"Life is the dancer and you are the dance."
Eckhart Tolle

Friday, February 25, 2011

'Cruinniú cairde' big tent poetry — holiday celebration, or an anti-celebration

Brigid of faughart and seven virgins of Croghan 
roaming the Hill of Tara performing miracles.
Dressed in green frocks with purple sleeves.

They begin to gather wood and kindling to
build a magnificent fire. 
Picking blackberries from the bushes,
smearing the juice on their cheeks,
creating symbolic forms before
shedding their clothes under the trees.
Forming a circle, the dance begins,
while reaching for colourful ribbons
in the wind, hanging from the highest branches.

They chant:
“We’ll shoot the stars and ask for answers.”
The festivities have begun …

St Patrick and Dubhthach are
arriving from Lienster in their carriage
with stately horses – two by two.

We will pass communion wine
sheathed in amber-colored skins while
paying homage to the elements …
as Brigid of faughart, St Patrick and Dubhuthach
chase the snakes away.

process notes:
Saint Brigit of Kildare, or Brigit of Ireland, nicknamed Mary of the Gael (Irish: Naomh Bríd)
(c. 451–525) is one of Ireland's patron saints along with Saints Patrick and Columba. Irish hagiography makes her an early Irish Christian nun, abbess, and founder of several monasteries. Her feast day is 1 February, celebrated as St Brigid’s Day or Imbolc in Gaelic Ireland. Dubhthach her father, an Irish chieftain, was baptized by St Patrick. 
The title means 'Circle of friends' in Irish Gaelic.


  1. Liked this very much. It has an ancient ring, and I learned something new. Very nice images!

  2. Captivating, Pamela. Brigid is my confirmation name, but I'm no saint!

  3. Yes, I love this history based piece!

  4. Something new for St. Patrick's Day. I'll celebrate St. Brigid (no blackberries tho. Have to wait til summer around here to smear our bodies a nice shade of purple!

  5. Love the poem and the images you create here - shedding the clothes, the dancing circle,the ribbons....and most especially "we'll shoot the stars and ask for answers!. Wow!

  6. Wow, this is beautiful. I'm not sure I understand the history of all of it, but the poem conjures up images...seems like it comes from the middle of a novel where magical things are happening...loved it!

  7. Loved paying homage to the elements.

  8. Your speaking my Gaelic, friend ... This poem erases history's widely separated outposts and shows the dance throughout, on the one great mythic day. Pass the blackberries, please ... "Dubh" means "darkness," I think, and the Bride which became Brighid was a light-goddess: a transmutation from dark to light and back. (Something, I think, now re-claims Ireland from Christianity, or mediates it. What's wonderful about Gaelic culture is that Christian and pagan share so much common ground. I did a piece on Brighid for Candlemas here: http://tinyurl.com/4tvc7to - Brendan

  9. So vivid a sense of time and place here.

  10. How fascinating! I was presented not only with vivid poetry, but an inspired history lesson too. And by the way, I hope you do some fun things this weekend in anticipation of your birthday celebrations!

  11. My 90 year old mother, Brigid, will love this. I'm going to visit her next week and will read it to her. Love the Celtic feel of this poem.

  12. Not to mention she is a patron saint for poets and milkmaids ;)

  13. This is just beautiful, Pamela. I hung on every image. Brigid is my favorite saint. I wrote about here a couple years ago:


    I loved every bit of your poem, and the last stanza just sealed the wonderfulness for me!

  14. Magnificently mystical and magical. Love it!

  15. I feel like I am right there, in the celebration.


    My poem this week.

  16. Oh, this was just delightful! What a joyful poem!

  17. Ah now that's a magical holiday poem. Love Brigid & Patrick.

  18. Thanks to each and every one of you for the lovely comments. This was a labour of love
    for me to write.

    Additional thanks to Brendan for the wonderful
    reading material on Brighid.

  19. Lovely having the historical saints brought to life. I enjoyed your poem very much.

  20. Deb, this was an fantastic prompt. I really
    enjoyed writing to it, thanks.

  21. i love imagining these sorts of ceremonies/celebrations. so glad you did the hard work to make it possible! and yes, thanks to deb for a great prompt!

  22. Carolee, I loved doing this prompt.
    Thanks so much to you girls over at
    the big tent.

  23. Lovely poem... I enjoyed the ceremonial ritual and homage to the saints. I have Irish in me... German, too.

  24. Yay! To the Irish and thanks, Laurie.