I received second prize in the 2013 Arkansas Scottish Festival Poetry Contest for my poem titled “Aife.”
by Teresa Burns Murphy
Aife turned away from the messenger
who brought the news that her only child,
Connla, was dead, run through by his father’s sword.
Cuchilain fatally mistook his son for a foe.
Forever destined to battle the deep, Cuchilain raged
against the waves. Aife grieved like a woman warrior.
She built a fire in her round house of wattle and daub.
All night she stoked the blaze and watched
the smoke escape through a hole in the roof.
At dawn, draped in Connla’s cloak,
she rose to ride her horse to the base of the sacred
oak where she had taught her boy
the art of self-defense. Connla’s spirit
lingered in the stinging nettle and stayed
close to Aife long after the earth was turned
and the strong-headed yarrow bloomed above her grave.