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Bardic Arts

Tanwen, Mó Stór Gal
Catherine de Gray
January 22, 1994 (AS XXVIII)

Six were the gifts of the daughter of Forgall,
Cuchulain's wife, worthy Emér.
Six were the gifts of womanhood,
And praised was the one who held all these
Gift of beauty, gift of voice,
Gift of wisdom, gift of chastity,
Gift of needlework, gift of sweet speech,
And all of these did Emér possess.
Six are gifts my heart-sister displays,
But far more than these lie within her, shining
Fairer even than the Bride of Cuchulain,
She who tamed the Hound of Ulster.
Stronger than Mebh, warrior-queen,
She who fought for what she wanted.
Brighter than Niamh Golden-Hair,
She whose shine was other-worldly.
Purer and more spiritual than gentle Ethne,
She who persevered with her faith in the One.
Braver than Scáthách sword-mistress,
She who dared more than any man.
More protective than loyal Lebharcham,
She who guarded the ill-fated Deirdre.

Sweeter than the voice of summer rain,
Softer than the wings of swans;
Moving like the sway of willow leaves,
Yet stronger than heart of oak.
Dancing without care, graceful as the hind,
Bringing peace, like the dove of God.
The blue of Manannan's realm in her eyes,
The wealth of kings in the gold of her hair.
Here is my bright treasure - mó stór gal -
The riches of Eíre no equal to her.
Six are the gifts most prized in woman,
Far more than these my sister possesses.

"Written as for my sister, Countess Tanwen Meriadhudh Candwr for a valentine poem competition at Golden Rivers Championship in 1994. Loosely modelled on medieval Irish poetry styles." -- Catherine de Gray

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