A thousand years ago Monks set off from the rocky western shores of the old world. Alone They took to the fathomless depths in simple, shallow tubs crocheted of sticks and leather, submitting without paddle or sail to wind and tide. They trusted their crafts To carry them safely: rough little coracles — Nothing but sticks and twine, wattle and daub, covered in hides Little round bodies tossed and blown Taking them across, around, over and through this world to a greater purpose.
When they arrived on a new shore they disembarked and began to work for the glory of their God, The mission undiminished by the humble, homely craft, its leaky, broken walls Scarred by wind and sun and salt water, A testament to endurance, survival But no measure of the value of its contents.
Freshly washed up on the shores of a half century, The landscape of years stretching before me, I see now That this body is my coracle. The toll of so many years travel is easy to see: daub eroded by the current, the joints and tendons strain and creak, it leaks and lets in the cold and fails more and more --
But Inside it I am whole.
This vessel Of me, but not me, Merits honor for its service, Praise for its endurance. So long as it perseveres It should be lovingly cared for, reinforced, repaired; But its precious cargo Must not be confused with the thing which carries it. And so I lift my chin and taste the wind Running my hands over the familiar, weathered surface Bones and flesh, sinews and joints, I look to the horizon and trust that whatever becomes of the soul within My coracle will serve but not define And I am worthy.