Many moons ago / in a land of laws / now lost to time /when the goddess chose to favour a king / they saw that together / their land gave crops /their people were victorious / and all the land’s kingdoms prospered / The kings swore loyalty and protection / in return for Sovereignty’s gifts /A mutual return / a shared goal / a harmony ensuring Eire never a Wasteland became/
It was at this time / a little girl found herself suddenly medium-sized / Perhaps it was something she ate / but somehow the world behaved differently now / full of wolfish riddles she was expected to solve / just because she had become medium-sized overnight / It seemed accepted by all but Brigit herself / that some epiphanic / earth-shaking new insight / should be conjured up automatically / alongside her new proportions /Which it was not/
She climbed no trees today / play was withdrawn / No one called her Brigit anymore / she was only Aisling now / And tomorrow / why /they might call her Mother Danu / or Caelleach the Hag? / She had seen it happen before/ to be sure/
Cowed and made meek by such expectations / she crept away from the Aonghus Bog / which threatened to enmesh her in its gory treacle / all the while hunched and shrinking herself under her red shroud / – too bright a hue to suit her yet – / to the shore / where she muffled her voice / under the sea / with the selkies / and her cries mingled unheard / beneath the call of the gulls above / She longed to join in their freedoms / to play in dancing dives and leaps / as their sounds stayed proud and large / behind roaring wind and water / During the wars / The Washer Women were seen / seeping these waters / with the battle blood of soldiers’ garments / and here Brigit’s red cloaks / swirled in the foam / much the same / It was in this spot / that at last / Sovereignty stood tall / to full height / with arms stretched out / to full span / so the wind / lifted her cloak like wings / and she added her irrepressible screams / to her land’s silent cacophony
Sarra Culleno is widely published, writing fiction and poetry for publication, performance, print, audiodramas, podcasts and radio. She was longlisted for the Cinnamon Press Pamphlet Prize, for Nightingale and Sparrow’s Full Collections 2020, and nominated for Best of the Net 2020 by iambapoet. Sarra is a frequent contributor to Fevers of the Mind, and to Alternative Stories and Fake Realities. She co-hosts Write Out Loud at Waterside Arts and performs as both guest and featured poet at numerous literary festivals. Sarra's book, 'Bonds: A Short Story Collection' is forthcoming in November 2021, published by Caab Publishing.