Lai II – Sing of Mad Sweeney

Sing of Mad Sweeney,

perched in his oak tree –

sing loud!


stole his sanity –

weep now.

Bare as a baby,

in his own skin, he’s

still proud.

Lai number 2 for the dVerse prompt.

15 thoughts on “Lai II – Sing of Mad Sweeney

  1. Sarah, not know the myth or the poetry that preserved it, I looked up and read the complex Irish plot here in wiki. It reminded me of complex, insane myths we found when visiting Iceland.

    Curious: How do you know this Irish tale? I read in wiki that “many poets have invoked Sweeney — most notably T.S. Eliot and Seamus Heaney.” Was it through them? Or more recently through Neil Gaiman’s Novel “American Gods”. Either way, thanks for the intro — reading the story gave great light to your fine poem.

    For it seems you are praising Sweeney (Suibhne) instead of demonizing him, much as some apocryphal Christian texts put Judas in a good light and Mary Magdalen in a more sensuous light. For they all embrace their own skin, no matter the curses of the orthodox.


      • Thanks — I wonder what the truth is, as this Irish story is told thru the victors — Catholics. Meanwhile, I am presently reading “The Secret World: A History of Intelligence” and am now in the Middle Ages — ’twas horrible indeed.


  2. What a joy to find someone else who has read Flann O’Brien, Sarah! I enjoyed At Swim-two-birds, but my favourite is The Third Policeman. I agree with Jane about the ‘storiness’ of the lai, and you’ve mastered it in this one. I love the image of Sweeney ‘Bare as a baby’ up a tree!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s