Let them tell of God’s works with songs of joy. Psalm 107:22
The first of English poets he
Who nurtured by the Whitby sea
A poor and simple cowherd seemed.
Yet here the gold of poetry gleamed
Though hidden deep within his soul
For from the company he stole
Fearful to be found afraid
When they their entertainment made
The very least among the throng
With little speech nor any song.
Then in the stillness of one night
His soul was filled with heavenly light
A vision of the world being made
Of God’s creation all displayed
As in the stable stall he lay
Dreaming he heard an angel pray
And speak to him of God’s great world
And how its majesty unfurled.
Then day by day to his inspired mind
That had seemed deaf and dumb and blind
There came sweet words so bright and clear.
Then Mother Hilda came to hear
And stayed with all her Abbey folk
While Caedmon, poet of Whitby, spoke.
No longer now to steal away
When came his turn the harp to play
For in his Saxon mother tongue
Were all his splendid verses sung
And improvised with great delight
In many a stormy winter’s night
When firelight filled the raftered hall
In far off ancient Streonshalh.
Then folk would learn the poems by heart
Or memorise a favourite part
Making them one with Christian praise
In those remote, unlettered days.
Praise you, wisdom and Founder of all.