Month: October 2016

Poem: Red Woman (for the Morrigan)

How you tremble at the Red Woman!
You fear the guest at the door who breaks
the arbitrary rules that bind you

the technicalities that keep you safe.
You never know how she will appear:
eel, gray wolf, red-eared cow, crow, the wind,

your fresh-faced daughter holding a blade
under her smile, your mother, the lady
at the deli counter with her knives —

You never know what she’ll do, that one,
even if you pretend. She is not yours
in any shape, and oh how you fear!

By Artist Joseph Christian Leyendecker (1874 - 1951). Cropped and colours adjusted by CorbieVreccan. Via Wikimedia Commons
By Artist Joseph Christian Leyendecker (1874 – 1951). Cropped and colours adjusted by CorbieVreccan. Via Wikimedia Commons
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Poem: An Mhórríghan

Do you think you can scry with that glass ball?
Put it aside. It’s a symbol only.
Simply close your eyes and slip through the veil

Do I surprise you, without my fearsome face?
You challenge yourself, face your fears boldly.
With a brave smile, you pull the thorns barehanded.

I breathe in life, exhale death. Carrion crow,
serpent, cow, crone, a woman soaked with blood —
I accept your praise and give you blessings.

Morrigan by André Koehne via Wikimedia Commons
Morrigan by André Koehne via Wikimedia Commons

Ogham Poem: H’Uath

'Huath' - Capel Lligwy, Anglesey. Photo by Kris Williams. Shared via Flickr.
‘Huath’ – Capel Lligwy, Anglesey. Photo by Kris Williams. Shared via Flickr.

This is the latest in my series of Ogham explorations through poetry. For interpretations, I rely on Erynn Rowan Laurie’s Weaving Word Wisdom, which — in my view — is the best book on Ogham currently available. For her interpretations, she relies on traditional poetic phrases associated with the feda; these are what I draw on in my poetry. H’Uath means “terror” — an appropriate meditative focus around the Feast of Death.

 

H’Uath
The shine of the tooth, the hot breath lapping
your heel. You are the pale underbelly
exposed. No shelter will gird you now.

Not even clothes. There is nothing but stones
against your raw feet, nothing but the ink
of a moonless night spilled across your way.

Oh, do you think you can capture it here —
tame the wolves on the page, lasso shadow
into filigree of ink and poem?

This is no metaphor. Like that dream,
you jump the rail away from the monster
only to find the world unraveling

a threadbare carpet beneath you — and you,
a bird naked with molt and no wings.
“Let the road rise up to meet you”: a curse

as all blessings twist, forging their shackles.
The shine of the tooth — the dog has turned wolf.
You are just meat in a human shape.

the wet paint before the jaws snap shut.
Your heart is the color of a bruise —
nothing but stones against your raw feet