One thought on “from In Praise of Saint Brendan

  1. I have written this poem about Saint Brendan and a mission of mercy…

    Of Seabound Saints and Promised Lands
    by Michael R. Burch

    Judas sat on a wretched rock,
    his head still sore from Satan’s gnawing.
    Then Saint Brendan’s curragh caught his eye,
    wildly geeing and hawing.

    “I’m on parole from Hell today!”
    Pale Judas cried from his lonely perch.
    “You’ve fasted forty days, good Saint!
    Let this rock by my church,
    my baptismal, these icy waves.
    O, plead for me now with the One who saves!”

    Saint Brendan, full of mercy, stood
    at the lurching prow of his flimsy bark,
    and mightily prayed for the mangy man
    whose flesh flashed pale and stark
    in that golden moment, beneath a sun
    that seemed to halo his tonsured dome.
    Then Saint Brendan sailed for the Promised Land
    and Saint Judas headed Home.

    O, behoove yourself, if ever your can,
    of the fervent prayer of a righteous man!

    In Dante’s Inferno, Satan gnaws on Judas Iscariot’s head. A curragh is a boat fashioned from wood and ox hides. Saint Brendan of Ireland is the patron saint of sailors and whales. According to legend, he sailed in search of the Promised Land and discovered America centuries before Columbus.


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