(A Rhupunt)

Deep shadows fade
Red rock cascade
To purpled jade—
Sun sparks ignite.

Stone sentries stare
Sightless through air
At treadless stair
Spanning the height.

No mortals dare
Enter the lair
Or linger where
Spirit meets sprite.

This shrine of stone
And bleached white bone
Hides secrets shown
In the moonlight.


Tiananmen Square

(A Clogyrnach)

Youthful zeal fans sparks of unrest
To flames as the jaded protest.
They throng to the square
To challenge the chair
With a stare
To the West.

Unarmed, undeterred, they dare bring
To light fervent hopes for the spring.
The peaceful crusade
Designed to persuade
Draws the blade
Of Beijing.

Red tide swallows the dead and maimed,
Drowns voices, erases those named.
Unmoved by their fate,
Cold eyes of the State
Watch and wait,


Hell’s Gate

(A Clogyrnach)

Restless seas of molten metal
Probe for weakness in earth’s fettle.
Entombed in fire dust,
Tongues lick the cool crust.
Liquid lust
Stokes nettle.

Enchantments ring the demons’ cage.
A vault of ice sealed by a sage
Binds chaos within,
But the ice grows thin—
Cracks begin
Their rampage.

As heedless mortals desecrate
The frozen lands that guard Hell’s gate
The thawing ice drips
And kisses parched lips.
The scale tips,
But too late.


Polar Night

(A Rannaigheacht Ghairid)

Robed in white,
Specters dance with northern light.
Lumbering with silent gait,
A great ice bear haunts the night.

Ghostly growls
Ride the air with snowy owls.
Shamans say she swam the sound—
Her cubs drowned; her spirit prowls.

Melted floes—
Weariness and hunger’s throes
Clawed her offspring from her paws.
Her jaws snapped at faceless foes.

Black of night—
No ice glows in Arctic light.
No titans roam this dark and
Lonely land, bereft of white.


Gemstones of the Desert

(A Rannaigheacht Ghairid)

Sun-fired stone
Frames a shattered bison bone
Pinned to earth by ancient lance.
Diamonds dance their warning tone.

Slumber’s shores—
Glittering eyes close their doors.
On cloudless sea, heat waves crest—
Ringtails rest in cactus cores.

Breathless, still—
No breeze stirs the dust until
Burned-out sun slides into bed,
Bleeding, red, in twilight’s chill.

Tongues unknown
Call the moon to hold the throne.
Though men search for gems to steal,
Shades conceal the sun-fired stone.


Elizabeth Spencer Spragins is a linguist and editor who taught in the North Carolina Community College System for more than a decade. Her academic work has been published by Edwin Mellen Press and the Association for Computing Machinery.  Her reviews and articles have appeared in Ninnau and the Moravian.  

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