Monday Poetry- The Awakening of Dermuid

The Awakening of Dermuid [Diarmuid]

By Austin Clarke (From “The Vengeance of Finn.”)

In the sleepy forest where the bluebells Smouldered dimly through the night, Dermuid saw the leaves like glad green waters At daybreak flowing into light, And exultant from his love upspringing Strode with the sun upon the height.

Glittering on the hilltops

He saw the sunlit rain

Drift as around the spindle

A silver-threaded skein,

And the brown mist whitely breaking

Where arrowy torrents reached the plain.

A maddened moon

Leapt in his heart and whirled the crimson tide Of his blood until it sang aloud of battle Where the querns of dark death grind, Till it sang and scorned in pride Lovethe froth-pale blossom of the boglands That flutters on the waves of the wandering wind.Flower-quiet in the rush-strewn sheiling At the dawntime Grainne lay, While beneath the birch-topped roof the sunlight Groped upon its way And stooped above her sleeping white body With a wasp-yellow ray.

The hot breath of the day awoke her,

And wearied of its heat

She wandered out by the noisy elms

On the cool mossy peat,

Where the shadowed leaves like pecking linnets Nodded around her feet.

She leaned and saw in the pale-grey waters, By twisted hazel boughs, Her lips like heavy drooping poppies In a rich redness drowse, Then swallowlightly touched the ripples Until her wet lips were Burning as ripened rowan berries Through the white winter air.Lazily she lingered

Gazing so,

As the slender osiers

Where the waters flow,

As green twings of sally

Swaying to and fro.

Sleepy moths fluttered

In her dark eyes,

And her lips grew quieter

Than lullabies.

Swaying with the reedgrass

Over the stream

Lazily she lingered

Cradling a dream.


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