The Morrigan at War

Two handfuls of the blood of their kidneys:
That’s what I promised them,
Before the birth of the battle,
Nor did I fail to make good on my promise;
My hands were stained scarlet
well before the battle’s end,
the meat of many men in shreds under my talons,
and the skies black with my birds.
Ever around me were screams–
of pain
of terror
of woe:
Each that fell, I took his head,
hurled it into the heap,
my acorn-crop, my treasure trove,
and though many others on the field
took heads of their own,
my mountain was most mighty.
For feasting, there is the Dagda;
For learning and lore, Ogma;
For healing, call on Dian Cecht;
For cleverness, Manannan.
But for maiming, for mayhem, for murder,
call my name.
For none among Danu’s kin
know so much of the shedding of blood as I:
of weaponry against wights,
of bodies torn limb from limb,
of guts on the ground.
Mine are the ways of sword, of spear, of shield;
Mine are the ravens, ravenous, who rear their 
young on dead man’s eyes;
Mine are the howls of the wolves,
the whinnies of the horses, 
the eel’s sharp fangs.
And mine is the sight that sees through time,
showing me the woe of the world to come.
What I see is that I will have battlefield business
for ages yet,
Man and god alike will never cease to wage war,
exchanging blades for bullets and bombs,
and the legions of the dead
will only continue to expand;
the graves will grow, row on row,
and the two handsfuls of blood
that I took then
will become an overflowing ocean of red.

[Poet and novelist Jennifer Lawrence just released her first poetry collection, Listening For Their Voices, as well as two novels, Fire on the Mountain and Black Pinions. All three are available through Lulu.]

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