The Feast of Saint Bunstable

The Feast of Saint Bunstable, brewer,
Is attended by hundreds, no fewer;
There stories are heard
How his sainthood occurred,
In versions both older and newer.

Just as much of south Britain has claimed
Local towns once were “Camelot” named,
Or they had Merlin’s Cave,
Or good King Arthur’s grave,
So this tale is on many sites blamed.

But I choose to believe it was Erin,
County Limerick, or someplace therein,
That a monastic Celt,
Brother Bunstable, dwelt,
At a hall many monks said their prayer in.

For an abbey to be spic-and-spandy,
Every monk at some task must be handy:
So this brother divine
Made the sacrament wine,
And the beer, and the ale, and the brandy.

Now, the Fin-Galls (the Norse) had a liking
To go raiding — as they called it, “Viking”;
Once they sought out the word of
This brewer they’d heard of,
In order their drinks to be spiking.

“Deår mønks,” said the Vikings, “since yøü’re
Süppøsed to be søber ånd püre,
We’ll help yøü by tåking
The brews yøü’ve been måking,
Før we’ve cøme tø såck yøü, yåh süre!”

While all of this trouble was stewing,
Our good brewer his duty was doing:
“I am portly and stout,
But I canna’ run out
And leave all of these drinks I’ve been brewing!

“Lest the Fin-Galls should pillage my store,
All the brews down my gullet I’ll pour!”
Thus he emptied the kegs,
Then on unsteady legs
He confronted the Norse at the door.

“Shtand back, men of war!” he intoned.
“Shack my abbey? I shay you won’t!
I am filled with the shpirit,
Sho don’t you come near it,
Or I’ll breathe on you — shee if I don’t!”

With these words, at their torches he blew,
And the fumes from his spiritous brew
Made a great ball of flame,
So the thought to all came:
“He breathes fire!” — and the Vikings withdrew.

Now, some say that ball of blue fire
Took Bunstable higher and higher,
’Till he vanished away,
In Heaven to stay,
A feat which we all should admire.

But I heard that Bunstable stayed
On Earth, where he brewed and he prayed,
And lived out his days
In a jolly old haze;
And a well-preserved abbot he made.

When he passed, in reply to God’s call,
The good monks of Saint Bunstable’s hall
Laid their stout-hearted peer
To rest on his bier...
But his spirit’s alive in us all!

C.M. Joserlin, “Raven”, lives in the Kingdom of Northshield.

About this poem, he says: "Composed en route to the Feast of St. Bunstable, an medievalist event formerly held in the Barony of Jaravellir."