Cairbre Mac Beag

This was written for a contest on a role-playing site. I was urged by my Little Sister from my AS days to submit. I did so, and I am pleased to say that it won in its category. Submitted as the work of Beorn Beag, a Celtic Druid in Tara, some terms, especially Spain, have a different meaning in the context of the poem than it would in modern times.

        Cairbre Mac Beag

I sing a song of Cairbre, a king so wise,
Realizing the need for an heir
He put to shame far and wide the hares.
Many and diverse the offspring of his wife,
And he insists on calling them his.

Far and wide was Cairbre known,
His hospitality all swore was best!
In matters of wisdom, never was he best!
Thus did many come to seek his decision,
In matters just so great and wee small.

If the counsel of the Brehon is this,
And it sit not well with you, why then!
Make way to Cairbre, seek what he ken.
With sweet words, a glint or two…
He’ll see some wisdom the Druids missed.

All know of his wisdom, all know….
A king is blessed by the Gods, always right.
Himself will tell you ’tis divine sight
Given by the very Gods makes him so wise.
‘Tis surely the Gods’ great humor ’tis so.

“One” fault only hath Cairbre Mac Beag,
And that be the sound of his voice.
Start him speaking, and ere Bel has choice,
You’ll be in Spain ere Cairbre finishes,
Greeting Bel with great gratitude!

Where’s Beag’s well when you need it?
Cairbre Mac Beag most surely knows not,
For though he orate so long and hot,
As well call day night, and night day,
As try to understand Cairbre’s wisdom.

But hold! We be mere mortals, and Cairbre king!
Says not he the very Gods do make him wise?
Who amongst us, then, can claim so wise
As to tell a king such as Cairbre his wrong?
Truth, but who seeks Spain so heartily?

Alas, Beag! Cairbre Mac Beag he may be,
But from your well, never did he drink!
Now let us set such aside; eat and drink!
Enjoy his hospitality, or is it hers?
What mortal understands the king’s wisdom?

Let us light the fires of Bel, let Cairbre lead….
Through the bonfires let him lead the circle!
Mayhap this is the year of the cleansing miracle?
Surely the Druids will have pity on us mortals!
If not, for his speech there’s uisce beatha aplenty!

Bill B.


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