Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Curse Or Blessing?

In response to the An Fianna poetry challenge, "Write a Poem for Paddy!", here is my contribution:

Curse, or Blessing?

Craggy-faced as the rocks,
He stood, rooted firm on the shore,
His back to the waters.

In a whisper, he muttered,
While waving his hands in the air,
Maledictions, in French.

'Twas the Auld Ones he cursed,
The draiocht, the fili, the Land,
In the Name of his Christ.

Waves lapped at his heels.
He noticed, but calmly ignored;
His work was important.

His words fell to silence.
He spun, with a flip of his robes,
And re-entered the boat.

As the oarsmen took oars,
He turned for a pitying look
At the shores he had damned.

No more would the Snakes
Of draoicht and evil designing
Soil Eriu's fair face.

Twixt water and sand,
A ribbon of wrack in the waves
Formed a Guardian rune.

His shadow grew short
As the boat crested waves in the dusk,
Crossed the horizon.

Behind him, the Land
And the Folk, and the Druids he'd cursed
Watched as he left.

And yet, he returns,
Every year, cause for drinking, for dance,
An icon of Ireland.

It's an irony, this.
When you think how the things that he cursed
Now flourish, reborn.

The Druids still live,
All the Gods celebrated by Pagans,
Immrama still dreamt.

And Lá Fhéile Pádraig,
A holiday marking his coming
But not about God.

So, raise him a glass,
This man, who in bringing a curse
Brought "Erin go bragh!"

A chance to be proud
Of our Land, of our kith, of ourselves.
Just hear the Snakes laugh.

Chulain's Hound

The Guardian, Cuchulainn, so softly he treads
That those in the circle do not turn their heads
To mark him, as silently beating the bounds
He slips through the shadows. In making his rounds
He wards and he watches, that nothing untoward
Be able to slip through as he weaves his ward.

The Watcher, Cuchulainn, his footstep is sure
As, watching and warding, he makes all secure.
He waits in the shadows whilst light glows within
And Guards the abode of his Kith and his Kin.
No threat will escape him; his presence pervades
Through the rustling darkness of woodlands and glades.

The Father, Cuchulain, he covers his child
With the safe hand of love, as, compelling, yet mild,
He teaches and shows, demonstrating the man
Who is both strong and kind. As no other hand can,
His hand shares both power and gentleness. One
Such as he is a gift to his well-beloved son.

The Teacher, Cuchulainn, his words always few,
Shows his knowledge and cunning in what he can do.
Whether woodslore, or music, or Working the Arte,
All he knows, all he shares, coming straight from his heart
Is a gift to his clann. For such knowledge as his
Is not shared in mere lessons, but from Who he Is.

The Brother, Cuchulainn, his siblings may call,
And he'll be there. The Family he makes for us all
Is a Hearthstone of safety, with room to explore.
With his hand on the latch, we may pass through the door
Knowing he will be silently slipping behind
To keep us all safe as the Crossroads we find.

The Dear One, Cuchulainn, has gone on before,
As always, our Guardian. The first through the door
As he shields us from what dangers might lie in wait
For his unwary clann. So, we stand at the gate,
And look long and far, as the sound of his tread
Dies away. He's our trailblazer. He's gone ahead.

(written as a tribute to my dear friend and Craft brother, Cuchulainn of EarthHaven
March 3, 2010)