The Verdant Hymn

and the trees raise their hands in praise of the light

St. Kevin’s Prayer

Two years ago, after our wedding, my wife and I took the trip of a lifetime to Ireland. For years, both of us had been inspired by the mystery we had seen peering out from the dusky pictures of wind-bowed bog grass reflecting the fading light of a copper sun. We had found ourselves lost in the melancholy hope or luminous despair of the old songs and ballads.

The trip didn’t disappoint. We daily felt ourselves being swept up in the warm loneliness of ¬†the western highlands with its rocky coast and reveled in the beauty around us.

The one place that had the biggest effects on us was Glendalough – the ruined site of a monastery founded by the hermit, St. Kevin. Never before had we felt in such a strong way the presence and peace of God. The air just rang with the resonance of His glory. All that to say – Glendalough, the life of St. Kevin, and (particularly) this incredible birch grove were the catalysts for this poem: