Some think of you as gentle. As meek. As ‘safe’.
I venerate you as wise, and strong, and mighty,
but never do I make the mistake of thinking
that I own you.
Threefold lady–ladies three–
at first glance, yes, your domains would seem
the most benevolent of wisdoms:
Healing, poetry, smithcraft.
Oh, yes, these things can be kind:
Medicine to mend an illness or cast a broken limb;
Sweet verses to woo in love or comfort in pain;
The creation of beautiful jewelry or hardworking tools.
But at the root of all these things is fire,
and fire doesn’t have to mind what mere mortals want.
Sometimes healing is amputation of a limb too rotten to be saved;
sometimes it is a fever, scorching, draining,
that only leaves wellness in its wake when it has passed.
Sometimes healing requires medicines that cause as much sickness
as that they would remove, or radiation that removes a tumor
but leaves the rest of the body wracked with weakness and pain.
Poetry, it must be remembered, is not just pretty verses meant to entertain;
the filidh of Ireland were satirists, dispensing justice,
weaving words together that were the ruin of kings and warriors,
tearing lives apart to bring about justice,
and sometimes, driving men to their deaths.
Smithcraft is not merely pretty collars of gems to hang about the throat of a loved one,
or tools to till the ground or mend a roof.
Smiths created weapons of war, spear-heads, daggers, swords,
meant for no other purpose but to tear open soft human bodies
and spill blood in rivers and oceans, leaving behind
carrion for the ravens to feast upon.
They see your flame and they think they can control it,
and while it is true mankind has learned to harness fire
to warm their homes and cook their meals,
all too often it gets away from them;
all too often it rages through forests and homes,
a fury of cinders and winds hot enough to bake the blood in their veins,
one of the primal elements of creation,
and any man who thinks he can control your fire
is a fool who deserves to be burnt to the bone for his arrogance,
and left as ashes to fertilize the land
for the crops of one
with more sense than he had.