Originally, Patrick was a slave in Ireland. Eventually he went back to his oppressors in order to share the gospel with them. This sonnet is by one of my favourite poets, Malcolm Guite, and will eventually appear in his new book of poetry on the saints of our islands.
Six years a slave, and then you slipped the yoke,
Till Christ recalled you, through your captors cries!
Patrick, you had the courage to turn back,
With open love to your old enemies,
Serving them now in Christ, not in their chains,
Bringing the freedom He gave you to share.
You heard the voice of Ireland, in your veins
Her passion and compassion burned like fire.
Now you rejoice amidst the three-in-one,
Refreshed in love and blessing all you knew,
Look back on us and bless us, Ireland’s son,
And plant the staff of prayer in all we do:
A gospel seed that flowers in belief,
A greening glory, coming into leaf.
(image from andybarlowblog.com)