“Mystical Conversation,” Odilon Redon, circa 1896, WikiArt.

Part 2: Blesséd Burdens Revealed

By flickering hearth fires and candlelight
Mother Mary and I, Sister Muriel, talked
And prayed, our faces illuminated by
Radiance divine. Resting amongst Irish
Forests, she offered wisdomed words,
“You and your sister, Betrys, complement
Each other, follow differing faiths, can
Strive together to unite Irish clans, where
Darkness would divide.” “We rarely speak,”
I countered, “She is my opposite, except
in healing arts, herbal remedies, relieving
Fevers, flesh seared by fire-hot blades.”

In silence, Holy Mother and I understood,
Clans turning against each other, drunken
Slurs, arrows loosed, slashing swords,
Skirmishes ensued, combative Irish of
Pagan-Celtic ancestry, fiery cauldron poised
To over-boiling, widows and orphans made
Single night of rage. Courage mustered with
Deep breaths, I asked, “What was he like,
Your son, Christ? For you, what was he like?”
“Mother’s joy, blesséd burdens, amazement,
Sorrows,” Mary responded, mother’s intro-
Spection, memories thousand years past.

“Let us visit some great height, where we
May talk of my son in warmth of bright
Sunlight.” And so we trekked to Celtic hillfort,
Dozen decades weathered-abandoned, stone
Fortifications oft overgrown in flowers. “He
Grew in two ways,” Mary began, “quickening
In my womb, prophesies fulfilled, young man
In faith maturing, startling self-realization,
Mortal and divine.” Amongst vistas of Irish
Countryside, Mary shared her thoughts and
Feelings as passing clouds, complexities of
Life under Roman rule and siege.

“Woman at the Well,” Carl Bloch, WikiArt.

As if Mary’s mortal form weighed heavy, she
Rested on my woven blanket amongst hillside
Blooms. “Whilst I sleep, keep your dagger at
Your side,” as if she feared Celts, Romans,
Vulnerabilities of fleshed form. Unexpected
Occurred: with one hand, she held fast to me.
O! Heart-breaking love, all Mary felt as mother
Of Christ conveyed beyond words by touch.
Such tears I wept, trust realized, joys eclipsed
By sorrows, man of three decades. Upon this
Holy mount, I understood her life, her hopes,
By prayer, her blesséd burdens revealed.

Reflections of a more human Mary, Holy Mother, she shares confidences with
Sister Muriel until tiring in mortal form, sleeping upon Sister’s blanket on
hill-fort heights. What imagery, Christian and pagan, are expressed
here in circa 700 AD
Ireland? This series of poems concludes with Part 3.  

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