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Little Flames

A holy man had written:

Prayers, charities, alms, blessings

These be the little flames


Outlasting diamond and emerald and the star-in-the-granite.

George Mackay Brown – A Scroll (Foresterhill, 1992)


The Story

 The poet himself explains that the collection of poems in which these few words appear was written while he was a patient in Foresterhill Infirmary, Aberdeen in 1990. It was Spring and early Summer and he was idling his time away imagining that the hospital had begun as a monastic place of healing and sanctuary. At the same time he was giving expression to the gratitude he had for the surgeons, doctors and nursing staff who had tended him.



As these particular words remind us the same gratitude, trust and love inhabit our hearts, imaginations and prayers when we light a candle hoping for all kinds of things. Prayers, charities, alms and blessings.


Then he offers the fabulous insight that our humble prayers are more radiant and eternal that the most beautiful stones.