The Celts

1. The Celts

The crisp light of early morn

Was the dawning of hope and pride,

And aloft by youthful vigour borne

I mounted my colt astride.

Shield and buckler I strapped tight

And provisions for the journey fastened;

And with a glance at the eyes of my lady bright

Upon my shield emblazoned,

I took the reins and westward hastened.

2. Aldebaran

Along the way, I know not how,

My horse’s hooves struck air not ground,

And soon the Pleiades and Plough

Appeared with shimmering sound,

And stars like diamonds all around,

Shining a path of ghostly sheen,

Drew us on like a mote of dust

Caught in a golden sunbeam;

And naught could I do but trust.

3. I Want Tomorrow

In the castle gardens’ shade

She sings a plaintive song

Of sweetest yearnings made,

That the morrow may not tarry long;

For endless days drag on forever,

‘Til her love arrive,

Her heart’s bonds to sever;

And ere she die,

Her soul to kiss alive.

4. The March of the Celts

Down to Earth we journey on,

I and my bewildered steed.

The way is hard, the light is gone,

But still my heart doth lead,

Across the moor, across the sea,

To the beat of an ancient drum,

The beat of the ancient soul of life.

And round about the insects hum

To the sound of a distant fife.

5. Deireadh an Tuath

Mists of the damp earth rise

Wreathing ghostly forms,

Spirits long dead but wise,

Free from life’s cruel storms.

Rather than curse, they bless,

And denuded of worldly care,

With gentleness they caress

Those who close enough dare

To stop and stare.

6. The Sun in the Stream

The parting clouds reveal

A fulsome light,

Hyperion’s golden wheel,

Welcome to my sight

After such auguries of night.

The sun in the stream

Gladdens the heart

And sweetens the dream

Of which it is part.

7. To go Beyond (I)

And from across a sea

Of swirling dreams

The lilting melody

(Or so it seems)

Of a beautiful maiden

Lightens the load

With which I am laden

And paves the road

To her fair abode.

8. Fairytale

Out of the music box

Of childhood, an old tune,

Like a lullaby, rocks

To sleep the drowsy moon.

But all too soon

The years steal upon us,

Filling innocent minds

With ideas that wrong us,

Thoughts unkind

And ties that bind.

9. Epona

Up ahead the horse goddess,

Riding on the winds of the north,

Comes down for a rest,

And spying us, sets forth

To set us this test:

“Whether it be best

To wed an immortal soul in death

Or a mortal soul in life?”

Ere I can take a breath,

My horse replies, “vielleicht”,

And takes the goddess to wife.

10. St. Patrick

So now on foot go I,

With my shield and buckler and spear,

‘Til I came, by and by,

Upon a chapel drear,

All bereft of charm or cheer.

But entering in, a choir

Of Christian angels did sing,

Which, like a moving fire,

To my tired soul gave wing.

11. Cú Chulainn

Thus refreshed, I marched on

Through the driving rain;

All fear was gone –

I was the hero Cú Chulainn.

No bandits or robbers could assail

A warrior so brave;

They surely would fail,

As with a wave

I would send them all to an early grave.

12. Oisin

Through rain and fog

I fought, nail and tooth,

And came at last to Tir na n Og,

The land of perpetual youth.

Three hundred years in truth

Were but three days there,

And when I returned again

(With a sprightly young mare)

I had stayed ten.

13. Portrait (Out of the Blue)

The picture on my shield,

As though washed away with tears,

Was faded and peeled –

It had been a thousand years!

Could it be that my lady was dead?

Could it be true?

But another portrait appeared in its stead,

Of even more beautiful hue,

Out of the blue.

14. Boadicea

But where were the forest vales?

Into the distance stretched miles of sand,

Like in the Arabian tales;

The green fields were a narrow band,

Everywhere else desolate wasteland.

I rode across the desert plain,

The like I had never seen,

And imagined what grief and pain

Must have befallen Boadicea queen.

15. Bard dance

From the bitter tears that fell

Upon the parchèd ground

There formed a bardic spell

That spread for miles around.

The grass sprang up lush and lean,

The strong trees pushed up hard,

And all decked in green

And spangle-starred,

Danced the magical bard.

16. Dan y Dŵr

By the shore

I found me a boat

Fast moored,

And setting it afloat,

Cast off across the moat.

Beneath the waters

That I troubled,

The memories of sons and daughters

Bubbled.

17. To go Beyond (II)

Down wafted the maiden’s song

From the castle on high.

The journey was long

And the years had slipped by;

Though it may wink, time never lies.

I climbed the grassy knoll

With flowers in my arms;

I heard a bell toll,

There, where she sleeps, ever safe from harm.