Moon Of Cerridwen

She glows
Warm face shining
Awakening the night,

Wind stirs
Murmuring through the leaves
Caressing the silence,

Geese call
Voices descant
Raising evensong,

Night deepens
Burnished moonlight silvered
Banishing shadows,

Stars ignite
To dreamers guide
Entreating Cerridwen.

©2019 Maggie Grimes

In Irish mythology, Cerridwen is the keeper of the Cauldron of Knowledge, giver of wisdom and inspiration, a thing important to poets. Although the Celts didn’t worship the moon, it is a symbol associated with Cerridwen. The harvest moon of September 13, 2019 brought her to mind. MJG

Siren

I walked quiet fields alone,
Heard the earth growing
Felt her calling,
Calling me to sow with love
And reap her joy,
The air was heated with her breath,

But I am born of the sea
The peace of earth is not mine,
The sea’s unnamed longing sends me seeking
A quest for islands dreaming in the sun,
The children of the sea my only brothers,
My only home, the sea,

Passion, storm, a sea bird calling.

©2019 Maggie Grimes

Hope of Eriu

A whispering melody
Calms the dark fears
Singing softly
Sleep wrapped memories,
Dreams of home
Distant and dim
Warm your nights,

My sons and daughters
I lost you
To cruelty
Famine, fear, and greed,
My lost children
Wandering
Never forgotten,

Bone of my bone
Breath of my breath
Strength of my strength
Undaunted and unbroken,
My heart calls to you
Hope sustaining
Until our hearts mend.

©2019 Maggie Grimes

Eriu was a goddess of ancient Ireland, whose name gave rise to Ireland’s name of Eire. MJG

Manannan’s Children

Tonight I am free
Taking flight on night dark wings
No shackles of thought holding me,
The winds call
Awakening the slumbering magic
Stirring the old wildness,
I hear the murmurings
As strange forces whisper
And the sea summons the storm,

Come my children
Come be free with me,
I am drunk with power
Filled with ancient secrets
And dreamed memories,
Sea magic fierce and wild
Magic of forgotten lands
Guided by unknown stars
Loved by one sea,

Wild magic
Living magic
Held by the sea.

©2019 Maggie Grimes

I hear Manannan’s voice calling in calm seas or in storm. It draws me to the ocean in wonder, to study, to play, to learn. It is irresistible. MJG

The Lady

Roughened hands catch the fabric
As she lifts the silken dress,
It had been her bridal gown
In that lost time before the war,
A smile warms her eyes
As she recalls some secret memory,
Only a moment does she hesitate
But the cloth is needed
And she knows her duty well,

Satin slippers lie beneath
Hidden in the silken folds,
A brief caress as she remembers
Moonlit waltzes in her lover’s arms,
That world was but a dream,
Rueful she glances down
Eyeing the coarse brogans
That would never grace a dance floor
She has no need for slippers,

The menu for a forgotten gathering
Catches her attention,
Her mother was frantic in preparation
Wanting each to have a favorite dish,
Succulent meats in steaming sauces,
Dainty confections of sugared treats,
The heady aroma of coffee completing the banquet,
But cornbread and water were the ample repast
While battered armies strove,

She smiled as the trunk lid dropped
Hiding the remnants of forgotten times,
It was enough to remember
Treasuring the fleeting memories,
But all things change,
Honor only remaining
To guide the faltering footsteps
Down the unknown pathway,
Proudly enduring.

© 2019 Maggie Grimes

I have always been fascinated by history, learning about differences of other times and places, about the people and their lives. In war, everyone suffers, even the ones left behind. I am a living historian. To gain a deeper understanding, I have worn what they wore, ate as they ate, and in a small way, lived as they lived. MJG

Children of Eriu

We are your children
Lost
Longing for home
Crying in the night,
Forced to leave
From want
Or danger
Or daring
We do not belong,

We have built places
Fought
Raised families
Labored
Sacrificed
For strangers,
Still we look back
Missing ourselves,

We wait in darkness
Hoping
Listening for the voices
Of our mothers’ singing
Or the stories
Of proud heroes of our fathers,
We yearn for home
Knowing we must choose
And in choosing lose.

