aliisaacstoryteller

They hide the truth,
these gaudy costumes,
the carved lanterns,
the trick or treat.
Reality is macabre,
glossed by lies and pretense.
They fear the truth.

Once, I was revered.
Earth’s power rose within me,
I cured, I foretold,
I held in my soul
the key to life’s mystery,
and the Goddess spoke through my voice.
Once, I was adored.

In those days I could fly…
Yes, really.
But superstition and ignorance
stripped me bare.
Instead, I turn away
and I hide.
Oh, but I could fly!

Fires honoured the dead,
they blessed summer’s end,
witnessed the birth of a year
dark and terrible and new.
They brought light, warmth, hope
to where the darkness was.
Now, they consume the living.

Women like me,
we burn in the flames,
we drown in the bog,
held down by the weight
of our skills, misunderstood.
They hunt us, they hate us,
women like me.

What once made us powerful
thus renders us weak.
The old ways can’t prevent
the onslaught of
the new convictions.
The danger of zealots
makes us only fearful.

I was beautiful, then.
With youth on my side,
and the knowing of the universe
filling my heart.
I was invincible, or so I thought,
until I watched them suffer and die.
I am withered and empty, now.


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National Poetry Day 2014

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In the UK and Ireland, today is National Poetry Day. There is a full program of events lined up for the days surrounding this popular annual event in Ireland.  Just use the tags #thinkofapoem and #nationalpoetryday to tag your poetry related events and join in the fun. This year’s theme is ‘REMEMBER’, and so without further ado, I present to you my poem for National Poetry Day 2014.


 

Remember

We jump in the car on a whim, and drive

back to the places of our past,

to the days when spontaneity

was the only way we lived.

We are heady with remembering,

drunk on nostalgia,

and it’s a subtle rebellion,

this abandoning the now and all that’s in it

for the sake of what once was.

*

But on arriving, we sit quiet.

Memories flare, vivid…lurid.

The minutiae faded by time,

dulled with age,

is not the gift we’d anticipated.

We clutch hands, turn the car,

journey back into our familiar future.


Carrion | A Poem

Carrion

Cold crow,

black crow

sits in the tree.

I’m not afraid of him,

he’s not afraid of me.

*

He flaps and

he watches

with dark beady eye.

He knows things about me

as I stumble by.

*

Bold crow,

black crow

feeds on death.

He knows it won’t be long

till I draw my last breath.

*

Patiently,

he waited,

while the action in the field

overwhelmed me.

Thus my fate was sealed.

*

Cold crow,

black crow

cares not for human strife.

Our woes and battles

are just the stuff of life.

*

His voice is hoarse,

his cry sounds

triumphant intent.

I look back with regret

and sorrowful lament.

*

Bold crow,

black crow,

my soul will be renewed.

For I go now to meet my maker,

my flesh will be your food.

 

Sacred Spaces | A Poem

Sacred Spaces

I understand it was not for love of man was built

this house, but God.

I watch as upon each stone as token of toil

much blood and sweat was spilt.

Many miles by distant pilgrims were trod

to see Church take root in the grey and lifeless soil.

*

I see them get on their knees to pray

in the solemn shadow of cool, marble colonnades.

Pews whisper with devotion-filled solitude

regardless of season, night and day,

lured into quiet contemplation, hidden in the shade,

reeking of hope, desperation and gratitude.

*

I know this was a place once holy and rare,

but now the ghosts have moved on.

Only bones are left, forgotten crosses, broken tombs,

of gold and decoration bare.

God’s servants and sycophants all scattered, long gone.

Sacred spaces crumble, fall, return to earth’s womb.

Earthbound | A Poem

 

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This poem was inspired by one word from Jane Dougherty in her own lovely poem, and a song by the beguiling Jeff Buckley.  They claimed squatters rights in my brain all day, until finally I wrote this poem. And then they left.

 

You draw something nameless from me.

It makes my soul restless,

pushes at the boundaries.

*

You incite my caged inner bird to fly

but the wings you give are clipped,

and I am only earthbound.

*

How I long to soar,

for my spirit to be free.

I want to merge with the wind

*

and rush unfettered over the world’s surface,

feel that joy, be that joy.

See, explore, just be.

*

I want to expand and absorb it all,

to be a part of everything,

for it all to be part of me.

*

But I am only earthbound.

Now, but not before,

and not after.

Ancient Places | A Poem

What cities lie buried beneath each hill?

Monuments born of ancient times,

Forgotten and lost but standing still,

Neglected, disconnected, these are our crimes.

*

What histories are etched into ancient stones?

Tales decayed with the fall of walls,

The sag of dynasty, the crumble of bones,

The march of ghosts through tumbled halls.

*

If we could learn to unlock the past

What shrouds would unfurl from our eyes?

Would realisation be ours at last?

Understanding the what, when, who and why’s.

*

The power was strong, up on Shee Mor,

I felt at great peace, content.

At Moytura, where warriors fought their war

no harm for me was meant.

