STUDYING THE BOOK OF KELLS

If there is any holy book so close
to embodying poetry, it is the Book of Kells,
that sacred collection of the four Gospels,
at least those agreed on by Mother Church,
who is not my mother, its God not my God.

The Book, though, is worth more than twice
its weight in gold, filled with the richest
of illuminations, mystical figures, symbols,
all any ‘God’ might desire, and any demon, too.
Made by men who prayed, for men who coveted,

as possession was more important than devotion,
and he who held it wished only to keep it
for himself, to exhibit it with pride to
those who could not read, who believed that
‘God’ was exalted, everlasting, and impartial,

and that it was ‘His’ hand that calligraphed
the letters, guided the brushes of the monks,
stretched and purified the vellum. Anyone
who turned its pages became holy, but the Book
itself is modest, venerable, and hidden.

There is nothing like religion to divide
everything that can be found under the sky.
The Book of Kells may be admired but not
touched, venerated but not read. I would like
to know if one day it, too, will turn to dust.

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