An early medieval Christian psalter was discovered in a northern Ireland bog in 2006.
The sun cuts through bog mist like a backhoe
as rusty lichens labor beside the oxidizing sheen
of swamp water and silicate for their possessions,
rocks knobbed as skulls, and a dead deer
whose rack claws from the peat
like fingers through air.
Yet this Psalm, heavy in velum,
seems to rise from the mire,
barely eaten by the bog’s dogged acid.
Inscribed by a thousand-year-old monk,
who lost it there, perhaps thinking of God’s
periodic silence when arrested by the hush
surrounding this mossy sore, the parchment
climbs like a slow crack up a wall. It drags
veined pages, its bowed spine,
up alongside sphagnum and tannin
like bones covered in song.