Sí an Bhrú

Posted by on Tuesday, December 20th, 2022

In a time before we measured time 
With calendars plotted by murderous kings, 
A people lived who called themselves 
By long lost names we can never know.
Back we wander toward them at Winter, 
Haltingly, hopeful, hungry for light,
As we witness the death of Autumn herself, 
Laid on the riverbank, frosted with rime.
Slowly, approaching the quartz-bedecked grave mound, 
Looming there above the meandering Boyne,
Owl-like, we swivel, our gaze turning Sunward,
Praying for a bright dawn to light up that tomb
And warm the dark chambers built for Gods reigning silent
Over a temple long sacred to farmers who read stars;
And who knew in their core that Winter fathers Summer
And Spring births all life, while Autumn weaves shrouds.

We’ve dug and we’ve sifted through soil and ash,
And measured and counted the beads, bones, and pins, 
Tracing the paths of the stones and their carvers to Meath–
We call the place “Center” as did bards long ago,
Despite being the outskirts of the hinterlands still–
And there at the hip flare of water curving like a woman
Those neolithic architects raised acres of shrines
Graven with orbit, and circuit, and ray. 

The river named for She who loved and birthed Gods,
Recast as a sinner by church scribes long past,
Because she opened her legs and her heart as she dared.
Mate to Horse Lord and Good God, and mother to Youth.
For Boand was fruitful–she nurtured the world,
And the mere act of washing herself in a well
Bore a river, which carried her stone-dead away–
The day she loved Dagda, then ripened seed into fruit,
And bore Aengus Og, Princeling of Tuath–
All wrought with such beauty the Sun paused for a peek.

Still we can’t find their names, but their math was ingenious
And served as a cheat sheet for eons long since.
And ever and after their calendars call out
“We promise, the Sun will wend back here again–
Go revel at Stonehenge if you’re traveling east,
Watch Knowth for the balance points,
Dowth calls Summer to Start
Bryn Celli Ddu and Maeshowe shall remind you of hope
In the darkness of winter, just like Sí an Bhrú
We left stone upon stone to remind you to live.”

Copyright 2022, Amy Ripton


Recording on Bandcamp


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