The Book of Kells



This poem features one artistic scene from the famous Book of Kells, from my perspective. I visited Ireland in April, 2016 and visited the exhibit, then brought home an explanatory book that contained some of the scenes from the original. This is my attempt to simply break the image(s) down to poem.

Book of Kells


On this page, a curly haired bearded

monk, unsmiling, seated above

and surrounded by circles,

partly conceals a text in his robe.


Circles abound, perfection

symbolic across the solemn

ornamentation, BIDERAT,

incomplete squares, open knotted

harmony, green gold Celtic

visionary, and on the side a beast.


What story is this? A man alone

in a field of geometry and esoterics.


Jesus, that’s it. Christ on a cross

and a circle of thorns upon his

beaten and knotted brow,


He the Word made Flesh,

He hidden in theorems and color,

God a curly-headed monk, a blond

in an Asian robe.



this rectangular blessing,

this calling, this exegesis.


And the earth, too, is a circle,

and the sky a fragment,

female, rising above but ultimately


left off the page.

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