Saturday 20 January 2007


Solstice is an event often represented among pagans as part of some wiccan calendar wheel or as a kind of national Djembe festival. This poem springs from an attempt to express the moment of Solstice both as an astronomical event and as a spiritual one. The suspended moment provides opportunity; the place, Royal Tara, provides the Brí and Bua - the accompanying energy and context for any moment of spiritual intensity. Unlike other poems I have written, which are flights of imagination, this like "Dowsing" is a real event recounted in poetic language; an inversion of reality and imagination.


these are the paths we walk

I turn inwards
following the threads
of a rambling thought
in the still-dark of dawn.
Once familiar shapes now
loom, catching me
unawares; opening my eyes
to their true nature
immutable, inscrutable;
more, suddenly, than the
gentle mounds, motherly breasts
undulations of Tara
I turn again
disoriented, in my own land.


I am shaken
my presumption is revealed.
How I have said before
I know these things
I who missed the stark pride
of Lia Fail; the cool aching
slope of the mound?
I who was used to run
over the edge
of what this new light shows
to be a chasm?
Dizzying heights and depths
spinning in infinity


I sink into knee-high grass
my senses filled, my eyes
dazed. The light eats sky
til only day remains.
the veil has descended
as the dark recedes
and all around me-
familiar terrain, well loved
tracks, the geography of
Tara reasserts itself.
But I have glimpsed
an inner scheme; overlaid
the landscape of my soul
with the bones of this place.
I walk the spiral
from the Royal mound
to Eireann; in the bowels
of the earthworks, on the edge
of the ramparts

As the full day blossoms
smiling on a motley group
of locals, pagans,
lost drunks and tourists
drums and voices raised
I struggle to reconcile
an eternal moment
an internal moment
with the careless gaiety
of an Irish feile in summer
that heartbreaking suspension
simultaneous dwelling
that - to me -
is Solstice.

Geraldine Moorkens Byrne 2006


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