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

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

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

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 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

Chrysalis

The space too small
Cramped
Struggling for growth
Life,
It rips
The pain rends
But cannot stop
The push for freedom,
It fights through a tiny opening
Too small
But a hope for escape,
Exhaustion trembles the body
It must continue
Freedom,
Weak
It clings to the security of the past
The terrors of the unknown beckon
Tease
Entice
Terrify,
Iridescent wings catch the sun
It leaps
A shriveled husk remains.

© 2019 Maggie Grimes

Whether or not ancient Celts believed that butterflies were souls of the dead seeking the Otherworld can be debated. Regardless, they had to have seen the lowly, earthbound caterpillar, through pain and struggle, transform into the graceful, skybound butterfly. They must have marveled. MJG

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

Brigit’s Hands

Her hands are stories
Knotted with aged strength
Tales of labor, loving,
Her sweet face speaking
Tear-creased soft and laughing seamed
At peace in each day greeting,

Her hands are stories
Gentle with patient strength
Tales of labor, serving,
Her sweet face speaking
In family toils content
At peace in each day greeting,

Her hands are stories
Holding with enduring strength
Tales of labor, praying,
Her sweet face speaking
Serene in sustaining faith
At peace in each day greeting,

Her hands are stories.

© 2019 Maggie Grimes

Brigit, daughter of Dagda and Bres, was protector of women, of hearth and home.To all the women of strength through time, they raised us, taught us, loved us. May we continue to live their stories. MJG

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