Thursday, April 03, 2008

Beacons At Bealtaine By Seamus Heaney

It's early to be blogging Beltane, but my wonderful circle of women held our planning meeting last night and, like the song that begged, "Bring me some peace when there's talk of war, I've got peace on my mind," all day today I've had Beltane on my mind. Not the least because this year, for the first time, my work responsibilities may have me out of town on Beltane. One of the prices of being a minority religion is that people plan things for your high holy days.

Beacons at Bealtaine
Phoenix Park, May Day, 2004

Uisce: water. And fionn: the water's clear.
But dip and find this Gaelic water Greek:
A phoenix flames upon fionn uisce here.

Strangers were barbaroi to the Greek ear.
Now let the heirs of all who could not speak
The language, whose ba-babbling was unclear,

Come with their gift of tongues past each frontier
And find the answering voices that they seek
As fionn and uisce answer phoenix here.

The May Day hills were burning, far and near,
When our land's first footers beached boats in the creek
In uisce, fionn, strange words that soon grew clear;

So on a day when newcomers appear
Let it be a homecoming and let us speak
The unstrange word, as it behoves us here,

Move lips, move minds and make new meanings flare
Like ancient beacons signalling, peak to peak,
From middle sea to north sea, shining clear
As phoenix flame upon fionn uisce here.

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