The Foramina of Saint Osmund

I am Stone.
Place your hands
in the arched hollows of the tomb
palms down. Place your forehead there
your face, any broken parts of your body
or perhaps your broken mind,
I can wait while you touch
each ridge, scratch and indent
until your skin cannot feel
where you end and I begin.

My heaviness reaches down
to where the falling stops
the ground gasps.
Songs rest here
I am quiet.
Shall I begin the work
of listening into your stillness
as it echoes through me
like a bell ?

I am Saint Osmund’s Stone
I breathe out the impress
of a saint, I dissolve
into your hushed whispers,
come place your hands
near the singing bones
and let your darkness
melt into prayer.



The Foramina shrine (the stress in ‘Foramina’ is on the second syllable) was a means of prayer whereby the supplicant could feel close to the relics of the saint. The shrine had ‘portholes’ cut into the sides and the supplicant’s head, arms, legs or upper body could be inserted into the apertures for healing.