By Isobel Warner
I am fascinated with the art of story telling and the power of words. I wanted to celebrate my heritage and the legacy of the woman who paved the way for liberty and love to flourish in my homeland; Eire. The heroes of the everyday and the legends of the past.
Ireland’s history is rich, beautiful and heavy. My poem explores the memory of trauma and turmoil being passed down through generations and how to cope with history. It celebrates the unwavering strength of the Irish people. My writing is an ode to my favourite writers; Wilde, Yeats, Gore-Booth and Heaney. My poem is a love letter to women.
Daughters Of Bríd
Green. With this pen I will dig deep.
The fertile soil meant to feed us, starved by the shadows cast across it
Burying half our green hearts in one painful plague.
A buried booty of starchy gold. The humble crop crippled, cursed.
Starved and twisted, the emerald fields are hungry
for nurture, pleading for the key to the cell.
We will not be a second land, an afterthought.
The wilderness in our souls flows deep in our veins like the roots of a tree.
Turning and turning the turf as we walk with bare feet
To pastures new, sowing the seeds of hope for those yet to come.
Dreams stamped out by their heavy boots, as we cry to ‘Tread softly!’
Protecting land that birthed us, dressed us in peat and cloth.
Filling our leaves with warnings of little green men and winged creatures.
The fairest of them the women of the sea, disguised, distinguished, free.
The silky selkie skins shed for a moment to be naked, then
Plunge back into the depths of the icy Irish sea.
A higher creature of legend, too delicate for greedy eyes.
This is no country for old men; this land is ours.
White. We are the nails in the board, a stage for you to play.
Names glorious names propped up, scratched down, imprinted in history
Carried on our backs, in our wombs and in our arms.
In the east, a fighter takes the title of wife inside a Kilmainham cell.
Widow within ten minutes.
In the west, tribes are graced with a warrior, a Pirate Queen.
Her stare silences the seven seas.
Chemical women basking in the Luna glow
Silver on the surface of our oldest ally, the moon.
A cross of reeds hung next to the horse shoes and the blessed water.
For we are the daughters of Brigid and above us she stands.
Her whispers on the Atlantic wind carry along the canals,
Sweeping the cool lakes, rustling the feathers of the wild swans.
Cutting the hands of our foes. Caressing the ears our friends.
In our native tongue, we sing.
An endless revolution, not a simple moment of revelation.
We stood and we still stand. We dance. We move.
Loaded pride struck across the page above our names like a bullet.
The foreign fada, a signpost to speech. We will show you how to get it right and
This time you will.
Gold. Gathered around like those ancient circles not to be crossed.
Handing out, sharing pieces of ourselves to prop up a fellow friend.
A responsibility to stoke the flames. The ever-burning fire
Lighting up our homes, our dreams, illuminated! Such a glow!
The final knell of death, punctuated by the cursed scream of a woman.
A terrible beauty in feminine form.
We always said we would have the last laugh.
Women wearing wild crowns of red flames
And shades of midnight, curling the stars into our hair.
Starlight in our eyes.
We have pushed our breast into the thorn for the beauty of
a single red rose for too long. Gifted to you.
A woman’s sacrifice echoes through the dark like a nightingale’s song.
We do not dare drop our luggage, not matter how far from home
We roam, we will never forget the things we have not seen.
We carry it well.
Heavy are our heads but hopeful are our hearts
In a land with no need for Kings, ruled by Queens.
You will still find us in the crib, in the classroom, on the stage.
In the bogs, immortalised. Mummified. Preserved.
Dazzling with our light in life and death.
Generation after generation, we burn in gold.