Sun has slipped beyond the rim, and
on the hill,
fiery petals unfurl,
a towering blossom of flame,
an omen of peace and plenty.
Around the Beal-fire maidens sway,
yellow wrapped with starry strings of gorse,
their eyes light filled,
heat leaping in their blood,
summer’s song sweet on their lips
while men compete at warrior’s sport.
They attempt the hero leap
over the fire,
urged on by mead, camaraderie, bravado,
a lover’s glance, and
the need to prove their own prowess.
Children run between the fires,
soot covered, laughing,
or listen, slack jawed,
to the tall tales the fili tell.
And then the cattle drive,
no small feat of a man’s skill
to manoeuvre that fire-crazed stampede
successfully through the inferno.
Eriu’s eye has opened. She sees all,
as the fires rise and fall
like the washing of the tides,
the wax and wane of the moon,
the wheel of life and death,
scattering ashes into the dry earth beneath,
wherein her pulse beats
cadence with the bodhran
and the dancers feet,
and life quickens
in the dark warm recesses
of the feminine.