Writing Brigit

Writing Brigit

Many years ago I wrote my first Brigit prayer. Poem. Blessing... I have been writing them ever since, but seldom publish them. Some are carefully researched and crafted, some are simple and straight from the heart.

The prayers and blessings of my sisters in the Daughters of the Flame and other Brigit-loving women and men, living and long-dead, fill me with surprise and delight, as well.

I would like to share some of these writings with you.

Following is the one that signs off each of my emails, a reminder to guide my words and intentions with care when I write to anyone. It's as good a place to start as any.

Flame Offering

In the name of the three Brigits

I light the candle of my heart

May I offer it to everyone

gentle and steady

warm and bright

15 January 2020

“By the Moon’s Light” by Mael Brigde

By the Moon’s Light

by the moon’s light I travel
by the sun’s true gleam
by your hand I am lifted
from depth to height

Image: "Moon Over Woodland Drive" by Casey Wolf (2013).

10 December 2019

“Bird of Three Realms” by Mael Brigde

Bird of Three Realms

Brigit’s swan
glimmering thread
embroiders every realm
draws them nearer to each other
one to one
to one

wings whistling
she slips
from the cushioned sky
on the silver-furrowed lake

with one swift push
she breasts
the unresisting glass
drifts   wings curled above her body
digs her beak in argent waters
plucks the floating cress

she hisses at the stranger
shakes her coal-ridged forehead
sets her foot like blackthorn’s trunk
on damp and yielding earth
feeds along the threshold
of the realms

Brigit’s swan
her shape given the fleeing
gold-chained lovers
her feathers
on whom rain beads and
are sewn together in
the poet’s journey cloak
give vision flight

bird of three realms
she sees
the trembling sky
the shivering waters
the earth grumbling
beneath her feet

Image: Mute swan (Cygnus olor) looking for food in waves, Windermere, England. By Michal  
            Klajban [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

24 October 2019

"The Heavenly Banquet" by Anon

         The Heavenly Banquet

         I would like to have the men of Heaven
         In my own house
         With vats of good cheer
         Laid out before them.

         I would like to have the three Marys
         Their fame so great.
         I would like to have people
         From every corner of heaven.

         I would like them to be cheerful
         In their drinking.
         I would like to have Jesus, too,
         Here amongst them.

         I would like to have a great lake of beer
         For the King of Kings.
         I'd love to be watching the family of heaven
         Drinking it through all eternity.

PoemAscribed to Saint Brigit, but written much later than her life. From Brussels Bibliothèque Royale 5100(book written by Siodrach Ua Mael Conaire in 1533).
This version from Seán Ó Faoláin The Irish : A Character Study (1947). 

ImageFrom The Dinner Party, by Judy Chicago (1979).

31 July 2019

“Herb Healing Charm” by Mael Brigde

Herb Healing Charm

delight of eye
friend of cattle
magic lies within

I pluck you
—great thanks—
sing your charm into
my ailing form

comely herb
blessed of Brigit
Goddess of Healers
do your tender work

Note: “Herb Healing Charm” – This poem corresponds to Lus (Flame/Herb), a letter in the medieval Irish script called the ogam. The first two lines are translations of the word ogams “lí súla” and “carae cethrae” which are applied to this letter (Laurie, Ogam: Weaving Word Wisdom, pp. 63-64).

ImageHerb Robert Geranium robertianum in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. Photo by Joli - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0 

“Herb Robert was once widely used to treat a range of medical conditions. The leaves were crushed to make compresses for bruises and wounds. It was taken internally for diarrhoea, peptic ulcers and bleeding, and applied externally to treat inflamed gums and herpes. The plant has also been used as a natural insect repellent and to obtain a brown dye. Although rarely encountered in contemporary herbal medicine recent research suggests (H)erb Robert may lower blood sugar levels, making it a potentially useful treatment for diabetes.Ireland's Wildlife.

17 June 2019

"Brigit to the Grieving Mother" by Mael Brigde

Brigit to the Grieving Mother

my sister
you have tasted bitter herbs
she who you loved sleeps
dead upon your breast
as he who I loved
slept on mine
the whole world knows this torment
the whole world sorrows
with your woe

hold your daughter
till the knife’s edge blunts
bring her to me
her soft limp form
place gently in my hands

go to your people
rebuild your house
let the wounds upon you bleed
until they seal

I will hold her in her sleeping
I will take her to my hidden well
some day
this tiny soul
will live anew

Image: "Mother Weeping for Her Dead Child" by George Minne (1886).

18 May 2019

"Red-Haired Boy" by Mael Brigde

Red-Haired Boy

that one
—hair the colour of dried blood—
latched his mouth
to your swollen breast
—that hair
that mouth
made from you
from his half-foreign father—
drank you into himself and grew

that child
every portion of him the promise
of a king
—his father the beautiful
his grandfather the Good God
his mother
goddess of word and craft—

how could he not fall prey
to those who twisted
turned him
how could he not wish
to please his father well

yet how
how could he come before
his mother’s people
before the smith who loved him
beg of him a splendid spear
seek to cut him down

when the spear refused the service
when the smith wrenched back his arm
hurled the weapon home
how could your son not fall

before him hundreds died
born again in the Well of Wholeness
that well now shattered
Ruadán remained
as he fell

lay screaming
on crimson ground

silence on the land

and you
how could you not upwell
as the divine river before you broke its banks
and all the horror and all the sorrow
of that awful scything
not emerge in ululation

the birth of keening
at the slaying of your son

15 March 2019

Solas Bhride Prayer

Kildare, Ireland, 1997

Brigid, you were a woman of peace,
you brought harmony where there was conflict.
You brought light into the darkness.
You brought hope to the downcast.
May the mantle of your peace
cover those who are troubled and anxious,
and may peace be firmly rooted in the world.
Inspire us to act justly and reverence all God has made.
Brigid, you were a voice for the wounded and the weary.
Strengthen what is weak within us.
Calm us into a quietness that heals and listens.
May we grow each day into greater
wholeness in mind, body and spirit.


Image: From Solas Bhride website