The Dolphin

Wave dancer
Teasing with sensuous grace
Delighted to entice,
The dolphin comes

Sea runner
Exploring sunken secrets
Excited with wonder,
The dolphin leaps

Ocean child
Content in wild innocence
Happy in sweet freedom,
The dolphin plays.

© 2019 Maggie Grimes

Wisdom

In bitter sorrow
I walked beside the sea,
Felt the guttural roaring of the waves
Raging against the sand,
Trapped and lost
Feeling squandered in futility
Tattered sea foam blowing on the shore,
Dry and dying it sinks into the sand
Deep it reaches to find its level
Then in finding is drawn back,
Back to become part of the sea,
In awe of the sea foam’s wisdom
I felt laughter bubbling in my throat
And I, too, turned again home.

© 2019 Maggie Grimes

This, I think, is my Celtic nature. I may lose some battles and that hurts. But then I remember that I am still here and there is still joy. That’s the greater victory. MJG

South Plaza

Sweet jewel of sunlit rock
Abounding in life,
Burnt rubies on your rocks
Pink marble, gift of the sealions,
Busy, always busy
Terns and petrels, dark motes against the sea,
Swallow tail gulls, drifting on wings of wind
Great frigates lurking above,
The business of birthing at hand
Leaving infants crying in new found freedom,
Red and golden dragons welcome all who come.

© 2019 Maggie Grimes

Fernandina

Black lava painted with verdant mangroves
The jealous sealions guard their sapphire pools,
Clumsy cormorants tender in love
Share their gifts of the sea,
Yellow sparks of warbler
Dance among the trees,
Tiny dragons dream upon the rocks
Ageless, asleep in the dying sun.

© 2019 Maggie Grimes

As a biology teacher I have to be honest. Fernandina doesn’t have saddleback tortoises like the one in the painting. That’s actually Lonesome George who was the last survivor of the Pinta tortoises. Gone now, too. I never wrote a poem about Pinta but I think I saw George at the research center on Santa Cruz. He deserves to be remembered. MJG

Blue Footed Booby

Clumsy bobo
With feet dyed by the sea,
Awkward antics of love
Show her your bright blue feet,
Then strain all skyward
To solicit heavens good graces.

© 2019 Maggie Grimes

Manannan’s Daughter – Cantos one

I am a selkie who calls these islands home. Welcome, stranger to these enchanted isles. Rest here a while, safe from my capricious mother. Rest, and I shall paint the hours with tales bright and strange.

Hush, no need to start and shudder so. My mother cast you upon my shores. She will not harm you while you remain. But the storm? She only rejoices in her power.

Rest–rest–I shall begin my story.

Once upon a time so very long ago, there lived a dryad. She was very quiet having no need for speech in her beloved forest. She loved to sit silently beneath her favorite pine, inhaling its clean, youthful scent. The animals of the forest would come to her and be content in her love.

For a long time the young dryad lived thus, each day much like the one before. Each day was beautiful; the sun loved in a blinding sky.
The wind murmured in the treetops. There were butterflies and flowers and the animals loved her. Time passed gently.

One morning after a storm had washed away the night sky, the dryad found within her forest a strange bird. When the bird saw her it struggle, but only one wing could beat futilely to gain the sky. She carried the bird back to her home where she could nurse its damaged wing.

It was a strange creature, this bird from the storm. It was large, falcon sized, but longer of wing and lighter bodied. It was white. Its bill was long and sharp.

Often, the white bird would call. Its cry was a wild haunting cry, mourning for what was lost. The dryads heart grew heavy for she had grown to love it.

The day came when the bird’s wing was strong and the sky was no longer denied it. She watched as the creature found the sky and sought its home. She watched as the sky became as empty as her forest.

Days passed but they held no peace. Each morning she climbed the tallest hill of her forest. Each day she watched the sky, gazing after the flight of the creature. Finally she knew that she must follow where she could.

It was so lonely to leave her forest. She knew each tree, the streams, the meadows hidden there. She had known much love within her forest. But the strange bird had brought a part of the world to her that she had never dreamed existed. The dryad was no longer content with her green cloister. She must seek the strange bird of the storm.

Oh long, long time she traveled, through strange and wondrous lands. She beheld sights that astounded her imagination. A desire awoke in her to know more than her forest could teach her. For a while she forgot the creature she followed. She entered tall city gates.

