St Cuthbert's Final Journey

Following 9th century monks as they flee from invading vikings with the body of St Cuthbert and the Lindisfarne Gospels – and undertake a momentous journey that helps shape England

Vernal Equinox…a poem by Alan O’Cain

The following poem was written by Alan O’Cain after the St Cuthbert’s Day Walk on March 20th 2013. March 20th was not only St Cuthbert’s Day – it was Vernal Equinox too. Before the poem (received with love and thanks), here’s a short description of what ‘vernal equinox’ means…

“Every year the earth goes once around the Sun; that is, after all, the definition of a year. The earth spins on its axis, and the axis happens to be tilted about 23.5 degrees relative to earth’s orbital plane. As a result, sometimes the northern hemisphere is tilted toward the sun and sometimes the southern hemisphere tilts toward the sun. The change isn’t severe, but it is enough to cause the seasons. When the north is tilting toward the sun we generally experience warmer weather in the north. When the south is tilted toward the sun then the southern hemisphere generally experiences the warmer weather.
As the earth revolves around the sun there are two moments (not whole days) of the year when the sun is exactly above the equator. At these times neither pole tilts toward the sun. These moments are called “equinoxes”. One occurs in March as the northern hemisphere starts to tilt toward the sun. In the north, that equinox is called the “vernal, or spring equinox”, the beginning of spring.”

Photography © Paul Alexander Knox

Photography © Paul Alexander Knox

Vernal Equinox

Where were you

As we talked of otters

(In the snow)

On Finchale bridge?

Where were you

As we counted

Sleeping knights

In Chester church?

Where were you

As we slouched

By Cuthbert’s bones?

Where were you?

Like the otter

That we never glimpsed,

Like the knights

Who lay uncounted;

Like the tomb

Of ice that

Vanished with

The winter thaw

Where were you?

March 22, 2013

© Alan O’Cain 2013

3 comments on “Vernal Equinox…a poem by Alan O’Cain

  1. Mary Gilmartin
    March 23, 2013

    What a wonderful poem to celebrate the St Cuthbert’s Day Walk.

  2. Maggie
    March 24, 2013

    What a beautiful poem Alan – thanks for sharing it.

  3. Anna
    March 27, 2013

    Alan, that is so lovely. Deep. Linking arms on Finchale Bridge and celebrating our Wear, was a very special moment. Thank you for sharing your soul.

    And bloomin’ ‘eck, I didn’t realise it was the Vernal Equinox! Thank you Richard, Alan, Juliet and Maggie. Without all of you all this would have passed unnoticed. xxxx

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