Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Old Poems

So, I was cleaning out my songbook recently, and I came upon a few poems that I wrote over 30 years ago. I tried one or two out on folks at Pennsic. I was pleasantly surprised at the positive reception they received.

When I stop and think about what I was reading and being affected by half a lifetime ago, I realize that the Irish legends and myths I was reading then are a strong basis for the poetry I write today. So, I will share two of these Brian Boru and Cú Chulainn inspired poems with you today.


Brian's Lay

What man does rise to reign
but gods do cause to fall
do set snares but baited bold
so it haps today as fate foretold.

Bold Brian, man of blood and bone
to us sword singer, Saxon foe,
did stand on Eire's shore undaunted
by bastard Britons, foemen flaunted.

Bold Brian, he who harped and harmed
who sang his love, his lust, his gaudy greed
his wildest wanderings we did take
to field; we fought and fell for Brian's sake.

His foemen's blood he spilled, and gave rebirth
to Antient Brian's game, brave Boru's way.
The Saxons fell yet went not home as whole;
their faces grinned as Brian bared his soul.

They, at our feasts, our trophied heads stared down
and listened, blanching not at bloody tales --
Thus Brian inspired our souls to battle bold
of which our kindred's kin shall ere be told.

Yet gods do find no joy in joy unknown
to THEIR fine names and spirits' debt.
But rather envied Brian his foemen's fall:
they struck while beauteous Brian thus stood tall.

The greatest good in human heart has burst --
thus Brian passes to his fate unfair:
Sing out his tale, his fame, his bravest deeds
whose soul shall ere return at Eire's need.



Many wars I have seen, many battles fought
stood by my king, masterless slave;
knowing not why my songs have such meaning
knowing the sagas I only may save.

In Cuchulainn's war marches I too strode
Sharp-singer of tales to push on the wave.
My holder, he fell to the swords of the heathens
knowing his sory I only could save.

O'Donnell, he took me by force to the North.
The kin of my fathers he put in the grave.
He, too, fell silent, King of the Isle,
knowing his memory I only could save.

Now call me, o great one of white hands and red hair
as blood and sword your road to glory must pave.
Remember! You'll die but my harp will live always!
Know that your soul, I only may save!

Many wars I have seen, many deaths I have known,
mothers and children of Eire-men brave,
A voice with no master, bound to live always
knowing the sagas I only may save.


And there you have them. Like them? Hate them? Comment below or write me.

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