Writer: Penelope Shuttle
Livvy Eden

Part of an alphabet of 26 sestudes for Saint Feock, by Penelope Shuttle.

Also known as
Sancte Fioc or Feo or Feoca
Sancta Feoco or Feoke or Maeoc
or Faycock or Veage
saint without a miracle
to his many names
nor relic bone
nor bright splinter of halo
saint leaning
towards invisibility
saint hard to see against the light            
with his composite Celtic name
from Lanfioc or Lan-fe-oc,
a monastery amid many oak trees

–  –  –  – –           

Birthplace of St Fioc
the saint first glimpsed
in a painted 14th century window,
changing sex in the 18th century
and back again
was Fioc ever real?
was he one of the genuine Peregrini?
pal of St Budoc and St Samson and St Piran
voyaging from Ireland
to convert the heathen Brits?
we really don’t know a thing about St Faycock

–  –  –  – –              

I came to St Feock
in late September sun

a funeral was in progress

a young woman
ran out weeping

dark-clad mourners

pilgrims to the car park

the world looked for an answer
to death’s riddle

the grasses lay low
and kept their counsel

the church stood up
did a cat stretch
settled back down

how quiet
how full of sorrow

–  –  –  – –              

lives or dies

we cannot keep
a tongue alive

when presiding powers
steal our speech

our riches
of tin and copper

wheat and barley
the very fish of the sea

our children’s labour:

until 1640
the sacrament

in Eglos Feoca
was given 

in the native tongue –
the people

no other language

than their dear Kernewek
Dru Jesu Crist agan Arlùth

–  –  –  – –    

for the spirit:  
we bring our dry
cracked soiled hearts
to St Fioca

we bring them
to his front door
to his font
to the long-lost well
and to his yew tree 

for the tired spirit
from the world
in despair

St Feock unties the knots
that bind us
St Feock blesses us
with the living water
of life

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