Bad Dream

Niggling gnawing gnats
That bite and suck

On confidence and self assurance

Taking away your 
“Doing the right thing”

Gobbling up your 
“All for the best”

Morning shrieks that crumble

All defences; walls and banks

And rushing through the

Black and wet

Is thankless

Gnawing niggling gnats

That bite and sting

And crack the fragile frame of
 “Hope it will be ok”
And perforate the skin of
 “I really thought…”

No really, we all did.

So swat that gnat and spray

The anti venom

Of “I did my best”

And if you hold yourself to account

Then yes, I guess you did.

Copyright Mabh Savage 2012 All Rights Reserved


I’ve written and sung about being motivated, keeping the nose to the grindstone, and being true to one’s goals and desires. Today however, I’m happy to not push myself. I didn’t sleep well. Simple tasks are tricky. I curdled mustard sauce and was fooled by a pink pheasant. I stalled the car and forgot how to change gear. I forgot a friend’s birthday. I miscalculated funds and budgets and generally got myself into a bit of a tizzy. So this evening, I’m giving myself a break. I’m permitting myself an extension, and my goal is set by next weekend, not tonight. After all, I’ve only got myself to answer to. I hope I don’t get me into trouble!

The Baker

Doughy warmth and rising
Yeasty goodness drifting
Longingly through the house
Luring family back
From their endeavours
To the kitchen
Asking what it is
What’s that smell
Home and love
And dreams of full bellies
Time taken, effort,
Achievement and completion
Some just starting,
Some still cooking
Apron hung as cup of tea
By another’s hand finally
Falls into yours.


Remember the dogs in Up? Squirrel! That’s what I feel like this week. Too many distractions, but too much predilection to be distracted. I feel like I’m trying to focus on the things that matter, but I also feel like I’m looking at a picture where something always draws your eye away- to a corner or to a shiny object- away from anything but what the artist really wanted you to be paying attention to. So am I blaming the artist of my life? And who is that, pray? Oh yes, that would be me. Not that I’m arrogant enough to think I am an island, unaffected by the tides of others, but ultimately, I decide what’s going on in my life. If I decide that something is someone else’s fault, then it’s up to me to hold them accountable. If someone makes me happy, it’s up to me to show my appreciation. I paint the canvas of my life with the brush strokes of action and reaction. But this week, the action palette has been empty, scraped clean, and reaction the only acrylic at hand. Time to clean the brushes and think again.


Orange streaking wonder like
Across the boards of blue
Calling unto you
Twanging every string
In the guitar of your soul
Alto cumulus
Herring backed and tickled pink
Perfect little lines
Framing the moon:
An absurdly gorgeous half
Smooth and sharply cut
A wedge of light
The opener
Before the main event.
The globe of yellow honey
Melting on the marshmallows
Of soft and drowsy clouds
Still awakening,
And gently gliding aside
Until gentle no more
The show hits the floor
The light, the bright, the glory ending night;

The Power of Prophecy

Throughout the Celtic legends there are references to prophecies, futures foretold and promises made by victors and losers alike. One of the most famous prophecies by the Morrigan is told at the end of Cath Maige Tuired, the great battle that Lugh wins against the Fomorians, and is conflicting at best. Elizabeth Gray’s translation tells us that the first section prophecies a time of fullness and peace, but then the Morrigan goes on to foretell doom, betrayal, and the end of the world. In Tain Bo Cualnge (translation Cecille O’Rahilly, 1976), Queen Medb demands a poetess to divine the fate of her army in the upcoming battle against the Ulster men. The prophetess does as she is told but Medb is not happy, as she discovers, although she does not believe it, that her army will be greatly reduced by the power of one young man. Prophecy of this kind is indeed a double edged sword; sometimes simply hearing the prophecy can be the spark that makes it come true, and sometimes doing everything one can to avoid the outcome of the prophecy can cut the very rut that holds the wheels of fate. Medb, in a way, does exactly what she should do which is to ignore the prophecy and carry on towards the battle field, but in this case the prophecy is not self-fulfilling, and Cu Chulainn is indeed the young lad that will see the host blood stained and red. So what should Medb have done? Taken her army home? What do we do, when faced with the promise of failure? Do we give up? Or do we fight in the face of adversity? Well, each of us will have our own answer for that, and I for one know there have been times when I know that continuing to fight is not the best course of action, and indeed sometimes backing down, though it may hurt the pride and ego, will be less painful in the long run.

