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10th Century riddle seen at the Book of Kells exhibit which sounds like a Michael Ondaatje poem

Posted by on April 24, 2006

One of my enemies ended my life Sapped my world

strength afterward soaked me Wetted in water,…Set

me in sun where soon I lost the haurs which I had.

And then the hard knife edge cut me…Fingers

folded me and feather of bird traced all over my

tawny surface With drops of delight,…

Then for trappings a man Bound me

with boards bent hide over me Glossed me with

gold and so I glistened Wondrous in smith work

wire encircled

…Say what I am called Useful to man Mighty

my name is A help to heroes and holy am I.

4 Responses to 10th Century riddle seen at the Book of Kells exhibit which sounds like a Michael Ondaatje poem

  1. BD

    Am I allowed to spoil it or proffer a guess?

  2. holohan

    I have no idea. I’m going to guess “Jesus” because I don’t think people were allowed to write about anything else back then.

  3. michele

    i think it’s the book. someone cut down the tree (“sapped” him), made him into paper, drew on him, and bound him in gold.

    i love that book. so gorgeous. i have a facsimile that my mom bought me while i was in high school.

    you should take lots of pictures of crosses–the cool irish ones which incorporate pagan sun worship with the christian cross. i am so tempted to get a tattoo of one of those. they also do the pagan tree/cross hybrid one. love it!

  4. didofoot

    yeah, it’s vellum. i just liked the wording.

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