“Sunny Day in Wood,” Ivan Shishkin, 1891, WikiArt.

Part 1: Twin Sisters Glade Meeting

We acknowledged each other across sunlit
Irish glade, druid priestess nodding to me
Sister Muriel. Whilst we followed different
Religions, we bore similar likeness, except
Her hair was braided, adorned with shells
And beads. We practiced healing arts, teas
And potions, both favouring willow bark
Extractions, salves, wound incising blades,
Metal tools hot-glowing, cauterizing flame.

Secrets shared, we met at sacred stones,
Customs of warring chieftains, disputes
Negotiated without bloodshed, daggers
And sacred items placed on sunny stone,
They talked as common men, without rank
Or clan, wrangling discord into agreements.
Thus, Betrys and I so met, knives, cross of
Christ, relics of druidism we surrendered
Twin sisters, Betrys and Byrna.

Yes, Betrys is my estranged twin sister, in
Angered frustration she berated me, why
I left my family. Tearful explanation, vision
Of Christ received on wooded path, faith
And life-changing, Sister Muriel thus I
Became, hooded cloak, walking staff with
Cross fixed atop, healing as druid pagan
But in name of Christ, teachings outside
Emerging church, cloistered monks, I
Ministered across Irish farms and forests.

Betrys delved deeper into pagan faith, high
Priestess she became, conjurer of ancient
Forces, performing magic spells. “What do
You believe in?” she asked, eyes vindictive.
“Christ the Savior and Holy Mother Mary,
Sacraments and miracles.” I replied, her
Eyes glancing at my metal cross, sister’s
Palpable disdain. “Close kindred I feel to
Mary,” I offered. “Her presence felt when
Tending to sick and injured, by her inter-
Cession, my prayers heard, lives saved.”

“Flower Girl,” Nicolae Vermont, WikiArt.

Betrys was my mirror, not an opposite but
Complement of myself, attuned to divine.
She listened, attempted to understand,
From ancient forces of her religion, one I
Once followed, Betrys’ view of life was
Divergent, fates governed by host of gods,
Goddesses, beliefs migrating from caves
Of Gaul, deific trees, streams, mountains,
Forces old as Celtic standing stones.

In this two-part poem, Sister Muriel (Byrna) and her twin sister, Betrys, have been estranged for several years. In Part 2, we will learn more about Betrys. For more on hisfic poetic character, Sister Muriel, see this blog post link: http://www.oceanic-visions.com/index.php/sister-muriel-poetic-character/ 

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