William McTaggart, The Coming of St Columba (1895) National Galleries of Scotland
A smell of saltiness and sand
of spiky yellowy grass on the machair
of freshness in the wind.
A sound of waves again and again
of gulls, skuas and cormorants crying
and distant voices hailing us from the small coracle.
The clouds scudding along
rolling and tumbling to who knows where?
White, billowing, fluffy clouds
holding perhaps the promise of rain.
But more than anything I could see water.
Salty water to cleanse and heal
tumbling over rocks and stones
bringing shelled creatures to the seashore
and leaving them.
It was water that brought Columba
from Ireland to Scotland
bringing the Word, bringing his message.
Ebbing and flowing
slaking their thirst.
Waters of Creation
to baptise, renew, refresh
to restore all things
immersing them in new life.
By the gentle dew, the steady rain,
God nourishes and gives increase to all that grows.
Grow in us, this Lent.