Sean-Heather K. McGraw (Colours of Love and Barriers)

Sean-Heather K. McGraw
Sean-Heather K. McGraw is a poet, musician, historian, lecturer and did indeed study for an Irish Studies MA degree in Belfast, Northern Ireland, a long time ago. She’s worked in libraries, museums, and universities. My small parrot, stands on my shoulder when I write, though unlike Poe’s Raven, says, “Always More!” (Or at least that is what it sounds like to me.) If you like this poem please let me know at drseanheathermcgraw@gmail.com. 

Lebor Gabála Érenn      
  ᚛ᚂᚓᚁᚑᚏ ᚌᚐᚁᚐᚂᚐ ᚓᚏᚓᚅᚅ᚜
(The Book of the Invasions of Ireland)

Darkening skies overcloak me, a hood of rain overbreaks me, 
as I stand on a cliff overlooking the cold, hungry sea.
The waves are the rage of the dragon, his wet breath a legion of arrows.
His giant black wings overspread before my face, 
And my cloak mourns in the wind, making my white bones to narrow.

I met La Belle Dame Sans Merci many days ago, standing beside the rows of Fiction – Fantasy.
We talked of aching heroes and lovers, the journeys of quests and the witches’ woods. 
She promised we would talk again so I would show her the shelves and valleys of mythic poetry.
My work over I walked through the city centre to my university dormitory.
I read Lebor Gabála Érenn, the old Book of the Taking of Ireland, invasions, magic, hidden foods.

Another day at the Library, and my La Belle Dame forgave my Protestant sounds so raw. 
She told of her raising, with saints and monks and all, St. Patrick who made the serpents leave
And the heroes she knew to love, the quests they’d marched upon, to defy government’s law.
The families starved and ‘prisoned, the foreign men who took all wealth, the raven’s caw.
My heart was sore invaded, why was there such division, an army was not so grieved. 

The caves of Antrim and the Giant’s Causeway, I often went to hear, the magic voices inside,
The quiet mystic’s tears, and as I watched the shadows,
Darkening skies overcloak me, a hood of rain overbreaks me, 
as I stand on a cliff overlooking the cold, hungry sea.
The waves are the rage of the dragon, his wet breath a legion of arrows.
His giant black wings overspread before my face, 
And my cloak mourns in the wind, making my white bones to narrow.

I almost forgot that I too was hidden. My Beauty knew my religion, and that was bad enough,
but she couldn’t see who I really was, like the bars on the windows of the library, I was the least 
and my soul was barred, for if she knew I was no “he,” would her love become rock-rough?
The only club in the city for strange beasts like me, was also barred, against the local Toughs.
I wanted all the magic of those days with my Beauty to be forever, but I knew I was the Beast.
    
And yet she loved my wit and strength and honor, a knight of nobility, she said,
My magic charm was working, my hero’s journey almost free,
She never knew a dragon to be so gentle-warm, my fire so orange-green-white-red.
But one grim night a blast was heard, Molotov fires burned so high,
I ran through the riot, my heart afraid, the wall between sides drenched, 
My magic overthrown it seems, for the Beast had got her anyway, I saw La Belle dead. 
I never told her who I was, would she have loved me still, now that could never be. 

The Caves of Antrim and the Giant’s Causeway, those magic voices loud,
Darkening skies overcloak me, a hood of rain overbreaks me, 
as I stand on a cliff overlooking the cold, hungry sea.
The waves are the rage of the dragon, wet breath a legion of arrows.
My giant black wings overspread before across the sky, 
And I mourn in the wind, making my white bones a dark barrow.


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