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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & Owner
Ray Rasmussen, General Editor

Volume 11, Number 2, June 2017
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Claire Everett
Northallerton, North Yorkshire, England


Brigid's Fire

a chink
in the passage tomb
of a dream . . .
her hands on the snake stone
more light than flesh

But I wake in this world. No moon, as such. Just the blinter of stars through the voiles. A sharp frost, perhaps. The weight of the bedcovers.

One voice, then another, ahead of the chorus. Now here. Now there.

There's Worry, emptying its craw. And this pair, sending a volley of caws across the dark-before-dawn. I hope night hasn't gifted them something to pick clean.

New, new new, new!

What's that? Could it be . . .? No, I must be mistaken. Surely that's Love I hear! The song that trills from the upside-down-heart of a breast and sets its singer dancing like a feathered flame, from tree to tree.

Summer is coming, summer is coming,
I know it, I know it, I know it.
Light again, leaf again, life again, love again . . .

What, so soon, when winter passed me by, page after blank page, with nothing winged lingering long enough to leave its tracks?

in the foistiness
of the understairs cubby
old potatoes
all eyes and sprouts
itching to take root

Here again, here, here, here, happy year!

No . . . that is the voice of the morning and evening star, now settled on a bough. The one whose beak is as yellow as its eye. I would call it Joy, but for the tempo, or Melancholy, were the melody not so bright. Nameless all these years, and yet so often I have taken its sable for my brush.

Love again, song again, nest again, young again!

Oh, if rising sap could sing! I know it, I know it, I know it! Now there's no denying the one who can drown out even the most raucous.

Yes, my wild little poet . . .

green ballpoint
on the back of a flyer
the poem
that fumbled its way
through darkness


Author's Notes:

Brigid, pagan goddess of Irish mythology, daughter of the Dagda. According to the 10th-century Cormac's Glossary, she was the goddess “whom poets adored." Myth and lore connect Brigid with the first inhabitants of Newgrange (site of the Stone Age passage tomb) and the River Boyne. Both goddess and river are noted for their healing powers.

The festival of Imbolc/Feile Brighde/Candlemas marks the quickening of the year. (The word Imbolc derives from "in the belly."). Brigid is traditionally a goddess of fire.

Italicised text is from "The Throstle" by Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892). A throstle is a song thrush.

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