Thursday Poem

Hero Sleeps

Blackberry sweet your little clustered head,
My little stranger son, my share of life,
Welcome here, and settle in my heart.
Welcome under the rafters of this house,
Morning star, come from afar.

What a boon is new blood!
See my small thulking bullman,
Head him off in the doorway,
Or wedge him in a tub – tight as a trout,
I declare! Each limb perfection,
Its beauty a gloss on strength –

Your colouring you took from Autumn,
And from the dark rose. You light
All yellows at your approach.
Look, Conor, our son,
Not made to our design but planned
By destinies above.

Come here till I hold you, my barley-chick darling.
Lamps are lighting as night draws in.
The red fox is prowling the road.
May no cat from the sea
Send him snapping towards you,
Who are the lighted candle of this house.

Enthroned on your sconce of gold,
As you sleep beneath my breast
My love is a wall around you –
Out there in the world
You are beyond my care.

What will you bring to protect you?
A charm? A talisman? A taboo?
‘Never trust the white,’
Is the prayer of your people by right.

As mothers must, I worry all angles,
Lost in thought, and then,
With a wooden spoon in your fist,
Hero moon flashing above you,
I see coming towards me,
The houndboy from Eamhain
Cúchulainn of the Feats.

by Máire Mhac an tSaoi
from The Miraculous Parish / An Paróiste Míorúilteach
O'Brien Press / Cló Iar-Chonnacht, Dublin, 2011