©2019 Maggie Grimes

I was born and raised in the USA. I am a product of predominantly Irish immigrants, with a bit of Scot and Welsh added to the mixture. I’ve noticed in others of similar ancestry that our ancestral home seems to call us. We share a sense of loss, of homesickness for a place we have not lived. Familiar and missed. MJG

An Open Gate

I left the back gate open

Into the woods

Unknowingly inviting,

Who entered

The shaggy yard

Into moonlight

Out of forest shadows?

First creeping shyly

Hesitant, unsure of danger,

Then bounding unfettered

Breathing open air

Enjoying the space and flowers,

There were spider webs

Jeweled in the morning dew,

Did the Sidhe Folk join you

Losing their hoods and cloaks

In the wild dance?

Perhaps I’ll take

Some inviting portal,

One breathless pause

Then entering

To find an unexpected meadow,

I’ll chance that open gate,

Life awaits.

©2019 Maggie Grimes

Manannan’s Daughter-Cantos five-Medb

She rides the gray stallion toward her village, stopping only to retrieve her weapons. It was good to run free, feel the wind, the sun on her skin. Time now to return. Her duties as chieftain’s daughter were many.

Sudden sound stopped her. Sliding from her mount, she was stealthy death moving through the undergrowth. Some slight sound warned her as she spun around, her sword struck from her grasp as she moved it to ready. She was slammed to her back before she could move to use her shield.

“The lady should return her toys to her father before her brothers miss them or she hurts herself.” He leaned down to help her up.

She easily evaded his hand, kicking his feet from beneath him, her sword kissing his throat. “I have no brothers. I’ll keep my toys.”

He rolled away from her sword, grasping his own, “Careful my lady, you could get hurt.”

“Better yet, I could hurt you.” She spoke through a wolf’s deadly smile.

They circle cautiously, watching each move of the other, studying, evaluating, planning. Shields ready, sword tips lazily circling, they watch for an opening.

She springs, slashing, then out again. The clang of her sword against his shield shatters the stillness. She hisses in disappointment at his escape. He swings his sword while she moves to balance again. She parries and spins, deflecting his strike.

Their dance of swords continues stroke for stroke, the advantage of one quickly taken by the other. Spinning, weaving, leaping, rolling, their bodies grow slick with sweat, lungs burning for air.

Approaching hoofbeats break his focus for just a moment, but enough. Her shield sweeps his legs from beneath him. Her sword dives for his throat.

“Stop.” Her father’s voice is imperious. “It is generally thought poor hospitality to kill the bridegroom before you bed him.”

“Lucky for you that my father arrived when he did.” Her sword still at his throat.

“I would not be lonely here.” He looks from her eyes, lower. His sword is at her stomach. She hadn’t noticed its light kiss. A scarlet thread seamed her belly.

She reached to help him rise, “My name is Medb.”

©2019 Maggie Grimes

Epitaph- The Progeny

Oh my fathers, can you tell me why? Why my skies are gray and my rivers filth? Why the forests are passing memories found only in legend? Why, oh why did you murder the sea?

Oh my fathers, when you were young, the sun was a golden disk in a vibrant sky. The earth gave birth to wonders of joy. The sea was wild and filled with promises. Your night was warm with the dancing stars.

What blinding greed drove you to create the world you bequeathed me? It is lonely in this world of gray silences and death.

©2019 Maggie Grimes

I wrote this many years ago when I first started teaching. I taught that all life is precious and interconnected. Conservation was the wise, sustainable use of limited resources. I hoped that my epitaphs for nature would help awaken in my students a sense of relationship to the world that is our only home. Burning rainforest, melting ice caps, dying reefs, we are running out of time. MJG

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