Cailleach’s Time

Implacable in her hunger
The Old Woman tightens her coils,
Nature smothered
To whispered pleas ,

Hypnotic power in her gaze
The Old Woman paralyzes,
Nature entrapped
By sunless time,

Arrogant, pitiless power
The Old Woman consumes,
Nature restrained
A new spring waits.
© 2020 Maggie Grimes

Cailleach is the winter goddess, often seen as a crone, older than time. Hers is the primal power of destruction which leads to renewal. One must endure the storms of winter to find spring. MJG.

Eala

The sun’s warming kiss
And soft mists rising
Beckon,
Morning calls
Wings stretch beating
Lift,

Rich the bonded years
Two and one together
Loving,
Silvered wings lifting
Our flighted wedge
Soaring,

Lonely skies to travel
Since his sweet song
Stilled,
The cygnets raised
Cared and guarded
Alone,

The sky calls
Wings to freedom
Lifting,
Duty met and love awaitng
The Otherworld
Inviting.

© 2020 Maggie Grimes
In Irish mythology and culture, the swan often symbolized love and fidelity. They usually mate for life. The swans are found in Irish mythology and are often associated with music and purity, able to travel between the mortal world and the Other. My painting was inspired by a photo by Ray McCann Photography. MJG.

The Amazing Tom Crean

Tom Crean,
He amazes me
How he faced the darkness and the danger
Days of freezing labor
And Death a spectre waiting,
Cheerfully he gave his strength
Sharing songs and laughter
Refusing defeat
Hoping, believing
Indefatigable and indomitable
Yet he came home to a different adventure
In his family content
Finding his own South Pole there,
No old and endless polar tales
But focused on the living
His friends and family serving
An Irishman was Tom Crean,
His life amazing.

© 2020 Maggie Grimes
After his medical retirement from the navy in 1920, Tom Crean and his wife Ellen opened a public house in Annascual. He called it the South Pole Inn. He never tried to relive past glories or bask in old accolades, focusing on his family. He died at sixty-one when his appendix burst traveling to an available surgeon. He was an incredible Irish hero. My poems Tom Crean and Tom Crean’s Dance were posted earlier. 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

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

Tom Crean’s Dance

Tom Crean,
You might have heard of him,
An Irishman in Antarctica
He of unfailing strength and boundless energy,
Lifting spirits with songs and laughter
And he danced,

That time the ice broke
His team trapped,
Dark waters growing
And impatient orcas gliding,
No time for plans
The dance begun,

Tom joined the dance
And leaped the gap
Then spun to catch his balance
Lightly springing up and onward
Dancing to his inner song
Never slacking or losing measure,

Drifting floes the distance widens
Time an ever fickle dancer,
Partners to his dancing
The orcas’ deadly, waltz,
Tom speeds the rhythm
The ice shelf nearing,

A final bound Tom landing safe
Still, his dance not over,
Ahead a frozen cliff to master,
His dance an upward springing,
No time to rest or lose the step
His team still seaward moving,

Finally the crest he makes
And home base Tom is nearing,
The dance speeds up
His strides are long and gliding,
Til haven makes and rescue claims
Tom Crean the dance’s master.

© 2020 Maggie Grimes

Returning from making a supply drop in preparation for Scott’s push to the South Pole, Crean and his team decided to set up camp before making the final leg back to base. The sudden cracking and crash of breaking ice ended their rest. Crean’s daring dance across the ice lead to their rescue. 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

Granuaile

Breathe, the sea rich air inhaling
Life filling lungs
And heart and soul

Sail, the sea billows surging
Energy lifting prow
And heart and soul

Explore, the sea reaches calling
Unknowns enticing thought
And heart and soul

Listen, the sea dreams singing
Music firing mind
And heart and soul

Brave, the sea tempests taunting
Courage driving endeavors
And heart and soul

Seek, the sea realms freeing
Hope stirring resolve
And heart and soul.

© 2020 Maggie Grimes

Grace O’Malley was a daughter of mac Lir. Although a woman of the sixteenth century, her life seems more fitting for a warrior queen of the ancient Celts. She went to sea as a child, learning the skills of sailing, battle, and command. She faced Elizabeth I as an equal and won her respect. Grace O’Malley was a sea called and sea molded pirate queen. MJG.

Lugh

Days lost in darkness
Lugh rose,
Sun bright gleaming,

Gifts Lugh gave
Arts and war he crafted,
His foes conquering,

In light and learning
Lugh’s people flourished,
Long years shining,

Day fades
And night returns,
It’s fearful monsters hiding,

Breaking above the clouds
Newborn light blinds,
On wave tops dancing,

Shrouded night flees
Its darkness vanquished,
A fresh world waking,

Hope stirs
With light strengthened,
The new day facing,

Another chance for life
The journey not completed,
The sun rising.

© 2020 Maggie Grimes


Lugh brings not just physical light in his role as the Irish sun god, but enlightenment as the god of the arts and crafts.

The painting was inspired by a beautiful photo of Poolbeg Lighthouse at sunrise by the photographer Stephen O’Sullivan. Thank you. MJG

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