kells and your experience listening to Eavan Boland!

    And say happy birthday, belated to your husband!

    See you soon!

  2. Charlene Edge
    | Reply

    Hi Linda. Thanks for your comment.
    Ciao for now.

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