High summer may seem like an odd time to be thinking of St.Brigit, whose feast is after all on frosty 1st February. But since she took over the mantle of the Celtic goddess Brighid, she is a saint for all seasons and many eventualities. The main folklore about her involves her cloak, or mantle, which miraculously expanded to the point where she had enough good land from the King of Leinster to build her monastery in Kildare. The Poetry Daily poem references that piece of folklore.
On days the world is just too full of holes in the universe threatening to open like the polar ice caps I plain knit woolen squares.
I'm knitting a blanket as large as St. Brigit's mantle that got her enough to build her sanctuary. She did it large. She could share.
I'll knit the largest sofa throw, large enough to cover the whole globe, invite everyone to find their square, secret names encoded in yarn.
Some are menders. Some are weavers. Some have a talent for making holes. But we all need Brigit's blanket. She won't leave a soul out in the cold.
I finished making my brídeog (Biddy Doll or St. Brigid’s doll) yesterday. The festival of Brigid (or Brigit or Brighid or Bride) runs from 31st January to 2nd February and coincides with Imbolc, the ancient Celtic festival that heralds spring time. And the return of the goddess Brigid in her maiden form. And the Feast Day of St. Brigit, Abbess of Kildare, one of Ireland’s three national saints. What you need to know about me is that I celebrate the coming a springtime (even though the upcoming Wolf Moon is also known as the Snow or Ice Moon) with as much fervour as most people reserve for Christmas, Thanksgiving or Halloween. I prepare, decorate and bake. And if there is snow that is no bother. The point is that the days are getting much lighter. When you live in Ireland that is is something to celebrate. Winter is on the wane. Wey-hey! The light is returning!
So I have been considering the many associations of both the goddess Brigid and St. Brigit. They are both fire and water women. This year I am feeling all ‘watery’. So today’s Poetry Daily celebrates sacred springs and holy wells. Of which Ireland has many. The poem is an octet -eight lines of eight syllables each. Eight being the number of infinity, it seems to be suited to water.
I was seeking inspiration when I started the day feeling a bit blank as my page. But the patron saint of inspiration never runs dry of ideas. She is also the patron saint (matron saint?) of poets.
When a Well Runs Dry
What to do when the well runs dry? You dig a new one, so you do. Where's the cure gone when the well's dry? It flees into nearby tree. See the clouties tied, where all wishes vie? Wells may crumble, silt up, dry. Water stays holy, cannot die. Water will ever sanctify.
For those living outside of Ireland I will treat you to photos of crumbling wells, clouties and the shrines that surround many of them. All those pictured are within a ten mile radius of where I live. It’s limestone country. Springs are everywhere. And everywhere are sacred.