Where poetic voices originate is a curious question, with potentially as many answers as poets (writers) themselves. Lest they vanish into aether, I usually do not dissect these voices. Many are transient, some enduring, reappearing as other characters, relating their life-stories along Greek mountains or shorelines, Greenland, or farms and forests of circa 6th century Ireland. When enigmatic character “Sister Muriel” emerged, I did not anticipate how she would touch many readers, admirers and detractors alike.
With nearly every poem, I include a brief biography of Sister Muriel, so that readers will clearly understand she is a character of historical fiction – and that she is not me. I am not Sister Muriel. Why do I stress this? Because with nearly every posting, I have received prayer requests and questions regarding what is best described as “personal life trials” and “concerns of faith.” Whilst a good listener, I’m not a faith or life counselor; nevertheless, I responded as I could, soon realizing readers of this poetry extended well beyond twitter followers.
Who is Sister Muriel? To answer this question required reading research, documentaries, and attempting to distill Irish historical and archaeological evidence from Celtic habitation to early Christian influences. Within scope of this rich history and culture, I gleaned partial “mosaic” of those mercurial decades of 6th and 7th century Ireland under three primary influences: Druid or pagan, emerging Norse invaders, and Christian. Thus is the tumultuous setting of Sister Muriel’s poetry, time-ravaged forces, cold summers and corresponding episodes of wide-spread disease.
Once known as Bryna, Sister Muriel received Christophany as a teenager, dedicating her life to healing sick and injured. At times, she struggles with her faith, her encounters with Druids, and relates her experiences, passions, and spiritual journey through poetry. Trying times, the world is often too much with her. Her mystical poetry is augmented with paintings by Odilon Redon and Henri Martin on WikiArt.
Interestingly, Sister Muriel has detractors, not persons willing to correct errors in historical details of Ireland, but those who apparently dismiss her even in hisfic context. Yet, this strengthened her voice and beliefs, enabling her to face her struggles in two multi-part poems, set in Ireland, Faroe Islands, and Iceland. Alas! Places poetry takes us, readers, writers, and critics. Thanks for reading this glimpse into Sister Muriel’s fictional life and for following on twitter. FH
Link to collection of Sister Muriel poetry: