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

Ireland

She calls me
Long these many years,
Her songs
Her stories
Her poetry,
They speak of times
My people might have lived
Of places
They once walked
Of people they did love,
She calls me,
Ireland,

I was going home
Almost,
But these times
Are what they are,
In my art
I travel,
Her voice,
Sings in my poetry
Ireland calling still.

© 2020 Maggie Grimes

My planned trip to Ireland must wait a while longer. In the meantime, I paint and write my way there. My painting is of Kilfane Glen, Co Kilkenny, a picturesque garden dating from the 1790s. MJG

The Fulmar

Ocean winds blow
Foaming the waters
Lifting wings to hover
Then drop
Skimming the waves
Or diving into darkness
Seeking bounty,

Flesh and feather,
Earth born
But creature of sea and air.

© 2020 Maggie Grimes

The northern fulmar is a seabird seen throughout coastal Ireland. It nests among cliffs in summer but winters at sea. It is a relative of the albatross. 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

Danu

Through long hills
And verdant valleys
I walk,

In darkening forest
And stoney fields
I breathe,

Of summer mist
And roaring thunder
I sing,

On storm tossed seas
And vibrant lands
I live.

© 2020 Maggie Grimes

Danu, goddess of ancient Ireland, mother of their gods and fae, and giver of knowledge, wisdom, and abundance. Danu, primal and ageless. The Dark Hedges of County Antrim make me wonder and dream of ancient stories and mysteries. This poem came to mind after I painted them. 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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