Read introduction

No not a Pub name!
As St Patricks day of 17th March is globally celebrated I thought I’d record in verse the impression his story has had on me. A few years back I took the time to read his full “Confession” and was deeply moved by it. Now I am not making some great religious statement as anyone who knows me (and you might tell from some of my poetry!) will know I am a deeply flawed individual. I’ve read the Bible and Richard Dawkins God Delusion, and I know where I’ve come out. So I set this wee piece in the context really of the drunken political leprechaun-based orgy that inevitably ensues each of Patricks “celebrations”. Having read his Confession, here is what I think he’d like to say…some of the words and phrases in this poem are lifted directly from this Confession…
There is a legend in folklore that, because Ireland has no snakes, they were removed by St Patrick. This, I believe, is a metaphor for a different snake, common in Druid/Pagan culture in Ireland and depicted in the Celtic twirls carved in stone, that you might see at Newgrange.

The Serpent's Head

Fdf5205c-8b5b-4da8-a6dc-63fe28d680a9by Billy J. Stewart16 Mar 2014

I look at what we have become and I could weep,
And cry a deep and flowing river on the ground,
For this is still a land of wayward, self-destructive sheep,
Whose bleating in my ears perfects a piercing sound.
But my mind recalls a book I read some years ago,
An account of one called Patrick, who among us once did walk,
And the impact that he had, did to us a legacy bestow,
So I wish I could, to him, just for a moment talk…

Ah Patrick, where art thou, sweet child of God?
Do you remember all the words you did to us confess?
When they dragged you from your house, and placed you on our sod,
And here you met the Living God amidst our wild and hellish mess.
Though escape you did, but not for you to shake away our dust
From your shoes when you returned to your own shore.
For God came to you in vision, and he placed on you a trust
To pity pagan wretches, and come back to us once more.
Though the clergy scoffed at you, for lack of formal education,
But nothing could they know of Heaven’s awesome plans,
And they completely got it wrong when they missed your burning dedication
And the fact that God had placed, on you, his pierced hands.
So you ran to us and brought a hope of everlasting light
Into darkness where the Lying Serpent had his cushy lair,
And led by Holy Spirit, you let Jesus win the fight,
Flushing out the fork-tongued snake from everywhere.
Thus in standing there amazed, and all astonished we
Unbowed our heads before the glorious creation,
In lifting up this light you set the captive native free,
And through the Shamrock Triune Godhead, you sanctified our nation.
You turned our hearts from Leprechauns and fairies, and superstitious fable
To a cross where One had borne away our pain,
And in understanding truth at last, the actions once of Abel,
We lapped it up, no more to make the sacrifice of Cain…

But that was oh so long ago, a thousand years and more,
And the crafty Snake has got a foothold back again
In the hearts and minds of paganistic worshipers galore,
The love of money has pierced us a ragged, jagged pain.
We were once a saintly, scholared emerald isle,
A shining beacon to a darkened world in need,
Now a heinous squabble rises like some rancid, poisoned bile,
From a cauldron mixed with hedonistic, self-fulfilling greed.
Drunken orgy marks the memory of Patrick on that day in March,
And a row of whether he was Catholic or Prod,
So his effigy is dragged to drumbeat through the triumph arch,
Then we kid ourselves, its all to do with God.
We have forgotten what the Sinners Saint so long ago has taught us
We have dug ourselves a line of deep and gaping graves,
We are frozen in the headlights, and the Snake has nearly caught us,
His determined quest to make us all his slaves…

So as I read again his story and I think of what it cost,
I am moved by every word of his Confession,
He rejected wealth and fortune just to seek and save the lost,
And I’m left with this, a very strong impression:
I believe, if he could tell us something that he wants us all to know,
He would tell us if he only could us meet,
That the One who sent us Patrick, a sinner, with a message long ago,
Has forever crushed the Serpents head beneath his feet.
Has forever crushed the Serpents head beneath his feet.