I heard a voice that called me to the mountains
Last night when darkness dropped across the sea,
And crimson fire sprayed from the twilight fountains
Fell over me.
So west I went, and up across the Moanees
To where the old Cairn stands among the ling,
And there, crouched low among the sheep and conies,
I heard soft footsteps all about me going;
In the deep sky the moon’s bright sickle shined
And faery lights across the hills were blowing
Blue in the wind.
And to my ears came now the lilt of laughter,
And now the echo of voices swept along
By some light wind from far away, and after
An ancient song.
And then one came from westward swift and splendid,
Circled with light, his eyes a leaping flame;
And all the wandering faery voices blended
To shout his name.
The shining of the sea about him drifted,
I heard the faery shout “Mannanan!” ring
High in the air, and all my heart was lifted
To greet the King.
Round him grey mist swept over hill and garey,
And in the mist there burned a whirling fire
Crowded with all the shining host of faery;
And, circling higher,
A flock of seabirds from the faery ocean
Winnowed the air with swift, tumultuous wings;
White as blown spray, they climbed with fluttering motion
In flashing rings.
Then cried the King: “This land is mine! O never
Shall strangers win it from the guarding waves;
The untamed tides shall chant my name for ever
Through secret caves.
“My people once were wrapped in mists of glory,
About them ever the fires eternal shone;
Now from their pain-dark souls the lights of story
Fade and are gone.
“Yet shall they turn again, and the old lights waken –
Even now the dark age passes; radiant gleams
Light through their sleep, and many a soul is shaken
By mighty dreams.”
He ceased, and all the distant stars came bending
About him in the air like glittering swords,
The chanting of their myriad voices blending
In crashing chords.
And from the host pealed forth an answer glorious:
“Yet on this land the ancient light shall shine;
Yet shall its old proud spirit rise victorious –
King, it is thine!”
Singing, they passed away in stately order
Out to the shining spaces of the sea,
Down the long glen that veils the water’s border
With rock and tree.
The hills grew dark and quiet, but still there lingered
The after-radiance of that glorious light;
And still the stars dropped gladness, gentle-fingered
Through the blue night.
And in my heart the ancient fire was burning,
For through the years of sorrow dark and long
I saw the weary soul of Mann returning
To youth and song.
moaney/moanee = turbary/bog
conies = rabbits
(source: from Mychurachan by Mona Douglas (1917); artwork unknown (wallpaper))