Time of Gifts

The voyager wept
for this was him
pieces of broken shell
tossed upon a migrants' shore
here indigenous he can never be.

He is tangata tiriti,
who stands upon broken shells;
remnants of empire's permafrost.
Shielded from ancestral traumas
- assimilations work.
Not all stories subsumed;
remnant strands,
fragments handed down
of dùthchas nan Gaidheal,
memories of indigenous lands.

To him dùthchas nan Gaidheal
a hidden treasure, a gift almost lost:
Indigenous tongue - its poetic beauty spurned.
Sounds, colours and smells
indigenous ways of Gael & Pict
rely on others memories, hand me downs. 
Yet ancient winds still stir ancestral bones
whose voices speak from unknown graves
of ways Crìost moved amidst woven clans.

And deep in his blood he desires
‘He who was, is and is to come’,
The One who rejoices 
in Gaidheal Christian past-
The One who knows Calum Cille’s
words spoken to his ancestors
till Solas Chrìost encircled
their fractious lands.

‘He who was, is and is to come’
again gathers broken shells,
washes each with tears
melds them like paua.
till plaid colours form
and flicker new dawn's light;
Now Crìost moulds them,
fashions a Kildalton's Cross.

East and west faces He makes,
reveals the finished work of Crìost.
He places the cross, raises it high
between heaven and earth,
seen from the sun's rising-place
to the setting of foredawn's stars.
This Sign of Life from the first of times
was, is and is to come a gift from Crìost.

Kildalton Cross in Gaelic is Crios Cill Daltain'.Daltain means little brother or foster brother - a Gaelic poetical name for the beloved disciple John. It is a remarkable cross, each face tells tales of resurrection power of the cross. It is crafted in rich iconography pointing to the resurrection of Ìosa Crìost. The first in the indigenous afterlife art of the Picts, and the second from the scriptures and gospels of the Bible. The high cross, carved in 8th century by monks from Iona, stands on the Isle of Islay, Scotland.

Calum Cille: Saint Columba
 Ìosa Crìost: Jesus Christ
Solas Chrìost: Scots Gaelic for the light of Christ.

© Craig A Roberts, 2023

Photo: Adobestock
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