Deirdre’s Lament

Do you remember how I dreamed of this?
On the shores of Loch Ness, in the days of our bliss
I dreamed of a dove with mead in its mouth
Pursued by a hawk, red with blood from the south
And now you lie beautiful down in your grave
Between your two brothers, whom you couldn’t save

Naoise, oh Naoise my husband, my love
With soft spoken words and the eyes of a dove
Men will remember your sword of bright steel
But your wife will remember how you made her feel
On the shores of Loch Ness, in the days of our bliss
Before that dark night when I first dreamed of this

I was a fair maiden, the world was unknown
When first I espied you, your raven hair shone
And flew like the pennant when men go to war
To meet their sad fate on death’s lonely black shore
Your rode with your brothers, so gallant and brave
Now the three of you, lovely, lie down in one grave

Our story is strange, our story is long
A poet might tell it one day in a song
Might tell of my father, a harper they say
Who foresaw my sad fate and then sent me away
He foresaw how the dove with the mead in its mouth
Would be killed by the bloody red hawk from the south

He foresaw how my laughter and bonny bright smile
Would one day the King of all Ulster beguile
And Conor would send many men to their graves
That a kiss from these ruby red lips he might have
For my smile did the brave men of Ulster make war
And meet their sad fates on death’s lonely black shore

You were my fate, my fairest of fair
The finest of Ireland with raven black hair
You were my fate, and I was your weird
And this bloody black day is the day my Da feared
When the finest of Ireland is laid in his grave
Between his two brothers whom he couldn’t save

But you tried to save them, and that was your doom
Now you lie close between them, and yet there is room
I’ll fall down beside you and cross to the Isle
Where the dead men of Ulster may yet see me smile
And there I will find you and there we will kiss
As we kissed at Loch Ness in the days of our bliss

12 thoughts on “Deirdre’s Lament

  1. Your epic telling of an epic story within a constricting poetic form is deserving of the highest praise for both your labours and the result. Very well done.

    1. High praise indeed! Thank you very much 🙂 There’s a lot left unsaid but every retelling of a story has to make choices to fit the particular form. I’m quite happy with this.

  2. each word seemed to flow on the wind
    as I stood within the mist watching them unfold
    your thoughts you spun brought me to the
    moment so to speak…stunning and breathtaking Paul….
    I hope all is well….and I wish for you the best that is yet to Be
    Take Care…You Matter…

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