South Barrule

Article text
South Barrule
On the summit of his ancient stronghold,
South Barrule Mountain, the god Manannan
yet dwells invisible to mortal eyes....

The land rises to meet the sky, when I renew my pledge
to Manannan Mac Lir, my humble bundle of green rushes,
for letting me live, dream and write on his holy isle.

This Midsummer Night’s day, let me place this bundle
at the foot of Barrule and climb the lofty summit
of the mountain, where he dwells invisible to mortal eyes.

Avowing your fealty to Manannan in all the heavens above
and the earth below, in occasional shades of amber,
frankincense and myrrh you pledge your flowing palette

to that wizard chief – seven times in seven shades you paint.
In incantatory rhythm: gold and ochre, fire and air, earth
and water, fortunes made and dragons met. Faery music plays

on your enchanted chroma for the wizard king and his beloved
Fand, strewing the mountain path with analogous colours
of the earth that drain your muse of all his demesne shades.

Subtle strokes bind your landscape to old laws, sage wisdom
and bones of time that renew themselves on large draughts
of moon that waxes and wanes, out of the purlieus of your

pictorial frame. Your canvas, a mystic tool to launch the behest
of Gods into the eyes of men, the mountain itself, an altar piece
to that Celtic spirit. Do I see Mac Lir himself, rising to meet

the sky, or is it my reading of your linear perspective,
lacquering the summit of my thoughts with empyrean cloud?
Do I hear Enbarr, of flowing mane, blithely neighing in granite,

hues of grey tossed around the west? Do I smell the meditating
green sea hiding behind the heights of Barrule? In the grissailed
skies, a crane, the totem bird takes invisible wing...

The quote at the beginning of the poem is from Chapter 1, “The Living Fairy Faith,” from the book, The Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries, by W.Y. Evans-Wentz (1911)
Barrule – translated as Summit from Manx Gaelic.
Enbarr – Manannan’s horse
Fand – Manannan’s wife
{According to Manx Myth, Manannan resides in South Barrule and every Midsummer’s day, Manannan is honoured with a bundle of rushes by Manxmen. Acknowledging}