All Their Voices

Words and thoughts in devotion to the Divine

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The enemy saw my girth,
my rude way of dressing,
my cheerful nature,
and branded me a fool.
They were wrong, of course;
they thought to weaken me,
humiliate me with their demands:
as if eating a huge bowl of porridge
would leave me unfit for battle!
They learned, to their grief,
how wrong they were,
when I slew Cirb, son of Buan,
when he entered the fray.

Some among my own thought me simple;
they forgot my deeds of strategy
at the Plain of Props, and thought
they could trick me into giving up
such things as were mine;
when my most beautiful son
sought a place of his own, and
my half-brother,
the most skilled one of all of us,
thought to help me, they could come up
with no more than a petty play on words,
and that in our own tongue;
yet they thought that enough to take
the Bru na Boinne, and I let them,
for I love my son, and am I not
the most amiable and easy-going
of all of our folk?

Some among the bards think me
indolent, and lazy, and slow,
content to let others do my work for me,
as when I handed command of our forces
to my half-brother during the heated battle,
as when I might have served as champion
to our silver-handed king, but left that task
to my brother; but I had other matters to
contemplate and carry out, and those things
required more of me than a moment’s stolen grace.

Some thought me weak and cowardly;
those who were thus mistaken are all dead.
Skulls smashed in battle, brains spilled,
blood loosed in rivers from the veins where it swam.
I suffer none to hold me in such contempt,
and showed my foes the errors of their ways.
None may stand against my mighty club,
nor the heft of the thews that wield it,
nor the strength of the one who lifts it.

Some account me lusty, and on this,
they are correct, though mistaken are those
who think I show disrespect for my wife
by my trysts with others;
but when was it a crime for a man or a god
to admire a beautiful face, a shapely form,
and want to explore such beauty further?
If such is a crime, then all of us are criminals,
and not just men, but women too, though
many would not care to admit to such.
But I refuse to recoil from such joy and pleasure
when the opportunities present themselves,
and of me and my prowess, no woman I’ve
bedded has ever complained.
Even the Phantom Queen Herself,
fierce and dreadful and terrifying to behold,
has known the embrace of my arms,
the skill with which I wield that other club of mine,
and when we were finished, She lamented not.
In this, I am content.

Those who might mock me, think to cheat me,
hold me in disdain, find me unwitting, beware:
Among all the Tuatha de, you will find no greater King.
Underestimate me at your peril.



Prayer for Brigid

Forge-lady, healer,
here is a lump of ore for your anvil.
Pitted and scarred,
cracks and craters a mute testimony
to past attempts to
pound this crude and damaged lump
into keen steel.
I pray your hammer will do the work
of finally restoring to wholeness
the broken and battered,
torn and twisted
chunk of crippled rock
that is my heart.
Make of me, forge-lady, healer,
a useful tool,
that once again I may do good work
out there in the world
where You send me.


The Long Victory


You thought in your arrogance that you had beaten us;
you thought that you had won.
A flood of words, lies as deadly as Balor’s eye,
gold leaf on vellum and the trickle of baptismal waters:
these were your weapons.
But no creation of Man can stem the roiling tides of magic:
hammer on anvil, flurry of black feathers,
the sweep of oars, the clang of swords coming together,
the bright-blazing spear, the sword that returns every wound,
the cauldron that feeds all who come to it, the stone that screams:
you have not destroyed us; we have only changed.

You invaded and you conquered. Even so, we never feared you.
But we saw the devastation your invasion
wrought in other lands, as you forced your bile
down the throats of those who dwelt there:
groves cut down, temples toppled, books burned,
priests and believers alike put to the sword.
Trees may grow back, temples can be rebuilt,
and men may recopy old books and write new ones,
but blood, once spilled from sundered flesh,
does not return to the heart that once guided it.
We chose to spare our people that, in loving return
for the love they have so devotedly shown us.

Under the hills we will go, the brave and the strong,
the clever and the wise, the beautiful and the fierce.
Under the hills we will go, and watch and listen as you
change our names, change our truths: from god and goddess
to saint, to faerie, to ghost, to demon, to mortal,
putting words in our mouths that we never spoke,
weaving new deeds for us that never once existed,
building for those people you have stolen from us
– but who still live, for this we can grant, at least –
a false past and a hollow future.

Over the tide of centuries to come, they will tire of your lies,
over the surge of time that flows into the future, some will dig –
dig through the true words that yet remain, the tales unforgotten,
the scraps of truth put down in moments of weakness by monks
not quite convinced of the evil you say we were,
or remembering, perhaps, the stories told of those
who their ancestors followed so very long ago.

Some will dig, and unearth us in our sidhe-hills,
read the tales, know the lies for what they are,
and open their arms, tears on their faces,
as they welcome us back, so long transformed,
from saint, faerie, ghost, demon, mortal,
back into our true selves, as indeed we always were,
save in the deluded words of those blind to the truth,
and on that day, we will emerge from under our hills,
welcome back those who know our truth for what it is,
and show the world that sword and fire cannot kill the gods.
For those like us, there is no death. Only change.

We will return.

We will return.

We return.