7:3: “Manannan”, by Liz Bourke

7:3: “Manannan”, by Liz Bourke

Starward-sailing god
of things underneath
the seas your heavens
son of Lear, were you not
swan-winged once?

No, that was another Lear
a different king
child-lost and grieving.
I misremember. The myths keep changing
and the years, turning
was there once a greening man
or was he burning? Had I forgot?
Or was it a dream,
Niamh tossing her golden hair,
fair Fionn by the salmon-stream? Ulster’s hound and Macha’s mare
found no fairer wake
among the moss
the myth was memory
and mine is lost. Charioteer, white-maned
and wave-riding
your steeds remain.


Liz Bourke was born in Dublin, Ireland, where she still resides. When not suffering from attacks of poetry and prose, she studies ancient history at Trinity College. “Manannan” will be her second published poem.

“Manannan” was inspired by the conjunction of too little sleep and too much thinking about Irish myths and how they grow, change and die.

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