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01/02/2020 / Harry Browne

Riding The Wild Sea Horses Of Strandhill By Mort Murphy


This is written in the style of a mythical poem, told in the modern day.
Knocknarea is reputed to be the burial place of Queen Maeve, upon her horse.
Surfers, including big wave riders, come from all over the world to Strandhill and its Sligo environs
Riding The Wild Sea Horses Of Strandhill ©
By Mort Murphy
August 20th 2019

Storming sea horses race high
Up, up, pounding thunder into the sky
Roaring, snorting, strong is their sea foam
Masters of all, wherever they roam

Battering fearlessly at granite rocks night or day
Jumping o’er walled cliffs that stand in their way
No corral, no riders, fierce and free they be
No one tames these wild horses of the sea

One puny punter, with wet suit, surfboard
Is in Strandhill, to ride these horses he adored
But they with majestic, dismissive disdain
Toss the errant knave, he who lacks wisdom arcane

For no secret knowledge does he possess
Seeks not to learn how he they might bless
Stupidly wants only to tame using duress
And so cannot know of their loving caress

But the ancient night wind of the hill
Looks down upon his weary face, bleak with failure’s chill
Whispers low: ‘Get up to Knocknarea before the dawn
Go now, for this night’s dark veil is soon to be withdrawn

And there ask the ghostly guard of Queen Maeve’s grave
The language you are to speak to the sea horse waves
Don’t forget you agree to pay his eerie price
If you are to know the custodian’s archaic advice’

Rising up as if in a dream
His footsteps guided by a moonlight beam
Hastily he climbs o’er rock, through furze
Hair matted, clothes stickled with thistle burrs

All at once he is at the cairn
But his heart fails him, ahide in the fern
When lo comes a warrior voice from along side
‘Human, you tread upon sacred ground; you cannot hide

Speak if you will of your visit here
Why are you come to be so near
The resting place of Queen Maeve upon her horse
Silence will bring you but death in this fern and gorse’

‘I come only with hope in my heart
That you advise me and then I depart
For my heart so yearns to fulfil
Its desire to ride the sea horses of Strandhill’

‘Mortal man, those words from you I hide
Unless first you visit with their bride
Bring to Queen Maeve, here in her tomb
A gift fit for their queen, one of flowering broom’

Quaking, shaking he gathers as bid
Returns to the guardian, who remains hid
Calls out: ‘Sir, I know not the way
Take me to your queen before dawns the day’

Suddenly of that barrow he is within
There she greets him with a fleshless grin
Extends a bony hand for him to kiss
And receives his gift of flowers with ghostly bliss

Gracefully he bids her warm adieu
Then wondering what he is to do
When all at once to outside he returns
But there his despair roils and churns

For looking to the east he sees that dawn unfurls
Then he hears that voice and his distress uncurls

‘Speak you to the sea horse waves and say
That you met with Queen Maeve before dawn of day
You kissed her shrivelled hand in her royal tomb
And brought her the noble gift of flowering broom’
Willingly will you ride wild sea horses in full flight
Surfing on the lip of their foaming, roaring might’

One Comment

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  1. elainereardon / Feb 2 2020 3:53 pm

    Woohoo! Love this; Sharing with a few friends. So well done, great images; Thank you.

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