Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Killer-queen of Gamanraige, Maeve of Connacht, scored
her ancient song on pages time forgot, in life long ago

going back to begin at a coast of psychopomp sea-gods
whose tide of beauty is read beneath waves breaking

on a shamrocked shore of island invention, sung of since
the pre-Jesus era to a flight of Earls from Lough Swilley.

Goidelic Finn McCool, more apt to give than deny,
his spear ran wet through many a man, who fought

but hours amid years of hunting in woods; final chief
fenian whose hair turned white prematurely.

Sreng. Beautiful to behold, harsh and inhospitable
Connacht Fir Bolg who slew on the Plain of Pillars.

Nuada his foe at the first Battle of Moytura.
Bres; cruel son of Formorian prince Elathra

and De Dannan princess Eriu, spared at Lough
Arrow in the second by the king of light Lugh:

valiant and ruthless, crazed like a Norse-berserker
frenzied on bog-myrtle: silent in Fort Navan's

cast-list of kings on the island of myth, with women
behind a Wall of Three Whispers at Tara,

and Uisnech where Bridgit's first fire was lit.

A Cunning crafstwoman dyed in permanent overlap
between two worlds who voiced the Uliad, wrought

a queen's acorn crop of severed heads to fiction
with he of two names in the Hall of Heroes

at the court of king Conchobar mac Nessa:

"I care only that my doings live as myth when
I'm gone, not if die tommorrow or next year."  Setanta,

Culann's Hound; whose martial-art training ceased
in a friendship of thighs at the Fort of Shadows

on the isle of Skye, and was unwilling as Higgins at
O'Connors wedding to kill the close companion,

pass sentence by one deft stroke in a single bout
of printed combat, alive in the ancient memory

of Ardee, where the son of a dog slew foster-brother
Fediad with a bellow-notched belly darted Gáe Bulg

thigh-friend Scáthach gifted. A light-spear thrown
solely in combat at river fords - it's barbarous tip

cast from the foot like a javelin, was removed
by filleting Fediad's body apart and slew all but

Lugaid mac Tri Con - Son of Three Hounds

Dear Cúhulainn


You lived the well ordered life with a chariot driver
and barley fed horses to war with, until the implement

predicted to kill a king did and prophesy proved true
as your bowels spilled out on a cushion in the vehicle.

King Cú Roí's death avenged by son Lugaid. His father,
part of a roaming band of warrior bards who raided

spoil and slaves from the Isle of Man - stole Blathnat
who loved you - of course - on first sight; your hero-halo

out-sparking the rival who took her for part of his booty
but who betrayed him to you who said to the satirist

"Tie grace to wrath,"

Cúhulainn, now tied to a pillar of stone to die standing up.