Saint Columba, Colmcile – The Patron Saint of Poets

Saint Columba, Saint Columban, Saint Columbanus; by whatever name you would like to refer to him, he was an Irishman and as such it is fitting that he is the patron saint of poets, because poetry flows through the Irish blood, and the Irish call him Colmcile.

What we know of the life of Colmcile has been magnified by myth, taken on a supernatural bearing through the typical aggrandizements that characterize the hagiographies of the saints, but Columba was famous for his non-supernatural work above all, for his missionary work and building monasteries in Scotland among the Picts.

The timeline of Colmcile’s life crosses over with that of another famous Irish Saint named Columbanus (the Latinized version of Columba, Columban) , Columbanus was also famous for his missionary work, and building monasteries on the continent, in Frankia and Burgundia, and as far South as Lombardy.

Colmcile’s is said to have lived in the mid 6th century CE, while Columbanus’ time lime extends to the early 7th century.

Both men are believed to have set out from Ireland to do their missionary work in in the company of twelve companions, like Jesus with his disciples. Colmcile’s work is said to have been concentrated in Scotland, and Columbanus work is said to have begun in Scotland but then it was quickly transported to the European Mainland.

There is a listing of the names of Colmcile’s companions, on this list are the names are those of Columbanus the Younger and a man known as Cummain.

Two things have been suggested by modern historians: one suggestion is that Columbanus the younger is actually the Columbanus who continued the missionary work on the continent in the name of Columbanus the elder, who was actually Colmcile or Saint Columba, the other suggestion is that all of the deeds committed by Columbanus (the elder and the younger), Columban, Columba, Colmcile and Cummain are the deeds of one person, a person who was a prolific writer.

Two of Colmcile’s poems have survived and it is for this reason that he is the Patron Saint of Poetry. He is also considered to be the founder of the abbey at Iona which preserved so much of the historical deposit of ancient writing through the dark ages.

Columbanus - Patron Saint of Poetry
Given First 06.09.2020

Frames of Reference

Past acquaintances
Human associations
Frames of reference

Passing comments shape
Old dreams into new visions
The future beckons

Remember the form
Of yesterday’s solutions
Youthful illusions

We solved the world by
A million equations
Finding the difference

The world was smaller
From the perspective of kids
The limits of youth

It is bigger now
Requiring equations
More complex in scope

We manipulate
Conclusions with preconceived
Notions of the truth

Form them in patterns
Certain continuities
Existential pique

Seeking clarity
In the mirrored eyes of friends
Rejecting falsehood

The Greatest of All Time

Muhammad Ali left the world three years ago, the greatest of all time is gone

Muhammad Ali held the world in his hands, the greatest of all time, lives on

I heard the news of his passing, I woke in the middle of the night
I heard the news of his passing, I listened to the stories and cried

Ali, the greatest of all one has died

Of all the heroes I ever fell for, he was the one that was truly alive
The only one I ever prayed for, the only one I thought Could make a difference in our time.

Ali spoke to the heart, he spoke for justice and freedom, he told the truth, he spoke of love

He spoke to the world the same as he fought, he fought for everyone

He spoke in rhythms that dazzled, in words that hurt

He floated
He stung
Like the butterfly
Like the bee

With the symbols of his fame he struck the powers of the world


He was a prophet in our time, he praised and he scolded, sharp tongued in his youth

He remained a silent witness in his old age, after his voice was taken from him

I remember the day in 1980 when I heard the news that he had lost

Muhammad Ali lost! Ali would never fight again!

All the kids on the school bus murmured, Ali was not the greatest of all

The world stopped making sense.

Muhammad Ali gave my generation permission to be ourselves, be bold, and brag
Be good, do right

Muhammad Ali taught us to question, to challenge authority, to shun war

He taught us to risk the things you desire most, to give up titles, and money, and fame

Muhammad Ali let them go for things that matter most to him

Ali taught us to serve the truth, seek justice, do good as long as we draw breath
He was the greatest of all time

Ali handcuffed lightning and put the thunder in jail

His star rose like the sun
Three years ago it set

Muhammad Ali will never be forgotten, for as long as the world shall spin

Given First (as an essay) – 2016.06.04


Stepping onto the train platform, he lights a cigarette
The hustle of the crowd confuses him

Palm to his forehead, he feel it, the cool-clammy
Perspiration, sweating

The advent of shock
Heart pounding-quickening pulse

He steps into the crowd of people, lost and consumed
Steaming bodies rock him

Tobacco smoke in the air makes him sick
Stomach fluttering

The platform becomes
A maze, a large man curses
“Pay attention you…!”

Fuck, the load voice barely registers above the din
Terrified and alien

His stomach rebels, vomit spills past closing lips
Clasping fingers

The crowd vanishes
Parting from his path, he is
Ushered to the train

Pain and Toil (Haiku Series)

My world is in pain

There is war, both visible

And invisible


Murder and torture

Ubiquitous indifference

Killing for profits


Sheep to the slaughter

Machinations of power

There is no honor in it


Let the people go

The many, dying for bread

Thirst for clean water


They are innocent

Toiling for their families

Victims killed by greed


Ground away by war

For bananas and coffee

Their tears soak the fields


The people suffer

We are washed in blood, and shame

We greedy humans


We cannot escape

We are walking appetites

Persisting in crimes


Dreams manifesting

Destinies and cruelties

Purchased on credit



Our progeny, hungry ghosts

Wailing at the moon


Tragedies and coin

Guarantees of ignorance

The collected host


Feed the soil with bile

Water it with suffering

The future, condemned

Observation – January 2nd, 2017, Monday



It is 4:00 pm, and the rain is freezing.

The rain covers everything in a thickening layer of ice, a slurry of slush and snow.

It was warm today, but the temperature is falling, dropping below zero.

There are people outside, they have no shelter.

Some will not make it through the night.

I am warm in my house.

My cat does not give a care for the world, except to see through the window a bird, a rabbit, or a squirrel.