(c) 2012, excerpt from A Modern Celt, Mabh Savage

Arrows in the concrete

Sometimes things line up in ways you don’t expect. Sometime what you are looking for has been there all the time, hidden in some way, sometimes by your own actions.
Sometimes you look for ages then two come along at once! Sometimes we see signs and try and force them to line up when there is no pattern at all; but perhaps the fact that we are looking for signs at all is a sign in itself that we should pause and look inwards, to discover what it really is that we are missing. What burden is causing us to see arrows in the concrete and guidance in the grain of wood? Is that a face you see over your shoulder in the mirror? Maybe. But even if not, or even if it is your own face: take note. You are seeing these things because you need to. Just because a sign doesn’t come from a higher power or an external force does not lessen its import. You are sometimes your own greatest mentor. Don’t forget to listen, and to see the signs you send yourself.


Miss it once
Look up
Two jackdaws in a sycamore tree
One edged along the main branch
Blinking down at me in curiosity
Sharing the autumn sun
All three cloaked against the autumn wind
The two birds aren’t hunting
Or foraging
Simply resting and being;
At the most, marking their territory:
Enjoying their existence
Reminding me not to feel guilty
About doing the same.

Spirituality or Practicality?

The Romans are said to have been astonished by the range of gods and spirits the Celtic peoples honoured, yet the Celts were feared for their prowess in war, helped mightily by their ability to travel far across land and sea. So they were a practical people, who used their stories and legends as a way to record their exploits and indeed I suppose spread fear and wonder at their apparently supernatural existence. Knowing the world, and how it turned, and how to live well in it whether through winter or summer, was a crucial part of this. For me, feeling the world turn around you is a combination of both spirituality and practicality; having a balance between appreciating what’s there and where it’s taking you, is key. Being closer to the earth, how it works, how things grow, helps us understand that we have a responsibility towards it; it’s not ours, but we are a part of it, and because we take so much from it, we really have to give something back! I think some people find conflict between following a pagan path and being part of modern society. Many of us lay claim to a harmony with nature and the earth, then drive miles and miles to get to some gathering or other, pumping out pollutants and notching up that ever present carbon footprint! Yet I think it’s important to remember that everything is about balance, using what you have, when you have to, and ensuring that any “bad” behaviour is offset in some way. Many people I know drive miles to get to farms and campsites for various events, yet most of those people are also deeply involved in the conservation of the area, the promotion of living spaces for local wildlife and the prevention of the destruction of natural habitats for the creatures that already reside there. So there is no spurning of modern society and little hypocrisy, just a genuine desire to better understand the natural world, become a part of it rather than just living of it, and perhaps get a glimpse of life as it is without the trample of busy human feet.

excerpt from A Modern Celt (c) 2012


The sun rises; the sun sets.

It is another day.

Another path to tread,

To leave footprints in the dirt.

Or to pass unnoticed.

Counting only seconds

Only minutes

Held not within the turn of the earth

But trapped within the turn of the clock.

When sirens speak

To start your day

With clamour abhorrent

While you still lay

Clinging to dreams and wishes and fear;

Then rise and wake and listen.

Not because the alarm tells you to;

Not because it is routine;

Not because you follow another

But simply so at the end of another day

You may turn behind

And see with pride

The footprints left firmly marked

Where you have walked.


inspired by dear friends (c) 2012