Here in the Abbey the night before they leave –
the blue-and-green table with wine and loaves –
the guests are scolded for the bags they’ll heave
downstairs in the morning, the too many clothes,
the too many stones from Columba’s Bay.
On the shore in the rain they’d been urged to choose,
to look hard, to live in a less encumbered way,
to discard what they could not excuse.
Now so much disappears into silence.
We break off a piece of bread, pass on the cup,
seeming to rest in the now so lightly
we’re almost the tremor of sea and islands,
not sure yet if we’ll be weighed down or buoyed up
by this incoming sense of what might be.
from 'Good Ground Beneath My Feet'
Martin Hayden was brought up in Dorset. He taught English in secondary schools in New Zealand and then in England, finishing his career in Suffolk where he still lives. Since 2007 he had several spells on Iona, as a volunteer with the Iona Community. He is a keen amateur pianist, enjoys climbing in Scotland, and is a member of the Religious Society of Friends.