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The Last Bardic Harpist - The First Day of Spring

Poetry By: donkylemore
Classics


The bardic harpers held a position of high esteem among the Celts from the 7 th- 17 th centuary. Their Music was cherished . It could flatter or indict a chieftan.
They had 3 formats ; the music of Dance ; Music of lament and loss ; Music of sleep - or lullaby.
They were drifters , they stayed with the chieftan and assumed his hospitality.
They were initially Pagans .
With the arrival of St Patrick - they were conflicted between the old druidic world of polytheism and the message of St Patrick of one God.
This is the story- poem of one of these bards , who climbs to the summit of the Celtic cairn - or passage grave dotted all over the country and dating back 4000 years.
The feast of St Bridget occurs on Feb 1st
This date was formerly dedicated to the Celtic Godess of Spring , " Imbolc " , which was considered to occur on that date .


Submitted:Feb 3, 2009    Reads: 111    Comments: 4    Likes: 4   


Ni bu Sanct Brigid suanach
Ni bu huarach im sheirc D�,
Sech ni chiuir ni cossena
Ind n�eb dibad bethath che.


Against the slanting sleet ;
The Bardic Harper pressed further,
Bent low, into the biting wind ,
That whistled with bitter teeth
Though the gaps ,slashing at his cowhide boots.


Where the gap opened in the trees
He turned to the valley below,
And O 'Carolans air was in his ear
Shi beag ; Shi Mor-
That soft jaunty song
Of two feuding fairy hills.

But the February the first ;
Was her day
And on and up he climbed
to the stone cairn , on high
To welcome the girl-saint; Bridget ;
Who made the Christian crosses;
From the reeds of the plains
Which sprouted up ;
Like green whiskers ;
From the winter's muddied soil;


The snow fell like arrows ;
Sideways in the wind.
He knelt at the cairn;
And the gusts flung
Against his frail figure.
With renewed fury
In anger at being pushed
Skyward by the mountain cairn.

Who lay in this stone fort ?
Who carried these rocks ?
Two thousand years or more ago .
To this windy precipice ,
And why ?

To see the first sun rays on the dawn of spring
On the first day of February ?
Rising from the skyline over Galway bay;
And with it a prayer from Bridget the pagan
Or Bridget the Christian girl-saint.
And did it matter .

But the sun must be enticed
To rise with an urgent hope
From under the cowl of winter months,
And Bridget must be invoked
To reinvigorate to the land with growth

As he turned back down
The wild and rugged hill
He untethered his harp
And in the lee of the stone cairn
A tune for Imbolc , for Bridget ,
Was of a sudden
On his gnarled fingers
As his horney nails
Plucked the wire brass strings
And the air came from his vision and
Played out crisply on the wind

And as the little candles
Appeared flickering in the sills below
A dreamlike sleep came over him ,
And he yielded to the drowsy bliss
That subsumed his frail and frosted frame.


A farmer with his ragged sheep
Found him in the morning.
Cold and stiff .
His harp at his side;
And the promise of the Spring .
Was on the land , and everywhere
The soil was joyous
As the last sleet , washed away
With the sunrise over the drumlin.

They left him till their chieftain came.
And with a searing pain
From deep within his heart
He knelt before the noble mystic
That held in his clawed majestic hands ;
The power to make them to weep with sorrow,
Or lull them to a sonorous sleep.
Or make them dance till the dark had passed.

And now his harp would sing no more
No magic notes to float or dance
No wistful words to soothe the soul

With strong Meade , and sweet wine
They'd wake him in the way of kings
With the sunrise on his third day of lying.
They'd place his body in the cairn ,
For this was the last
And finest of the paean bards.

*Ni bu Sanct Brigid suanach
Ni bu huarach im sheirc D�,
Sech ni chiuir ni cossena
Ind n�eb dibad bethath che.





*Saint Brigid was not given to sleep,
Nor was she intermittent about God's love;
Not merely that she did not buy, she did not seek for
The wealth of this world below, the holy one.





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