Saturday, 31 January 2015

The Vision of Devna Mac Ool

Twixt boyhood and manhood,
A beauty came
To Devna in a dream.

This is the song she sang:
"Be at peace, my son.
Let your heart be filled with joy."

"Who are you?" he said, and she,
"I am your mother, Murna,
And I love you."

He said to his aunts,
Who had reared him,
"I must go to my mother."

His aunts were wise.
They did not say,
"O no, you cannot go;"

But said, "Of course;
But first grow strong
To stand against your foes."

"You enemies are many.
You must learn to be
Both wily and strong."

"They will attack you both
From behind and front;
Learn to take on two as one."

For several more years,
They taught him the arts of war;
To make weapons from sticks and stones

And tooth and bone and horn;
Spears from ash and willow,
And blades from sharpened blackthorn.

To live off fruits of the forest;
To wrestle a stag to the ground;
Corral a hare in a field

By running rings around it;
Make himself invisible
Or jump into a tree.

And, furthermore,
They schooled him
In the wiles and ways of warriors.

At last, full of adult strength,
He said to his minders,
"It is time I left."

"Remember, dear boy," said Lee,
"Your mother does not know your name,
For she gave you none."

"What name have I
From my father?"
Asked Devna.

"Your father gave you none,"
Was the reply.
"Then I have no name," said Devna,

For names are given
By one's father,
Or, if none such, one's mother.

"May your road bring you success,"
They said, as he turned his face
Towards Kerry and his mother.

Reaching that kingdom,
He sent word that he was there,
But the queen sent back reply:

"I have no son
But those here with me."
He sent word:

"I am the son of Ool,"
And she sent back reply:
"I will not see you;

I disowned you at birth;
I Left you by your father's corpse;
You are dead to me."

Devna was sick to the heart,
A heart empty of joy.
Soon he realised

It was not his earthly mother
In the dream, but
His heavenly mother.

He threw his spears at an oak
And shouted his anger to the stars
And roamed in wild rage around Ireland,

Until, at last, his anger cooled
Into a quiet determination
To reclaim his father's crown.


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