The city sprawled before her. Old with winters long forgotten yet having youth in its strength. In one breath the city inhaled the dryad and absorbed her with countless others.

For a while the lights dazzled her eyes that did not wish to see. She lived frantically. Time seemed to be speeding away and there was none to waste. There was much to learn about life in all its sordid glory. She learned.

One morning she awoke with thunder in her head and ashes in her mouth. The sun was a pale ghost hanging in the smoke. The wind held only rancid memories better forgotten. The dryad remembered–It was another time, innocence, free laughter, a white bird flying in a blinding sky. She left the city and sought again the way he took.

Far she traveled and far away her forest. The wind was scented with unknown places. That scent drew her onward though she was weary beyond enduring. She kept walking, following the strange scent.

And she found the sea. It was vast beyond all comprehending. It held the blue of her skies and her deep forest greens. It seemed to laugh as it played with shore.

Far away where sky and sea were one, she saw a glint of sun on white wings. She felt the waves kiss her body as still she followed. Long she swam and when she could no longer swim she let the current carry her. But still she followed the flash of white wings.

One morning the sun rose and the dryad knew she would never greet the dawn again. For too long and far had she journeyed from her forest. She had no heart to go further.

I found her one morning, lying where my mother had left her. She awoke when I touched her but the dryad was beyond my help. As she was drifting into that long sleep of unknown realms awaking, I heard a sea gull’s cry. So hard she tried to shake death’s grasp. The gull hovered just above her.

She sleeps on the cliffs overlooking the sea. The wind whispers to her through the trees. The sea laughs below her.

Above her bed, there are two gulls where once there was one.

Rest, stranger. See, already the sun kisses the eastern sky. The storm which left you here is long since over. Sleep now. When you awaken, I shall offer another tale to ease time’s burden. I must return to the sea with the rising sun. Rest until I return.

© 2019 Maggie Grimes

Manannan’s Daughter – Cantos five

I see a girl running through the predawn mists. She is tall, leggy with adolescent growth. Her chestnut hair is braided tightly and woven against her head. She runs through the forest, leaping branches or rolling beneath, never slackening her pace. She runs for no reason save that she is young and it is morning and there is a silver mist dappling the dawn. Perhaps she dreams of becoming a banfheinni. She runs until she reaches the meadow where the shaggy haired horses graze.

They lift their heads, pricking their ears as they hear the rapid padding of her footsteps. The stallion, gray and dappled as the dawn, charges to meet her. Hoofbeat and footfall sound as one until she grasps his mane and swings astride his back. They circle the herd then race toward the salt scent of the ocean. Without slackening pace, they take the steep path down to the shore.

The rising sun appears over the hill as the two thunder down the beach. They splash through the waves sending jeweled showers flying. At the end of the beach, they climb the hill that overlooks the bay. The stallion rears and screams his challenge to Manannan’s horses. She(I) laughs as the sun kisses her(my) skin.

© 2019 Maggie Grimes

I’ve written a number of stories based on Celtic mythology and history. They are tales from ancient Ireland to present day and are loosely tied together in Manannan’s Daughter. I always like to hear how my words speak to another. MJG

Ocean Dancer

There are times
The wind sings through the trees
And it is the ocean’s voice I hear
The full moon plays with the billowing clouds
But her silver trail paints a path across
the waves
Swaying trees are masts heavy with sail
Straining against the playful zephyr
I close my eyes and breathe
Rich scents of salt and seaweed and mystery
The deck lifts and falls beneath my feet
As the wooden wheel responds to my grasp
Alive to my whim
Unknown, exotic lands call
And I yearn to answer.

© 2019 Maggie Grimes

The sea calls to me, stridently or in whispers, she speaks.

Tuatha de Danaan

Clay shackled
I struggle in impotent fury
I am Dawn
Progeny of velvet and fire
Raging against myself
I grow and know life,
Life passions
Tempest tossed
Seeking peace in chaos
Finding reality in the ethereal,
Building the eternal
On gossamer threads of light
Laughing in tear sodden silence
Imprisoned by the solitude of the mind
Ranging forever free
Within its limitless boundaries.

© 2019 Maggie Grimes

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