Lanea on Feb 15th 2016

I was chosen, Mona’s daughter, often stained with blade-spilled blood.
Two-woman, spear-casting healer, honey-voiced scold, weak-armed warrior.
Diplomat chieftain chosen to slaughter a champion.
Singer for the Morrigan chosen to bear storm-crow’s son.
To steal breath, give breath, and breathe out our truths.

Midwife’s daughter, the gods chose me to bear weapon and word., tune and drum.
But soon scars crippled my arms, and I abandoned blades,
Sharpened my wit, and set out: emissary bard.
Chronicler of songs to rouse troops, close wounds, mourn death, praise harvest.

Road-weary I arrived to find my second tribe starving, staggering, grief-stricken,
Crushed under the weight of some untold curse.
We bled boars, spilled spirits, and fed the fields; proud of our offerings.
Still we suffered ill fate:
Crops failing, warriors falling, priests flailing for answers.

One, foreign born, offered his own blood to right the wrongs,
Demanded we empty him in obeisance to a stranger-God
Who haunted his mind and steered his weapons.
He pressed me to wield the blade, slit his throat,
And spill his strength onto the offended ground.
I, whose arms had failed me, agreed.
We lashed him between unblighted trees,
And prayed his sacrifice did not enrage the gods we meant to mollify.
I begged his assent, and on his command I opened his throat and
stained my hands,
Offering his life to this one-eyed God.

Bloodstained, I sought solace and forgiveness
For his killing; despairing my role in the strange rite;
Desperate to drive the tribe’s wailing from my ears.
But a storm rose in my skull, deep-throated chanting ringing in my ears,
Strange stirrings in my gut.
Terrified, I called to the seers, who caught me up and read my raging eyes.
They called me bride to Stormcrow, destined mother of a whole-born son.
I shrieked against their prophecy, desperate to cut the bonds
With the Cyclops god I’d never known, and seek the shelter of our
native goddesses.
But with every breath my belly distended, the god’s work growing quick
in the twilight.
I called out my obeisance to our gods but heard no answer from them,
Only the raspy chanting echoing in my head.
As the seers poured bitter elixirs into my mouth to douse my burning pain.

As the moon traveled her nightly path
I watched my body twist and break, torn asunder from within.
That night the Stormcrow dragged his new son from my womb,
Fully grown, armed with champion’s weapons.
Alherin, Iron-brow, payment for our obedience.

© 2006 Amy Ripton

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