There is no beauty like a storm—
the wild, wet wind, the rolling cloud
that coats the sky with shifting form,
the thunder tolling rich and loud,
the lightning striking violet-white
across the deep and turbulent sky,
patterning the dark with ragged light
to dazzle and blind the watching eye.
There is no power like the wind
that rumples clouds like darkling foam
to pluck the soul loose that’s been pinned,
to break the heart from its cage of bone.
My love’s the storm who pinned my heart
and washed it clear in pelting rain,
who gave me fire to form my art
and taught me how to dance again.
I saw him in my dreams before I bade him dream of me
So smooth his limbs, so bright his eyes
So sweet the voices of the birds they say are his kisses.
No one could help but love him—
And I saw he knew they did.
So I sent him dreams of me, but never went to him:
I gave him the ache under my breast, I made it his.
He asked his father the horseman to find me
But even a druid could not pierce the mists of my hiding.
He asked his mother the river to find me
But she searched for a maiden and I was none.
He begged his wise brother the king to find me
And the crow in his cunning asked questions
Until my story revealed itself to him.
It was the red crow sent him to me, to my maidens,
Nine hundred on the lake when my father brought him.
I had brought him to break his heart as he had broken theirs,
But when I saw him, the pain of his dark-circled eyes was mine
And the beauty of his yearning pierced my heart.
Ensnared, I forgot to wish for freedom.
We stood, nine hundred, in my shape and waited for him to fail
Our hearts prepared to break, our wings to fly
And when he touched my hand and spoke my name I thought
The world had never been light until
That golden moment bound us in its chains.
I heard you coming in my dreams. It was
no surprise to see your silver ship glide
over the mirror of a waveless sea, the five
gold rings of kingship at your throat, the pale
starlight of your eyes. The stillness
was everything I expected, the sharp crunch of sand
under your boot the sound that stilled my breath.
All that, I knew before you came.
I did not know I would tremble
at the nearness of your touch, the whisper
of your breath on my cheek. I did not know
I could fear when I had such longing.
The moon was a silver halo behind your golden
head. “It is a good night for lovemaking.” These words
were nothing to the desire on your lips
but I saw in your eyes that this
was not a beginning but an ending. I would lose
the dream I had so loved, that had turned
away the wooing of all my people, for the reality
of you, and of your leaving. That knowing held my voice:
“I made no tryst,” though my heart called me liar.
The smile was a fire in your eyes. “What need
for a tryst?” you asked, and I bent to my desire.
What heat, what knowledge in holding
all I had wanted though every joy was a wound in me.
When you stood, your ship shining its summons,
you asked why I wept. “For two things—
that I love only you and not a man of my people,
and that you are leaving.” You seemed surprised
I knew, as if you expected me to think
you would stay, but you did not correct me, did not
pretend I was wrong, just gave me a ring,
not for me, but for our son when he would need you.
“And have you no name?” I asked, twisting
the ring that was too large even on my thumb.
“Elatha, king of the Fomoire,” you said, and named
our son as well, and left. Could I have killed
my love then, I would have done it.
You never asked my name.