"On the Ring of Beara," and other poems

We are so pleased to share some of the poems that Maggie Jackson wrote during the Vignettes & Verses workshop this past June.



On the Ring of Beara


Looking west to the shining ocean,
the wind bathing my face,
sheep and lambs eyeing me,
islands hover on the horizon.

Scattered on the heather blanket,
gleaming studs of sunshine petals,
the healing flower of St John.

Against an azure skyscape,
Summer is painted here:
amethyst thyme,
coppery bracken,
curlews’ wings.

A place to stand
and sing.





On Visiting the ‘Hag of Beara’


I came close once before,
three years past, being
called by the rock,
and holding back.
Others told of visiting ‘her’,
animating the granite,
feeling her presence,
and I dare not draw near.

But now, with friends,
I approach the Hag,
unable to turn away
from her haunting gaze.

She guides my steps through the bracken,
easy to stumble here, and so, not greet her.
Easy to deny her power, to shield my ears
from the word she offers: ‘Release’.

A thickened carapace around my heart
cracks, crumbles and is dissolved by tears.
‘Release! – let go! – be healed!’
Now I can leave, having first come home.






(Dedicated to the ‘Hag of Beara'

The weight of prayers, heavy on my head,
centuries of hopes and worries laid upon me.
Shells, stones, flowers and coins,
the dragnet of loss, unspoken fears,
longings for endings or beginnings,
I carry them all on my lichen-crusted crown.

Ten thousand thousand years of footsteps
circling me, of arms embracing me,
soft tears falling daily on my brow.
I look and silently wait,
for as many years as it takes to
turn a heart of flesh to stone.
But sometimes, in my waiting,

there is laughter and dancing children,
wine-full lovers, reflections of
dragon-fly wings. There is music too,

fiddle, flute and harp, a woman singing,
a lark heralding sunrise and nightfall.

 I am eased by them all.

My smile is released to shine on the strand,
to sparkle on sea and mountain-side.

Ten thousand thousand years and tides,
the ebb and flow of lifetimes,
eternity decreased by the certainty

of my beloved’s return.


Maggie Jackson

June 25th 2016

Land and sea of the Ring of Beara

Land and sea of the Ring of Beara

Placard at the Hag of Beara, or An Chailleach Bhéarra in Irish

Placard at the Hag of Beara, or An Chailleach Bhéarra in Irish

Offerings left for the Hag of Beara   

Offerings left for the Hag of Beara