St. Patrick Wasn't That Bad Of A Writer - Op-Ed Piece
St. Patty’s Day is among us.
Get out the bagpipes.
Start river dancing.
And wonder why if they can turn the river green for one day, why can’t they turn it blue the other days of the year?
It is the Irishmen’s time to shine.
You’ll notice a few things as the Patron Saint of Ireland has his day.
There is a lot of green.
So much that you’ll forget it is a real color.
Thanks to green screens, the color green has been reserved for St. Patty’s Day, grass, and the Boston Celtics.
No one seems to wear green according to television and movies because it won’t show up when they are in front of a green screen.
That somehow makes the day of the Irishman even more special.
Also, there will be a lot of beer.
You knew I was mentioning this.
Probably too much.
You may even have to call in sick the next day at work because of all the alcohol you consume.
Don’t fret. That is the Irish in you.
Drink all your problems away.
If the Irish can do it, and somehow still be here, (I personally think they should do a scientific study on if Ireland is still with us), then for one day of the year, you can drink all your problems away too.
You don’t have more problems than the Irish.
Trust me, I would know.
Maybe you’ll settle with a good ol’ Irish meal.
Have some corned beef, some cabbage, potatoes, and some Irish soda bread.
If you do not have any soda bread on St. Patty’s Day, pretend you forgot the holiday and move on.
Soda bread is more mandatory than alcohol on this day.
You may come across someone who may even know who this so-called St. Patty character is, and his significance to the world.
He spread Catholicism to Ireland around the fourth and fifth centuries, which is a big deal.
Christianity didn’t really grow into the religion we know today until a little before that, so in terms of spreading the word of God, St. Patrick spreading it to Ireland was very important, historically speaking.
His successful spread of the religion is one of the greatest missionary accomplishments of all time.
It is not an exaggeration to say the world would be different if St. Patrick didn’t exist.
No Catholic Ireland.
No split among them and the British, who are not Catholic.
Which leads to all the conflict, which we still feel today.
You may believe that the day is not that special or is only about getting drunk.
But my friend, you are very wrong there.
I want to draw your attention to the writings of St. Patrick and how I feel he is not given the credit he deserves for his craft.
Sure he is not as prolific as King David, or as inspiring as the Gospels, but the guy deserves some due here.
“Christ Be With Me”
Christ before me
Christ behind me
Christ within me
Christ below me
Christ above me
Christ be with me
At my right hand
At my left hand
As I lie down
As I rise up
As I stumble
As I fall down
Christ as I stand
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me
Christ in every eye that sees me
Christ in every ear that hears me
That’s a pretty good poem if you ask me.
He does a good job of keeping it simple with his language while adjusting it enough to get the elegance there.
He also did a good job of staying on point.
We know what he is saying. It is pretty clear, he wants Christ in his life.
When I read this piece, I thought I would be happy with myself if I wrote this.
I’d lean back on my broken office chair, take a read over of the paper and think to myself, “This isn’t half bad. I mean, I know it’s religious, so you have those people out there who will run when they even imagine reading something like this, but this is written well enough that it shouldn’t matter.”
Having said that, you don’t need to be a Christian to appreciate this.
You don’t even need to know much about Christianity to like this.
All you need is to have an understanding of what it means to long for something.
In this case, the author is longing for Christ in his life.
This poem has an understated poetic element that I love and, I think, shows St. Patrick had more of a head on his shoulders for literature than we give him credit for.
Here is a second piece:
“God of Heaven And Earth”
Our God, God of all men,
God of heaven and earth, sea and rivers,
God of sun and moon, of all the stars,
God of high mountains and of lowly valleys,
God over heaven, and in heaven, and under heaven.
He has a dwelling
in heaven and earth and sea
and in all things
that arc in them.
He inspires all things,
He quickens all things,
He is over all things,
He supports all things.
He makes the light of the sun to shine,
He surrounds the moon and stars, and
He has made wells in the arid earth, placed dry islands in the sea
and stars for the service of the greater luminaries.
He has a Son coeternal with Himself,
like to Himself;
not junior is Son to Father,
nor Father senior to the Son.
And the Holy Spirit
breathes in them;
not separate are Father
and Son and Holy Spirit.
I don’t like this one as much as the other one.
It lacks the rhythm that made the first so memorable for me.
The part I do like about this is how he stayed on point with his poem.
He did a good job with all the places that God could be in.
This one may be a little too much for some not interested in reading prayers, but I personally like it.
This being the second poem he wrote makes me think more of him.
If this were the only poem he wrote, without the first, then I wouldn’t hold St. Patrick as highly as I do.
Both poems have an impersonal feel to it, yet they can be very personal too.
St. Patrick is not directly in the poem.
He never mentions himself, other people he knew, or where he was talking from.
These are written for the reader to have thought that these words were said by them.
You are supposed to read these and say them as if they were your own.
That is not as easy a task for a writer to pull off.
The most famous Irish poem is called the “Irish Blessing” and is not actually written by St. Patrick, because it is a traditional prayer, but you can assume he had a good hand in making it what it is today.
Am I saying that St. Patrick is the best writer ever?
But to do what he did, plus the poems he wrote and made popular, makes him great.
Perhaps his true greatness isn’t in his words, but how he used them for his message.
A lot of people write, a lot.
Novels with plot twists, short stories with strange elements, letters from far away, emails to co-workers, posts on a blog, chats to family, texts to friends, messages to Mom, tweets to followers, poems about sadness, queries for the next book, resumes to employers, notices about liens, summaries of the movie, reviews of the latest restaurant, articles on whatever pops into their head…
But how many of them can use their words to help spread a religion?
That’s special and for that, we should all have a drink for Saint Patrick on his day.
I’ll leave you with the “Irish Blessing.”
In full, the blessing, which is also used as a prayer, reads as follows:
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day.
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What is your favorite part of Saint Patrick's Day?
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About The Blogger
Greg Luti is an editor and blogger on pensandwords.com. His favorite writers are Robert Frost and Charles Bukowski. He enjoys reading up on history, watching comedies, and playing video games, when he is not writing down a few notes for his next piece. He started this blog out of his love for literature and hopes that the reader shares that same passion.
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