Recently, I had the pleasure of welcoming one of my five brothers to Bealtaine Cottage.
Felim had visited very briefly once before, some years back, but this visit was different…something here, on this sacred little piece of Ireland, connected with him.
The energy that thrives here and the sheer joy of the living Mother Nature around him, touched his soul.
Felim spoke little about his feelings at the time, but this week I received a poem he wrote, inspired by Bealtaine Cottage.
I have decided to share it with you, for it truly expresses an awakening deep in the heart of one who now “gets it!”
Here it is…
A bruised and battered Mother Earth,
Driven to despair by the dearth
Of man’s ignorance of her needs,
Has found a nursery for her seeds
In the soil of this marshy slope.
Here she flourishes in hope-
In this arboreous pottage
Known as Bealtaine Cottage.
Three acres of managed landscape
Has reversed the ruminant rape
Of her natural rotation,
Restoring her to propagation,
Awarding her the well-earned fame
Which we once granted to her name.
Now a nurturing Mother Earth
Displays the grandeur of her worth:
A forest of young varied trees
Offer feasting to hungry bees;
Small seeds imported from distant shores
Grow to saplings, their hopeful spores
Pollinated, sowing new birth
Within the womb of Mother Earth.
Their young branches shiver and shake
As birds alight, eager to make
Their own claim to the budding feast-
A bounty that will never cease.
At dawn each day, this feathered throng
Praise the earth with angel-song.
And what about the Water Sprite,
Her sluggish flow a sorry plight?
Her new dug channels’ sparkling flow
Take her to the ponds below,
To spread her silt and rest awhile
Then disappear beneath the stile.
The ponds replace a former bog
And now play host to speckled frog,
While safe beneath the pond-weeds’ root
Swims a little crested newt.
A passing heron stops for tea,
(The food here, after all, is free.)
And willows of all shapes abound
They thrive on such well-watered ground.
At Bealtaine there is a wealth
Of Mother Earth restored to health.
She shows her true vitality
All over this locality.
She integrates her plants and trees
With cuckoos, wrens and bumble bees;
While Water Sprite, once so random,
Now flows along with her in tandem:
And all because a loving hand
Was laid upon this stretch of land;
A hand with skill to recognise
That Mother Earth is strong and wise;
And if allowed, she will restore
Her bounty to our slopes once more.
“Bealtaine Cottage” by Felim O’Neill.
Composed on the evening of my return from two days at Bealtaine Cottage.