*

At Uisneach, by the lough where Lugh was drowned

I grieved for Eire’s loss, watched Beltaine fires leap.

Then to Tara, where High Kings were crowned,

the Sacred Stone sadly lost in eternal slumber deep.

*

These places, their magic floods my soul,

washes me clean of the now.

Their stories surge through me, re-make me whole,

ancient voices tell of the how.

*

Ancestors sing and call me home.

I would go if I knew the way.

Under my feet, beneath the loam

stirs blood, beats heart of a by-gone day.

Moving On | A Poem

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Let me tell you of her,

Forsake small understanding;

She is the sun after the rain is gone,

the smile after tears have fallen,

food for my soul.

Do you see that now?

*

It’s bright, this world of hers,

so far removed from my own.

I sneak a glimpse through radiant diamond doors

as her shadow flits between and beyond.

She knows no desire,

she owns every grace.

*

Bereft, I watch her leave,

cry out as she moves on;

where she goes I may not follow,

she has that yet to learn.

*

Yet what need of learning

when washed by the tides of love?

What need of love

when washed up on the shores of understanding?

Merman | A Poem

Merman with TridentI haul you in,

I, the Fisher Girl

and you, my greatest prize.

 

You lie, wet and shining,

in the bottom of my boat,

weak, frail, spent.

 

You are dying.

Caught in my net, trapped too long.

You flounder feebly in the bilge.

 

You open your mouth,

whistle, like a dolphin, or a bird.

Accusations I half understand.

 

I give you back to the ocean,

watch you drift away,

each of us in our element

both gasping like fish out of water.

Daughter | A Poem

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I wrote this a few years back, at a time when I was never far from the fear of losing her.

Looking into her eyes

is to look into the Skerries sea,

on a silver morning.

*

The lacing of winter branches

reminds me of

the fall of her dark curls.

*

The touch of her kiss

is wine to me,

her tiny embrace

more precious than air.

*

When she’s gone,

I’ll not place her, alone,

in the cold dark earth.

*

I’ll offer her to the sky and the sun,

set her free to roam,

as she never could before.

*

And then, when the wind blows,

I’ll always feel her,

close all around me, like a hug,

*

hear her breathing

in the sigh of the breeze.

The Tides of Time | A Poem

Night seaI left myself there
under the dark sky,
the starry sky,
beside the moon-dusted sea,
waves patting softly at the shore,
sucking at our feet,
calling us into their cool embrace
with hoarse, raspy voices.

On the strand we strolled,
hand in hand, skin to skin,
the warmth melting through us like honey,
languid, un-hurried,
as the vault wheeled above us,
life pulsed within us,
and earth rocked beneath us and through us
and we, caught in the moment,
lay back and soaked it in.

You left me there,
lost more easily than found,
the pattern of our limbs in the sand
carved resolutely in my mind,
erased by the morning tide,
but not by the passage of time.

Irish Mist | A Poem

misty

From Celtic dreams

through Irish mists

warrior-maiden drifts.

Through Scottish glens

past English lakes

a lover’s tryst she makes.

Where wild winds blow,

there will she go

to meet her heart’s desire.

Soft words are hissed,

then lips are kissed

and love is quenched in fire.

Let battle commence

from this day hence,

two forces joined, yet apart.

Lost in life’s maze

till the end of days,

bound by passion of the heart.

I Will Know… | A Poem

Image © Ed Isaacs Dreamstime

Image © Ed Isaacs  Dreamstime

For my husband, a poem which rhymes. Please note; this poem is based on my imagination, not my real life…

As a child I knew much more
than adults gave me credit for.
Even at the age of three
it was not difficult to see
the endless lies and heavy despair
due to Mum's drinking and Dad's affair.

Every night I heard them shout,
knowing what it was all about.
In their room, behind closed doors,
thinking they shut out the shrieks and roars.

Whatever must the neighbours have thought?
I don’t remember, though perhaps I ought.
I was only a child; what could I do?
Perhaps no one ever knew
what went on inside our house,
for I never told, being quiet as a mouse.
The tales never escaped my parents’ lips
when they left the house on their secretive trips.

What private trysts did they keep?
Did words of love from their hearts drip-seep?
Yet they never divorced;
Perhaps the marriage was forced
to tie them infinitely together,
whatever the internal, marital weather.
The scandal of separation would have picked clean their bones
in a neighbourhood where one must keep up with the Jones.
Seems reputation was never considered, when they
met with their lovers each drab, dreary day.

And so with this hypocrisy I grew up,
and now I drink from the self-same cup.
My wife’s love is no longer mine
so I drown my sorrow in cheap bottles of wine.

At night I hear my children cry to sleep
as I lie in bed, brain alcohol-fuddled deep.
I vaguely hear my wife’s accusations
and respond through a dizzy numb drunken sensation.
Now I know how my parents must have felt,
and accept readily the blow fate has dealt.

Is it true that children take after their parents before them?
Perhaps when my children mature, I will know then…