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

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

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

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