Second Sunday After the Epiphany
- Isaiah 49:1-7
- Psalm 40:1-12
- 1 Corinthians 1:1-9
- John 1:29-42
In the Old English Style
I ken a cross cleaving clouds
high in the heavens of purple hue
the mark of my liege in the middle of morning
suddenly streaming strange ray-daggers
fiery flames from Wayland’s forge
burnishing war-bucklers baring souls
loosening artifice from feckless lives
who lack conviction leaving at the last
grim cobble-ground the gut of groundlings
daring discernment on judgment day
Who was Cædmon?
Cædmon was the earliest recorded writer of Old English poetry. He lived in seventh century according to Bede’s “Ecclesiastical History of the English people.” Bede translated “Cædmon’s Hymn” from Northumbrian Anglo-Saxon into Latin and praised him as the most inspiring writer of the sacred verse. Unfortunately, most of the poems written by Cædmon are not found. But according to Bede, Cædmon wrote on Christian themes like creation of the world, origin of man, Exodus, Jesus’ incarnation, resurrection, preaching of apostles, terrors of future judgment, pains of hell and delights of heaven.
Cædmon became a lay member of the monastery in his later life and he was not well-educated. But in his vision an angel appeared and blessed him with the gift of composing songs. Cædmon later became a monk and spent the rest of his life in Whitby monastery until he passed away peacefully in 680 A.D.
My poem on this page is based on a story about one of Cædmon’s poems. His actual poem is now lost.
January 19, 2020