A chant of Names
- I've been sending this to some of my other lists, so thought I'd send it to
history: Late last thursday I was braiding my hair into a mulititude of
braids, to prepare for a demo. As I was braiding, the following started
rolling into my mind. Even after I finished, it was rolling in my mind.
So about 2 am Friday morning, I started writing it down - after I got the
first two names written, my Muse let me go to sleep, and I finished it when
I woke up....hope you enjoy it...and if it seems to be of a particular
style, please let me know - when the muse dictates, I but record....
Chant of names
Melandra of the Woods
Feb 21, 2003
Let the names be bound to me, as I bind my hair...
such names as we no longer recall
let them be remembered this once
let them stay alive and green in our memories
long, long years ago it was that they lived
long ago were their great deeds done
now all is dust - their bones, their swords, their great and mighty works
gone are the bards that sang their praises
their names are all but gone
Let the names be bound to me, as I bind my hair
in nine plaits is my hair bound, so let each plait bear a name
Let not Findabair be forgotten - Findabair, pale as moonlight,
golden haired as the sun.
Findabair, pawn of her mother, Maeve,
Findabair, who died a death beyond reckoning,
died for the falseness of her mother.
Let us not forget Maeve, queen,
Seeker of the Bull of Cuailgne.
Queen of Coughnaght,
wife of nine kings
She the one to whom young men
would go at night, and return from her
in the morning, aged.
It was through her pride and stubborness
that many of the flower of manhood
were cut off untimely.
Let us not forget the name of Maeve.
Let not the name of Finn mac Cumhal be forgotten.
Finn, whose thumb had the wisdom of all the earth and heavens
Finn, who gnawed upon his thumb to know what
occurred in the heavens and the earth.
And Let not the name of Oogna be forgotten.
Oogna, one of his wives, the wife of Finn, Finn of the wise thumb
For the wisdom of the thumb led him to consult
his wife Oogna in the time of his greatest fear,
and she saved him from disaster.
Let not the name of Macha be forgotten,
Macha, who became as a mortal,
wed with a mortal man, bore him children,
and when forced to race the kings horses,
so near childbirth, with none to aid her
or plead her cause, Macha of the curses,
Macha, who laid the curse of childbirth upon
the men of Ulster, for 9 generations,
that when enemies were apon them,
they should lie abed with childbirth pains
for five days.
Let us not forget the name of Macha
As I plait my hair, let us not forget the name of Emer
Emer, lovely, Emer, fair
Emer with the six gifts of good women -
the gift of beauty, the gift of voice
the gift of sweet speech, the gift of needlework
the gift of wisdom, the gift of chastity.
Emer, who spoke in riddles,
yet Cuchulain understood her riddles,
fulfilled her desires, and took her to wife.
let us not forget the riddles of Emer,
and the tasks Cuchulain undertook to
win the plains and noble yoke of Emer
Let us not forget Cuchulain,
boy warrior that he was,
divine and human mixed,
when the curse of Macha laid low
all the men of Ulster,
It was Cuchulain alone who
held back the armies of Maeve
until the curse should pass.
As my hair is plaited, let us not forget
the sorrows of Ireland.
let us not forget Derdriu of the sorrows.
Derdriu, prophesied at birth to bring
great beauty, and great sorrow to the kingdom
Derdriu, who gave up a king's love and kingdom
for the love of Naoise.
Derdriu, who at the death of her beloved,
would not allow a king's love and kingdom
to comfort her, but dashed herself upon a stone
after mourning a year for the loss of her love.
let us not forget the name of Derdriu.
And let us not forget the name of Conchobar.
Conchobar mac Nessa, King of Ulster,
who, for his love of Derdriu, broke his own pledge
and had her love slain,
which caused pain and hardship,
death and mourning, to the men
and women of Ulster.
Conchobar, who carried a brain ball in his head,
sewn into place with golden thread.
Conchobar, who became the first man
of his land to die for the white God, Christus.
let us not forget the name of Conchobar mac Nessa.
As I have nine plaits in my hair,
so I have named nine names.
Let not these names be forgotten.
and yet - as each plait has three strands,
and each strand has many hairs,
so there are many more names.
Names of great and mighty deeds,
Names for a telling of another day.
I charge you all - tell the old tales.
Let not their names be forgotten...