The Book of Kells Writing Competition


I didn’t win.

But I entered.

Trinity is my Alma Mater and I’ve always loved the Book of Kells. And when I saw the competition I wrote this. And even though it didn’t win, I kinda like it!

The Monk

The Monk

He squinted in the light

The nib it scratched as he began to write

The complex A, the unique B, the sprawling, curling, spiralling C

He bent his head

Quill in hand

The wind was howling

Other than that

No sound

Silent meditators

Prayers at night

He continued to work

By candle light

He crushed the colours

Mixed red with green

Such intricacy

These letters

Never before seen

This cobalt blue

Laced into another hue



Y or U

Transcribing the scripture

Biblical cues

Devotion to nature

Personal views

Master at work

Day through to night

This legacy of solitude

A basic right

The cold hurt his fingers

They cramped in the dark

This beautiful scripture

This monk left his mark

Written in round towers

High about ground

Secreted with treasures

Never to be found

Dug up in a field

Displayed with pride

Thousands have viewed

What once was stymied

One page at a time

Turned day by day

It would take a lifetime

To read all the way

How is your Latin?

It needs to be strong

The writing is small

And this book is long

A national treasure

Delicate calligraphy

On show

In the Long Room

In Trinity

A nod to religion

And Divinity

I see him

This monk

No parity

Down through the ages

It survived all the threats

The Vikings

The Normans

Those crazy Celts

He left us this beauty

This priceless relic

To show to the world

Yet so delicate

Preserved behind glass

To protect and conserve

To show to the people

It’s what they deserve

This specimen of national pride

No one can take away

Or deride

This magnificent book

Made of vellum and skin

Conceals its holy message within

It’s missing golden shrine

Makes it no less divine

Its beauty, it’s colour

Its essence of faith

Please go to see it

Before it’s too late










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