The Great Hunt

I would know the Great Hunt
Just once more
Seek mysteries
Ageless power calling,

I would thrill to Hounds’ song
Just once more
Noble prey seeking
Field and forest coursing,

I would chase the Moon Road
Just once more
Seek the moonbeams dancing
Silvered shadows chasing,

I will know the Great Hunt
Just once more
Finding change
Clean, cold wind chilling.

©2019 Maggie Grimes

The ancient celebration of Samhain approaches when the Fae could freely leave their sidhe. If the horns of the Great Hunt sounds, stay home, lock your doors, hide away lest you become their prey. Only a cat would brave the magic with such nonchalance. MJG

Aground

She rests
Amidst the marshy grasses
Dreaming
Days plying the island routes
Wind and wave lifting
Lost in time,

She danced
Sea spray lacing her bow
Sailing
Her paint fresh against the waves
Chasing lightly the seals
Her frothy road guiding,

She felt
Her Master’s hand
Guiding
Firm upon the wheel
His voice next to God
Sending deck hands leaping,

She labors
Fishing or cargo and passengers hauling
Serving
Racing rising storm
To best the wind and drowning waves
For home’s sweet calm,

She rests
Amidst the marshy grasses
Dreaming
Days plying the island routes
Battered but harbor safe
Lost in time.

© 2019 Maggie Grimes

The painting and poem are inspired by a photo taken by Liam McNamara. The poet in me saw no defeat in the boat, battered though she was. I wish I could have done greater justice to his photo. MJG

Tales of Eire

There is a place
Of swirling mists
And sparkling seas
Craggy cliffs overtowering
Pounded by crashing waves
Seals drowsing on the shores
Dreaming stories,

Mystic waves of people
Coming and claiming
‘Til battles’ clangor the peace destroying
Mists reclaiming
Gods of power falling
Fae of sidhe
The Great Hunt riding,

Clans and kingdoms rising
Heroes born, trained to purpose
Fighting exquisite monsters
Braving terrors, following honor
And impossible quests
Gifts of songs and stories
Bequeathing.

©2019 Maggie Grimes

All I’ve read, studied, heard, and dreamed of Ireland only serves to inspire more writing, more painting, more studying. I am well past the naivety of youth to believe that Ireland is perfect but she still entices. MJG

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

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 the shadows?
First creeping shyly
Hesitant, unsure of danger,
Then bounding unfettered
Breathing open air
Enjoying the space and flowers,
There are spider webs
Jeweled by 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 the open gate
Life awaits.

©2019 Maggie Grimes

Manannan’s Daughter –Cantos six

I remember, or perhaps I dreamed, another time. It was a long ago time. Much is hidden in the mists of the past but moments stand out as in sunlight. The first memory is actually the last memory of she I might have been.

There was a battle and I fought crippled, being alone. My shieldmate was gone, he who guarded my back as I his. Being alone and knowing my fate, I had chosen the site of this battle carefully. The oak tree was ancient when I was born. It watched me grow, speaking to me in the whispering wind. I did not feel alone with it behind me.

They came laughing, seeing easy prey. My sword drank hearts’ blood twice and my shield crushed an unwary throat before they learned caution. They were angry at my impudence, shouting at me, rattling their swords. I laughed at them and they grew angrier. They charged. I danced amid the gnarled roots, dealing death. Time and time they came and could not take me. The roots grew slippery with their blood and mine. The ground beneath was darkened with it.

Time stopped as we fought. I know not how long we battled so. It was sunset when I next held thought, the sun’s gleaming, gold beneath the storm dark clouds. My arms burned and my legs trembled. My lungs labored with each breath. Everything was still. I looked at my enemy and ‘though the bodies were many, more still stood watching me. One stepped ahead of the others. Bigger, stronger, he was their champion held in reserve. The others fell back. He lifted his sword in salute and nodded his head. His eyes were kind.

I straightened and looked around me. The wind was cool against my face, sweet in my laboring lungs. The colors of the trees and fields glowed in sunset splendour. The air sparkled with amazing clarity.

I turned to the champion waiting still, patient. My fatigue, pain were gone, replaced by fierce defience. I raised my sword, delighting in the sunlight that jeweled its bloody length. I looked at the champion and my vision grew red. I screamed as the bann sidhe screams. I know no more. Perhaps my heart burst or his sword found it. I know not, for only darkness echoes.

These are my first memories, dreams of the distant time. There are others that came later as I remembered the sword. It was his sword. The coming of my shieldmate to be and the gifting of his sword are other dreams, memories to be recalled some other time. Some I might share but others, others well, we shall see.

©2019 Maggie Grimes

“Manannan’s Daughter” begins in prehistoric Ireland with the selkie’s tale and continues now with ancient tales of Irish heroes. MJG

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