A Bealtaine Poem | The Old Ways

the old waysSun has slipped beyond the rim, and

on the hill,

fiery petals unfurl,

a towering blossom of flame,

summer’s herald,

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.


35 Comments on “A Bealtaine Poem | The Old Ways

  1. Pingback: Beltaine Fire and Butterfly Dreams | Journey To Ambeth

    • Thanks Éilis, that means a lot! I was so tired when I typed it into my blog, though, that I missed a part out about the druids, and didnt even realise until the next day, by which time it was too late, too many people had seen it. Of course the druids were key in any fire celebration, so it really bothers me to have left them out, so now when I read it, all I can see is whats missing lol! Ill have to make it up to them by giving them their own poem. 😊 Thats what working late at night does…


      • I don’t think they’ll take it personally, Ali! I understand that frustrating feeling of realizing you had an idea about how you wanted to do something and it didn’t entirely turn out that way. Easier to say than do but try not to worry about it. I mean, I don’t quite live up to not worrying when it happens to me, but it’s okay. The poem is absolutely wonderful as it is. Besides, I’d love to read a poem of yours just about druids. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • For shame Tara that an Irish girl like you would let a bit of soft rain stop you! You got a perfectly good pair of wellies, dont you? Designer green ones, if I remember rightly, just made for dancing over the Irish hills…

      Liked by 1 person

      • LOL, Aye I’m with Ali here, go get wet and have some fun! And I’m not suggesting you do anything I don’t already… I was up on top of a mountain having a picnic for Imbolc last February in the rain, and then we went and hung out in an oak grove and got pelted by water falling from tree branches, and it was definitely cold, but wonderful. I’d do it again, for sure! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • The fire festival at Uisneach tonight was cancelled due to bad weather Éilis. Such a shame, and a lot of people not happy about it, but I live on top of a hill and the wind is WILD tonight… you could not light a fire that big and keep it safe. Our ancestors would not gather their people and risk their lives by lighting their fires in dangerous weather conditions, I’m sure, and neither should we. Dissappointing, though…


          • Gosh that’s really too bad,, Ali! So… rain in California is probably nothing like in Ireland. To be fair, we weren’t out in a giant storm, we were out in some rain, and fire was definitely not involved either. We also had about five layers of clothing on and had a car to get warm in afterward. I doubt our ancestors would have risked their lives lighting a fire in terrible conditions, for all sorts of the same reasons we wouldn’t, but also because life was already so risky. Probably best to view the weather from indoors. 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful poem ~ wish you a great Bealtaine, and enjoy learning and enjoying “new” things from you 🙂 All with this great creative flair you have.

    Liked by 1 person

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