Then the Morrigan said …
So it came to battle at the last.
It came, at last, to red and slaughterous battle as it always has, and it always will.
It came, at the last, to the calling of kings
To the feats of feasting
The feasts of poetic words
The talking and taking of honours
The honour of battle lines.
And battalions broken
On the blood-zealous battlefield.
It came at last to the rigours of battle
And a hundred cuts blossomed
As screams were heard
Screams of fractured metal
The slicing scream of flesh
And the breaking of bones
I saw all who were born to bravery
On the rage-raven blade-scabbard battlefield
And it came at last to the
Recording of bodies
Reciting of honours
The poet-recognition of valour
As the Story is told and retold.
And The Dagda replied…..
But was there not more to the story, more to the battle than the wild wielding of blades?
Was there not the weaving of words and quicksilver wits?
Were there not boys born in beauty to golden fathers, winning wives in secret places?
Was it not a time when the world turned over?
When mountains were laid low and valleys devoured their own rivers?
When the noble man was set to the work of a slave?
When fear and famine ruled?
And yet was not a king’s miserly meanness brought down by the words of a satire, and the seasons restored by the notes of a harp?
Is it not that, and more?
And The Morrigan said …
Aye, that is so. You speak it, and it is a truth.
The lowing of the Glas Gabann leads the cattle of Ireland back onto the fertile fields.
The land lies, a cup of honeyed strength, a strength for all
Here there will be a forest-point of field-fences
The horn-counting of many cows
And the encircling of many fields
There will be sheltering trees
So fodderful of beech mast that the trees themselves will be weary with the weight.
In this land will come abundance bringing
Wealth for our children
But not forever
The battle is not over for ever.
The land will fail, and justice will fall. The rhythm of your harp will not keep us safe forever.
The Dagda replied…
Not for ever, but for this day,
And is not all time made up of days and nights?
Peace for this day then.
So let us go, my woman, you and I
Let us go to the river bed, where we have met before.
To where you loosened your nine tresses over the smoothness of your white thighs.
There let the world be made and unmade and made again.
Is that not a story worth the telling, and retelling?
Image: “What is there about the Lightest Light and the Darkest Dark” by Iwaski