Issue Ten - October 2006

The Winter Wren

by Molly Swan-Sheeran

The medusan snarls of bull kelp
seem to writhe on the beach
where a southerly flung them ashore.
In the fading light
their golden brown lengths
twist around each other
like an ancient Celtic design.
My eyes squint as the last sunshine
glints off the twill-woven sea.
Among the kelp the winter wren
flicks and picks at a wealth of bugs
Its brave upturned tail
and soft umber feathers
tell a simple story.
On Saint Bridget's Day
if a wren enters your house
it portends either a death in the family
or having a priest to dinner.
Generations of Irishmen
have scurried to ask the priest to dinner.
And so the happy wren
ensures the clergy
a hearty meal
while following its nature
to find a sheltered spot to nest.
Before the church came.
it was the Day of Bridget, the Triple Goddess.
The dinner guest
might have been a Druid,
a poet, or a smith.
Our spirits cleave
to the simple continuity
of birds.

©Molly Swan-Sheeran