- Written June 2010
Design a beginning that was not a beginning
From a logo that was not a logo
But a word that was God
Simply found before anything was
Shapeless and nebulous as the mists below
The eagle soaring high.
Draw what many have undertaken –
To draw up an account that owed no-one anything
Because there was nothing
And there was no-one
But He who became a sacrifice
Worth more than anything bovine.
Illustrate the start of a gospel
That relies more on what is not
Than what is seen
Yet nevertheless attractive
Surpassing landscape beauty
And the lion’s majesty.
Paint a record of genealogy
Of those who were and those not in line
Letting their flesh and His burst into life
For us and with us
In gentle lines of Northumbrian pigment
That makes Him colourfully human.
Imagined instructions from an Abbott to one of the monks scripting the Lindisfarne Gospels.
Each of these gospels has three illustrated pages:
- the ‘carpet page’ of Celtic knot-work,
- another showing the evangelist at work, with his motif accompanying – Mathew, a human-being; Mark, the lion; Luke, the calf; John, the eagle.
- the third with the first words of that gospel.