Imbolc

Little springtime
Are Nature’s blessings
That brush aside
Winter’s tousled hair
Clearing her wild eyes,

Brief, bright moments
Of stolen sweetness
And cherished warmth
While harsh winter rests
Her frigid labors,

Such stillness calls
The battered spirits
From their struggles
To bask reveling
In warm caresses,

Little springtimes
Are Nature’s blessings
Intimacies
When Earth delights
In shivering pleasure.

© 2021 Maggie Grimes
The first of February is celebrated as Imbolc, the beginning of spring. Although Brighid, Dagda’s daughter is bright and eager for fresh beginnings, frigid Cailleach doesn’t let go easily. Still, early blooms peep through the snow, eager for life. MJG
 

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

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

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