A Small Oasis of Shelter, hosted by Grace Wells

Banais Ríghí, the High King Speaks

An eco-poetic meditation on our ancient relationship with nature.

Banais Righi, the High King Speaks

Poem by Grace Wells



I have always thought she looked her loveliest from here.

Here more than anywhere she gave herself to me—

this ground our bridal bed.



When I married her, she gave me her intricacies,

apple blossom, birdsong, the salmon’s rainbow breast,

the white swans and the white geese.



The word feis meant to sleep with the Goddess,

to be permeated by her.




When I married her, I became the mountains,

I became the forest.


Her soft rain fell

and I grew as grain.




When I married her, she turned me copper,

gave me the strength of iron.


She crowned me with the goldcrest’s burnished head.



In her embrace I was kingfisher,

turquoise, emerald, amber.


She released me as falcon on the wing. 



The veins in my wrists became the rivers of the land,

when anything happens to her, it happens to me.



It is my relationship with the land which grants me sovereignty—

this ground our bridal bed.


For her it was strewn with the creamy-white petals

of elderflower, of meadowsweet.



She never left our bedchamber

without an offering for my palm:


acorn, sea-shell, chrysalis, amethyst,

a hazelnut drilled empty and open by one of her creatures.



And after her leaving, the room echoed with her—

a steady incantation


Tuath, Tuath, Tuath


meaning people, meaning place.

Banais Righi, the High King Speaks

By Grace Wells, with thanks to Cashel Arts Festival 2020