Faery Hammocks

I am emerging slowly from a nine-day deep dive into what has been called “breathing in Ireland”. I’m with a group of seventeen women, two of them our soul guides. We have been exploring what we need for renewal that we might touch here in this ancient soulful land.  We’ve done it by breathing, writing, walking, sitting, talking, feeling old stones, drinking hot whiskey, and by taking in the silence.

I thought I might share a few of my reflections and some of my poetry. I am feeling somewhat shy because it has been mostly an internal experience. But that is what Ireland summons in us, something deep within that bubbles up to disturb our complacency and haunt our thoughts. We are nudged by the ghosts of the ages to make the most of ourselves, to dig deep into our wells of remembrance for what we may have discarded that is important to us now.

We began with Yeats, of course, as Ireland’s treasured poet. We read his work, heard stories of his life and his muses, visited his grave and places he wrote about. I have never studied Yeats so it was all new to me, and I love the way he captures the deep soul of the land, the natural world and the silence. I have had “I shall arise and go now…” in my head all week. And perhaps not surprisingly, in our group’s writing, we have turned to poetry, inspired by Yeats and his flowing verse.

Here’s one of mine about the mystery and surprise that await us if we are open to it. It is written about the short walk from the main building of Ard Nahoo where we stayed to the little cabin where six of us shared very close quarters. “Faery hammocks” is the name we gave the intricate delicate spider webs that hung from the tightly packed ferns and ivy along the path. We thought they would make the most perfect little beds for the faeries.

Faery Hammocks

Out among the faery hammocks
When the day is come and gone
I walk the narrow pathway
That takes me to my home.

 I have my little flashlight
To show the way ahead
And just by chance I shine it
On the ferns instead.

 And there, what wonder, what delight!
A host of emeralds glimmer bright,
I see the faeries, smiling lurk
Ivy leaf gems their playful work.

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