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Caldey Island

I light a candle here for you
ghosts from my island year,
dead as the flame dies in memory’s cup,
as the wave soaks into sand,
as the gull’s cry once uttered dies
and from the flame I send my sooted song
to settle once again on your hearts
that in this moment you may hear my cry.

Here was a refuge that sailed me by
peopled in summer’s rush and pain
by names beyond recalling
and faces then so strong and real,
diluted now by many summers’ rain.
The same Christ crosses the same bright sky,
the same cliffs wait the same sea’s break and call
but chances never never come again.

I light a candle here for all my dreams
that linger in the salt smell and the gorse
taking this sanctuary moment from your shrine,
pagan in a moment’s heaven,
serpent in an angel’s hair,
knowing there was peace here all the while,
that the heart flies with freedom too
not having the weight of a heathen’s smile.

Knowledge matters little, nor truth in the end,
belief is the greatest leveller of men,
what’s in the mind is truth, even a lie.
I cling to the gorse my head among the thorns
certain in my mind, like you:
but you have the comfort of shrine and candle
heart hymned by certainty, vespers of light
to float you through the agony to night.

I paint your faces in cool candlelight
trembling unrecognisably on curving walls
knowing that none of us gathered in this place
will know the truth in the end,
if I am right.
Faith gives you years of certainty
a pool of light my mind cannot reflect
yet it matters little who we trust
if we must share at the end the same black dust.

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