by Philip Arnold
An Irish King of Connaught, Sweeney was cursed
and made to think he was a bird.
How I skimmed the battered air,
grazing Malduin’s magnificent goatee
on the battlefield of the Ui Faolain.
A near miss and again
a swoop for the delicate strand of hair
from my enemy’s chin,
the hoped–for thread
that I would weave through the loom
of my nest, each circle
leveraged against the underneath
of Norwegian fir needle, Ulster–raid of fleece
and Connemara garden scrap.
I dreamt the spoil of incremental loft.
When the golden hair finally caught in my beak
fear throttled my throat:
could risk the hair unraveling into the mad air.
So I held in my silence the delicate thread
even as joy
shook my body
and I swallowed note
after note that would proclaim,