James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

June 9

Saint Columba

By Lionel Johnson (1867–1902)

  • St. Columba, who died at Iona, Scotland, on June 9th, 597, was an Irish missionary, in Scotland. He founded the monastery of Iona.

  • DEAD is Columba; the world’s arch

    Gleams with a lighting of strange fires.

    They flash and run, they leap and march,

    Signs of a Saint’s fulfilled desires.

    Live is Columba; golden crowned,

    Sceptred with Mary lilies, shod

    With angel flames, and girded round

    With white of snow, he goes to God.

    No more the gray eyes long to see

    The oakwoods of their Inisfail;

    Where the white angels hovering be,

    And, ah, the birds in every vale!

    No more for him thy fierce winds blow,

    Iona of the angry sea!

    Gone, the white glories of thy snow,

    And white spray flying over thee!

    Now, far from the gray sea, and far

    From seaworn rocks and seabird’s cries,

    Columba hails the morning star,

    That shines in never nighted skies.

    High in the perfect Land of Morn,

    He listens to the chaunting air;

    The Land, where music is not born,

    For music is eternal there.

    There, bent before the burning Throne,

    He lauds the Lover of the Gael;

    Sweet Christ! whom Patrick’s children own;

    Glory be Thine from Inisfail!