March 21st was adopted as World Poetry Day by Unesco in 1999 to celebrate the enduring power of poetry to inspire and unite people across the world.
In Ireland, throughout history poets have been celebrated and respected. Ancient stories depict them as powerful figures, revered for their skills and held in high regard by the Celtic nations.
‘The Recovery of the Tain’ from the Book of Leinster (ca 1160) is a story about storytelling and poets, their importance to the Irish people and the dangers of celebrity.
The main character in this famous Irish legend is Fergus, whose ghost appears by an Ogham stone, a type of standing stone found throughout the Celtic nations. Sometimes they have carvings along the side which are one of the oldest forms of writing, in most cases the carvings relate to names. Fergus in old Irish is Vergoso, which is written from the bottom to top along the edge of the stone.
It means ‘strength’.
Click here to see our bronze and read the full story that inspired it, beautifully retold for us by local historian and author, Kevin Johnston.
for David Keys
The flash of ash
in this bone-bare winter hedge
is in pitch-perfect key.
Birch bark tatters
to a rag-time rhythm.
In the centre
the fairy thorn jigs in time
to a wayward wind.
And the willow droops
wind-whipped, cross-limbed, swaying
in a soft-shoe shuffle.