You call yourselves Bards?

Posted by on Monday, October 23rd, 2017

This was my challenge for the Celtic component of the Bardic Quest at War of the Wings, 2017.  Boasts have a particular prominence in Celtic mythology: the most famous is the Song of Amergin, but the boasts in Mac Datho’s Pig are also notable. 

 
You call yourselves Bards? That word is mine–
My Mother Tongue gave it breath.
My mouth its home.
My lungs its fuel.
My eyes its guide.
My hands its weapons.
My head its hearth.
Call me Fili, Ollam,
And know what heights I reach.
I speak the féth fíada to wrap my kin in mist,
Then call up War itself
To tear my foes asunder.
I tangle my enemy’s bowels
And rob sleep from his home with a quip.
I pull tears from your eyes or
Laughter from your belly on a whim.

My knife is sharp–my tongue much sharper.
My wits keen and true.
My lips speak a spell to capture multitudes.
I break ensnaring fetters with my voice alone
And call all eyes to see an unjust man
Or a woman’s unbreakable strength.
I sing of the struggle not the fight,
And praise the rabble who resist the strong
Until they themselves rise victorious
To supplant their masters in the minds of men.
One who claims yesterday’s triumph
Must fear my song today
For ere long my verse will recast the tale
In favor of those whose deeds
Most please the Muse.

If you would claim My Word as your own,
Prove your worth. Speak your power.
If Bright Brigid blesses you, take your place at my side.
If you fail, utter “minstrel” only when you name your trade
And speak not of yourself as “Bard” henceforth.

© 2017 Lanea verch Kerrigan/Amy Ripton

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One Response to “You call yourselves Bards?”

  1. Kirstenon 12 Dec 2017 at 8:06 pm 1

    Lovely, powerful and strong.

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