A Bealtaine Poem | The Old Ways


bealtaine fire

Sun has slipped beyond the rim, and

on the hill,

fiery petals unfurl,

a towering blossom of flame,

summer’s herald,

an omen of peace and plenty.


Around the Beal-fire maidens sway,

yellow wrapped with starry strings of gorse,

their eyes light filled,

heat leaping in their blood,

summer’s song sweet on their lips


while men compete at warrior’s sport.

They attempt the hero leap

over the fire,

urged on by mead, camaraderie, bravado,

a lover’s glance, and

the need to prove their own prowess.


Children run between the fires,

soot covered, laughing,

or listen, slack jawed,

to the tall tales the fili tell.


And then the cattle drive,

no small feat of a man’s skill

to manoeuvre that fire-crazed stampede

successfully through the inferno.


Eriu’s eye has opened. She sees all,

as the fires rise and fall

like the washing of the tides,

the wax and wane…

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