Samhain Plays

Hurry travelers
Race the coming darkness
Already watchfires blink and kindle,
Be still and listen
Lift high your head
Testing the wind
Like the wild deer,
Darkness stalks the careless,
The daring,
The foolish,
Creeping closer,
Winds stir
Rattling the sleepy trees,
Gateways open in the hills
Wild music skirling
Worlds meeting
Anticipation shivers
Moon kissed shadows,
Soon, soon
Changes come
Both the gaining and the losing,
The Fae folk ride
And lost ones roam,
If you must venture
Keep your lanterns lit
And know where the water races,
Samhain plays tonight.

© 2020 Maggie Grimes

Samhain of the ancient Celts was a celebration and recognition of endings and beginnings. The labors and harvest of summer in preparation for winter done. Life ends, life begins, a Great Wheel turning, terrifying and enticing. Happy Halloween. MJG

Danu Pondering

I am young
Maid innocent
Beauty fresh,
Years stretching
Endlessly hopeful
Invincible,
Eager wife
A husband joining
Consuming passion births,
Heart, belly, breasts
So full and nurturing
Matronly duties mine,
A crone’s reflection
Haunts me
Gnarled hands wringing,

I watched my children
Long these years
Life so full and fleeting,
Roaming, building
Casting aside
To build anew,
A savage maid
Matron, crone
Await,
My heart breaks
But hope remains
The future beauty holds,
Oh the years
Taunting and capricious
As the wind.
© 2020 Maggie Grimes
I realize that the triadic goddesses of Irish mylthology don’t represent the stages of life, but rather mystical truths ruled over by different aspects of a triple goddess. I am a poet of Irish-Celtic ancestry and this is how I heard their words. In ancient times we lived in harmony and balance with the natural world. We respected Nature and our place in it. We have forgotten these truths and are now paying for our hubris. MJG

The Irish Fox

Be still
Do you hear?
Listen, listen, listen!
The bright moon has risen
Silvering the mists,
Hear it now?
The music whispers
Like a wind rising
Wild, primal, calling
Horns sounding
Bells chiming
Hounds mournful baying
Ancient and chilling,
Fae Folk ride from their sidhe
The Wild Hunt comes,

I am not their prey
But tonight the moon calls
And I will play,
I will tangle the trail
Confounding the red earred hounds
Teasing with a glimpse of my tail
When they falter,
Circling and crisscrossing
Until they are confused
And exhausted,
Splashing down the streams
To lose my scent and backtrack
Taunting them with my laughing bark,
Stay home human,
I play tonight.
© 2020 Maggie Grimes

The Wild Hunt of the Fae Folk is a hunt for unwary humans. I suppose the lucky ones were taken back to the sidhe(although unlucky in that their mundane homes were lost to them). The photo of a fox in Fermoy, Co. Cork inspired my painting and then the fox just had to have her fun. MJG

Tir na nOg

I tremble in eagerness
At the crest of the hill,
Above me the searing sky
Pristine and close,
The young wind rushes past me
The world is new
And my soul is fevered to explore it,

I would cast aside
This cumbersome husk,
It fetters and anchors my spirit,
I would burst forth
From the shambles of the past
A phoenix rising
To greet the new found sun,

Something holds me here
Draws me back to the world I know
A quest I’ve yet to complete
For that I know not and yet must seek.

© 2020 Maggie Grimes
Tir na nOg is described as an island paradise. It is a supernatural realm of everlasting youth, beauty and joy, a land of poetry and music. Adventures and trials await any who attempt to earn its shores. In a sense, Ireland is my Tir na nOg. The Cliffs of Moher on Ireland’s western coast seem a place one might go hoping to glimpse Tir na nOg. I tried to capture that feeling in my painting of the Cliffs of Moher. One day I will walk there myself. MJG

Beansidhe

Who is she that mourns?
Some forgotten beansidhe
Lost in time, transformed,
Still mourning
Through ages of bitter wars
And famine
Weary in her grief,
The loving patience
To bear such sorrow.

© 2020 Maggie Grimes

Beansidhe are women of the fae folk. They are mainly remembered now for the association of some with death. A beansidhe would wail in portent of a death in a family or keen in grief afterwards. My painting is inspired by a photo taken by Liam McNamara of “Ireland From My Lens Photography”. MJG

Day with a Selkie

Greetings my castaway stranger. You wish a story with a happy end tonight? I shall tell you of my world and how I spend each day.

Every morning when the gates of dawn begin to open, I return to the sea. How joyfully the waves welcome my body. How gloriously the newborn sun jewels the laughing sea. The seals greet me by the grotto where I found you. We play and dart through sea caverns and let the waves wash us high and catch us ere we fall.

The dolphins hear our play and soon ask to join. The laughing waves carry us farther out to sea. We explore the forests of the ocean floor. Whirling, darting in sensuous grace, we dance away all thought of time.

Now the great whales join our joyous throng. Powerful and somber, they know the exuberance of the sea. We go far beyond the thought of land. Only the sea and the wind can find us. We dive deep, learning strange secrets harbored long in silence. We speed to the surface leaping high above it. The sea reclaims us with her laughter.

Too soon the day begins to end and I seek my home shores. I leave the sea with the departing sun. Climbing the cliff above the grotto, I bid my farewells. The sun kisses the water with golden promise as the sea spray caresses my face in sweet parting.

Tell me friend, is this story more to your liking? But see the dawn is near and I must go and live my story.

© 2020 Maggie Grimes
The painting is of Clogerhead, Co Lough. It called to me in a photo and I had to paint it. The essay is from my work in progress, “Manannan’s Daughter”. MJG

Song of Eriu

Oh my children,
My heart sings for you
A whispered melody
In sleep wrapped memories
Distant and dim
To warm your nights,
Calling you home,

My sons and daughters
I lost you
To famine and fear
Daring and hope,
My lost children
Wandering
Never forgotten,

Oh my children,
Strength of my strength
Dream of my dreams
Undaunted and unbroken
I call 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. I thought I would answer her call home this year but it won’t happen now. Maybe next year. My painting is of Fanad Head Lighthouse in County Donegal. It has guided many a wanderer home. MJG

Aonbarr

Winds rise,
A lover’s caress
To passion turning

Waves break,
Tranquil seas heave
Mirrored surface breaking

Mysteries stir,
New morn fresh
Thoughts ancient waking

Thunder roars,
Full moon gleams
The storm breaking

Sea births,
Moon and storm created
Manannan’s mount rising.

© 2020 Maggie Grimes

Of the many magical objects and creatures associated with the Irish sea god Manannan Mac Lir, Aonbarr has to be my favorite. A different kind of sea horse, Aonbarr raced across cresting waves as though they were the smoothest pasture. The ocean and horses, two of my passions. It’s been too long since I could travel to the sea. At least my horse is in the pasture behind the house. MJG

Selkie’s Lament

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.

©2020 Maggie Grimes
The painting of Spanish Point is from a photo by Stephan O’Sullivan. He captures the wild beauty of nature that is always an inspiration. MJG

Celtic Soul

Adventures daring
She remembers,
Doubt, courage

Old loves holding
She dreams,
Warmth, hope

Drifting cloudlike,
She wanders,
Serene, quiet

Nature refreshing
She heals,
Peace, beauty

A day’s dawning
She sings,
Endings, beginnings.

© 2020 Maggie Grimes

Free spirited, restless, loving, the selkie seems the embodiment of the Celtic soul. I must admit a fondness for the sea mammals since I originally planned to be a marine biologist. MJG.

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