Scéal na nEala Bhan (Song of the White Swan)

Soaring, soaring high
over the oaks of Your Father
and birches of Your Mother
over the hills of Midir far below.
Swooping and swirling in ecstatic
dancing flight over the waters
of Lir and Tethra and now again
across the plains of Tara;
Freedom on the wing,
love swifter than the eye,
more beauteous than the glimmers
of the fairy mounds underneath.
Rising on great sweeps of powerful wing
to ascend the heights of Alba,
where once You rescued Your sister-lover,
sprung of winter cold-hard.

How glad Your heart rejoices
that the Maiden has consented
to Your advances, fleet bird-Lord,
proud in Your glorious beauty,
Pure-white and glittering
as a jeweled breastplate
Silver is dull, the white-gold pale
compared to You.
The red-gold flickers from the chain,
reflected in Your hair as you descend
with Your bride,
and all in the golden halls
are brighter, clearer, more dazzling
in the fires of love,
and the dark-ash of Her eyes
burns hotter than any flame-fire,
setting alight the amber
and carnelian of Your thatched head,
reducing You to the embers in the firepit

But that too is good;
more lovely and desired than life alone
would be death at Her hands.
A laugh,
lilting
and warm, fills you
to the brim of Yourself till just the
tiniest
drop
falls
and suddenly the dam breaks in a rush
of poetry and passion and magic scarce controlled;
rushing, raging eddies
where once limpid pools lay calm,
and You know this is Love.
The Wanderer without a home,
the Trickster who won a birthright,
now has a walled fence to keep
the tender and precious things:
bright angels and purple flies,
young, green herbs and birds of Paradise;
now safe in your golden halls
are all those broken ones,
the desolate and the timid,
find solace in Your Caer.

And You too find peace,
that You didn’t know You needed
until the soft touch of Her.
And the Swan Days will live forever in your heart,
glorious freedom, unknown pleasure,
Samhain cannot come soon enough.

 

<i>(c) Nicanthiel Hræfnhild 2008

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