Rachel O’Dwyer 

Rachel O’Dwyer is seventeen years old and currently studying for the leaving cert. She loves reading and writing, and is especially passionate about poetry. She loves the Irish language and stories, which have greatly influenced this poem. She was previously the runner up in the Trócaire Poetry competition, 2018, in her category.

 

 

 

 

Chessboard

The black knight soared above the pawn,
Unsuspecting, an L- shaped arc,
To land upon a two by two centimetre square,
The war horse trotting in between the trenches,
The old footsteps of the draughts wars
Fought on the same battlefield.
Beholding it all was the rook,
The dark castle fortified in the corner,
Cloven in black, the silent mourner.
Beholding it all was the rook,
Perched upon her branches, delighted
And thirsty. The Morrigan lay expectant,
Lay in wait, as the carcass count climbed.
Formorian blood ran deep, soaking,
Drenching, drowning. The little blood lakes
Spread and bred, it crossed with Fae,
Mixed, accepted, repelled, rebelled.
Blooming like misplaced poppies.
Over the blood lakes, Balor met his grandson.
Lugh, born of Eithne tower bound, was so
To his fate. The battle nearly won,
Balor’s blood gushed to the lakes
And oceans entire formed.
Silver swords dropped or stolen
Littered the plains, like a metallic
Cobweb, stretching and stretching.
Blood clung to blade like
Droplet to silk.
The one eyed beasts roared, and raged
Clambering forth, the Tuatha Dé
No longer caged, an entire court.
Swords clanged, metallic tang,
Shields hanged, victories sang.
While the waves of battle clashed,
Handsome Breas was captured
By the Tuatha Dé. Bartering
For a life and loss, secrets stilted his lips,
Hesitant, and yet, and yet,
They came. How to sow and plough
And live off the land, now on the table,
His final hand.
Victory and Sacrifice came as one,
They were so warmly greeted,
For the King had been defeated.
Prophecies spoke of this battle,
Parroted from Fate. A puppeteer,
Is she, drawing strings woven by Clotho
Herself. Maybe Fate was playing the game
Of chess wrong, thinking all to be
Her pawns.

© 2018 Rachel O’Dwyer