The Alchemist

Daylight gave up her gold.
A sliver eye silver moon
hung above the travelers’ heads,
a lone opal crescent amongst
firefly diamonds twinkling
tiny tinkling glee inside
an inky river of prayers.

Babyface saw
a wild persimmon glow
in the distance. His strides
became wide mouths, full lips
spread to leak laughter under his feet.
Then he ran, writing red ruis lines
into this emerald earth tablet.

Aanteekwa watched his
brown curly mantle of hair
bounce upon the back of
his neck, jumping in time
to the rhythm and rhyme
of his running.
She thought it queer,

but followed him anyway
into the heaviness of smoke
born of fire; its ashen haze
circled the old tree from
trunk to branch tips. She
also thought it queer

that the old tree
had reached the fire
before the rest of them.
But he stood there, grinning
and dripping heat-slaked gum
which cascaded down his body
and landed in amber puddles
at his dirt-dappled feet.

Inside the fire,
a green-garbed lambent lady
burned higher and brighter
than anything Aanteekwa
had ever seen.
Her red hair unfurled into
a crown of flames licking
the blackened air, clicking
and cracking apart its silence.

Babyface snatched
the silver-studded indigo scarf
from where it was slung
over a thick-bark arm
on the tree. He knelt,
laid it open and glistening at her
incandescent feet, and said:
Bronntanas daoibh, mo bhean.

Aanteekwa first thought
that his new name
should be Fool-child.
Then, she saw
a small Brigid cross emerge
from the pile of dust in
the center of the scarf where
the golden roses had been.
After that, she decided
that his new name
was the Alchemist.

Written 2/3/14
© 2014 Nicole Nicholson. All rights reserved.

This poem is a continuation from “I Mbosa A Láimhe” and was written for We Write Poems Wordle #05. I used the following words:

slung, heaviness, trunk, queer, fireflies, sliver, full, crescent, cascade, incandescent, child-like, fool, green, tinkling, wild, persimmon, crown, rhyme,  jump

The Irish phrase that the Alchemist uses at the end of the penultimate stanza is translated to: “A gift for you, my lady”. The woman in the fire is Brigid, and whether you call her a Celtic goddess or an Irish saint, her feast was celebrated on February 1.

The word “ruis” in the second stanza is a letter in the ogham alphabet (sometimes called the tree alphabet) used to write the Irish language several centuries ago. It is equivalent to the letter “r” and can mean “red” or represent the elder tree.


About ravenswingpoetry

I am a 38 year old writer from Columbus, OH and the creator of Raven's Wing Poetry. I am a poet, seeker, fellow traveler, and autistic.
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4 Responses to The Alchemist

  1. Irene says:

    And your poem is sheer alchemy, Nicole. Thanks for introducing Brigid.

  2. 1sojournal says:

    Irene is so correct, there is both magic and alchemy in your whole post. The creative use of the words flowing and dancing, singing their story to the listening ear. And your notes of completion for those of us with less knowledge of Celtic language. I love myth-making and you do a better than good job of it. Thanks for another delightful read and also for the videos you left for me, I truly enjoyed them and deeply appreciate your thoughtfulness and time in doing so,


  3. Pingback: In All Honesty, I Want To Live | Raven's Wing Poetry

  4. julespaige says:

    Now I have to bounce back…I do like how the words enchant and take me to another place…
    Cheers, Jules

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