Oh, bright flame of the dawn, You,
who came before me and still breathe into the forge,
whisper into the ears of poets, long after my bones
have ground into dust upon the earth, I held your place
claimed it for my own—but what choice did I have?
Patrick had arrived, cast his fire atop the Hill of Slaine
brought my God to your people
But you were fading already, your son’s deceit
bleeding tradition onto the battlefield, the blood of matriarchal
death seeping into the soil to find underground waterways
You taught the women a way to mourn, cried your grief
into the air—weeping and shrieking from your loss, our
loss, onto the soul of this land
gave them power to lament—if that is any consolation
for your loss—the beginning of the end
for the Old Ways, I tried to honor you well, held your place
with dignity, performed miracles in salvation of the poor
and women in desperation, founded schools of art, metalwork,
illumination, some even say I rescued my God’s son,
wrapped the infant in my mantle and fled
beneath the shadows of Herrod’s slaughter
I saved a son, as you could not save your own
We kept your fires lit, guarded by women of worship
Are the details of who important? Our name travels across lands
spoken on lips in unison with end-of-winter’s hope
The people remember. Are we so different?
a Goddess and a Saint—one is to be revered, the other
devotes her life in reverence, perhaps…perhaps I am
but a glimmer of your existence, But still, I have tried
to honor you well, the fires of your creation remain lit, Your well calls
them home, and whether it is You they seek, or I,
the people still come to us to pray.
Anne Fricke is a poet, author, storyteller, podcast host, wife, and mother. She lives in far Northern California, writes daily, and travels when she can. Raised by a strong, outspoken, agnostic mother in the Bible Belt, Anne was gratefully able to find her way to the Divine Feminine as a young woman, with little baggage attached.You can read more of her work at annefricke.com.