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

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

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

Sons of Erin

Erin’s sons
For freedom fighting
Gray clad soldiers
Join the fray
Gladly strive
Tyrant’s yoke defying,

Erin’s sons
For freedom fighting
Blue clad soldiers
Join the fray
Gladly strive
Send traitors fleeing,

Glory seeking
Erin’s sons
Blood stirring
To battle march
Honor sends
A new home saving,

Fearsome warriors
Erin’s sons
Eerie cry
To daunt
And threaten
Ranks of foemen storming,

Erin’s sons
Meet other brothers
Each convinced of right
Mortal combat
Banshee wails
Sons of Erin dying,

Erin’s sons
For freedom fighting
Duty’s sacrifice
Is paid
Battles ended
In death uniting.

© 2019 Maggie Grimes

Over the centuries, the Irish have fought in many wars. They were fierce warriors and greatly feared. The armies of both North and South contained thousands of Irishmen. Whether bluecoated or gray, they were brave soldiers fighting for their homes and honor. 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

Fionn MacCumhail

Finn has grown through ages
His tales
Extending
Enlarging
Feats of marvel
Compelling,
Giant
Against giant
Standing
‘Til reason
Cleared his vision
Marking disparities
Discretion changing valor,
Home remembered
And soon reclaimed
Trailing troubles
In his wake,
Wise Oonagh
Perceiving danger
Warmly welcomed
Hospitality homely,

Beware the woman
Whose home
And family threatened
Force no match for wit.

©2019 Maggie Grimes

When Finn realized that the Scottish giant Benandonner was so much larger than himself, he suddenly remembered an urgent matter at home. The giant followed. Finn’s wife Oonagh recognizing the problem took charge. She had Finn lie in bed where she covered him up to his neck. She covered an iron griddle with bread dough and set it to bake. When Benandonner pounded on the door, Oonagh invited him in. She apologized for the absence of her husband but reassured Benandonner that Finn would be home shortly. In the meantime, she offered him bread still warm from the baking. Yelling in pain on breaking several teeth on the iron laden bread, he had to suffer the scolding of an irate Oonagh for waking the babe. She points to the swaddled figure of Finn stirring in the bed. On seeing the massive size of the baby, Benandonner suddenly recalled a prior engagement and left. The motto of this story is, “Don’t let your mouth get you in trouble unless you have a wise woman to back you up”. There is actually a more colloquial way of saying it but it’s rude. MJG

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