Leaving him, I was a deer –
A shy thing, wild, fearful of shadows,
Wary of sudden sound or movement.
I healed myself in the green places,
Learned my own body as a thing
Of strength and speed and beauty.
I ran. Away, at first, running from fear,
Then into myself. I ran from weakness
Into something else. A sense of being –
Back into womanhood.
Another myth-based poem for Anmol at dVerse. Irish this time – Sadhbh, wife of Fionn MacCool. The story is that the great Fionn was out hunting, and started following a doe. His dogs wouldn’t harm her, and Fionn was intrigued. He took the doe home, where she changed into a beautiful girl, Sadhbh. She’d been transformed into a deer by an evil magician. Fionn wooed and married her. Some time later, he went off warring and raiding. He appeared back, and Sadhbh ran to greet him – in fact, it was the evil magician in disguise. Sadhbh was changed back into a deer. Fionn searched the forest for her, but never found her again.
It’s a typical Irish myth – not much explanation, and part of a larger myth cycle. It’s so sad. Poor Sadhbh hasn’t a huge amount of volition in it all, but I think there’s just enough space there to imagine her inner world, and her voice, and maybe there was some freedom in being a deer? Irish women were generally more empowered in early times than most European woment seem to have been.
This is a big explanation for quite a small poem. Sorry about that.