Michael Shepherd

Rookie (8.4.1929 / Marton, Lancashire)

0330 How Christianity Came To Britain

Poem by Michael Shepherd

bright banquet-hall in darkest night -
swallow flies in, through, out -
from where, to where?


Comments about 0330 How Christianity Came To Britain by Michael Shepherd

  • Ghada Shahbender (5/25/2005 1:06:00 PM)

    And the bird will come with what the hearts desire! Arabic saying. GS(Report)Reply

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  • Michael Shepherd (5/25/2005 11:01:00 AM)

    Quick answer before I check details: 6th century AD/CE; Southern Britain still pagan, but King Edgar of Kent has Christian wife via Northumbria and Ireland. Pope Benedict the? th sends St Augustine (not the famous one) to convert England. Chats to King, using poetic (!) metaphor of swallow passing through lighted room, i.e. life, from out of darkness back to darkness. King digs metaphysical significance, announces Kent converted to Christianity.
    MS thought aha haiku there (or new poncy name trelina) .
    Full marks to Andrew and John for swooping (!) on other symbolic references, and to Uriah for poetic response.(Report)Reply

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  • Andrew Konisberg (5/25/2005 9:40:00 AM)

    quite surreal, I presume the signifance of the swallow is symbolic...Eliot used the swallow (in 'The Wasteland') as redemption from 'the arid plain'...the mute Philomela is transformed into her swallow in Ovid...and didn't Dante have a swallow in 'Purgatory' singing sad songs at dawn? the biblical allusion to the swallow, is strong. The swallow usually signifies spring. took this to be about 'The Last Supper' as well.(Report)Reply

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  • Uriah Hamilton (5/25/2005 8:18:00 AM)

    I don't think I understand it, but I do think I like it.(Report)Reply

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Read poems about / on: night



Poem Submitted: Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Poem Edited: Saturday, July 15, 2006