The Wooing of Emer

The myths of the Ulster Cycles and other legends and folklore that flow out of Ireland have been of interest to me for quite some time. After reading Cuchulain of Muirthemne: The Story of the Men of the Red Branch of Ulster by Lady Gregory, I became immersed and fascinated by the story that builds between Emer and Cuchulain. Evidently, he spurned her, betrayed her with another, and she spits fire at him in return.

Anyhow, this poem was a vision of sorts from what Emer herself may have felt upon meeting and interacting with the golden man himself.

The Wooing of Emer

The strain of my heart against his ribs
The heated blood that rises within me
He hath possess me, body and soul
Do I dare to utter the words to him? He who is golden and wild and ever-wandering
Seeking the Hero’s Victory
Foolhardy, indeed! You, whom I love
Leave me behind to pine? I think not,
I will surely protest in outrage of mistaking me for a meek and mild fawn,
A shy creature, poised and soft and compliant
O, not I! I am of a fire: rare and beautiful and deadly to behold!
For I will forsake you just as you forsake me
As surely you will be burned if you seek this thing,
This prize, this championship too bold to behold
And in your Victory, your blood shall be shed,
Upon the Stone of the Old Ones
You will perish, Dear One, and I refuse to bare the pain
So leave me now, and find your Warrior’s honorable death,
You who resemble the Sun, fiery in your lust to conquer
I will be no conquest of yours, and I shall stand fast with a Spell
To protect my heart

 

 

Read more about the legend and myth of Cuchulain and Emer on Wikipedia.

[Photo: Cú Chulainn Rebuked by Emer by H.R. Millar, 1905]

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