from Love songs from a dead tongue


 
 

6

Rag, patched on patch,
why would I blame you?
not one courtly hand
added craft to your stitch.

In Tara once
alongside Niall of Emain,
happily he honoured me:
I drank from his own cup.

In Limerick once
with loving Niall of Ailech,
my clothes spectacular
among the western chieftains.

When his people gathered
to test their foals for speed
I drank as they drank, wine
from fine horn cups.

Seven score women attended us
in these assemblies
as the race was settled
on the green course of my king.

I am a woman of Leinster,
I am a woman of Meath;
ask which land most dear to me:
no zone of those, but my true king's north.

Brambles snare me,
snarl my rags;
thorn no ally,
briar attacks,
                 rag.