“Parsifal,” Odilon Redon, 1891, WikiArt.

Ancient stone foundations forbidden, Norse
Children warned against visiting crumbling
Walls, ramparts lost to depths of black mire,
Legends of Celtic sacrifices, bodies buried,
Enemies killed by sword and axe, shattered
Skulls, crow-eaten skeletons dumped into
Viscous pits. On still nights, stench of death
Lingered, ghosts awakened, eternal whiteness
Haunting desolate moors, nearby grazing
Greens, hearth-fire stories attracting curiosity
Of shield-maiden Valdisa of northern Irish isles.

At first, Valdisa laid yarn-tied wildflowers on
Edge of foreboding stones, incantations uttered
In melodic strains, words from her heart welling,
Secrets kept concealed. Few nights, strange
Dreams plagued waking hours, memories drawn
To daylight, stone-encircled hill forts, sail-rigged
Boats, nomadic roaming clans, thatch-roofed
Stone-houses similar to Viking clans. Valdisa
Felt tug of archaic pagan rituals, stone circles,
Burial mounds, child nursing at her breast,
Life amongst stone ruins she had known before.

“I am Dowtha,” Valdisa whispered at edge of
Black mire. “Gus an dorchadas tha mi air
Chall.“* Valdisa sang aloud, language lost
to distant past. “It is here I lived and died.”
Images of circular stone-carved patterns,
Cascading arcing lines chiseled in Valdisa’s
Soul-marrow, her hand-woven Norse skirt
And cape to ground dropped, dancing nude
At misty crumbling walls, memories of
Torch-lit fires, Valdisa’s mind turned upon
Itself, thousand, thousand years.

“Woman with Flowers,” Odilon Redon, WikiArt.

Arising tarry pool, macabre form emerged,
Decayed face and torso, wraith from dark
Underworld, memory-screams of death,
Skin-hanging, arms for Valdisa reaching,
Hands with fingers lost. Soul-light decades
Doused. “I am Dowtha,” words belched
Forth. “Lo! It is here I lived and died, lost
From my reincarnated self.” Stumbling
Valdisa, safety took of walls, dawning
Realization. Dowtha’s soul Valdisa received,
Rustic rites, spiritual reunion, separated
Part of self from tarry pits restored.

* Gaelic: “To darkness I am lost.”  

Poem of self-realization, time-dark Celtic ceremony and ritual
converging with Norse habitation of northern Ireland isles. 

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