Tuesday, January 19, 2010

St. Fillan (patron of the mentally ill)

Saint Fillan's Cave, Pittenweem, Scotland

With an armful of stars

to light the path, you lead me

to the pool that is as still

as a mirror in the night.

This is a cure, you say,

Something to stop the sun

from speaking, to silence

the reasons to stop


The water is as cool

as I imagined as it

creeps higher and higher

up my thighs, towards

this heart that beats

too fast for this world.

You lead me to a bench

in the water, submerge

everything but my head,

as my hair fans out

and floats on the surface.

I’m tied here for the night,

which I understand

from your explanations.

If the ropes are untied

by the dawn, I’m cured.

If not, God must not want

me to walk back to our

sturdy earth and

keep living.

You wander back to shore

with that arm that glows

like a beacon, a moon

you carry like a baby.


"St. Fillan was the patron saint of the mentally ill. As late as the 19th century, the mentally ill were dunked in St Fillan's Pool, bound and left overnight tied to the runied chapel's font, or some say to a bench in the old priory. If the bonds were loosed by morning it was taken as a sign that the cure had been successful." -Wikipedia

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