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The Song of Amergin

Amergin, the chief bard of the invading Milesians, stepped on to Irelands shores with a poetic boast that continues to haunt the Celtic imagination. The Song of Amergin, considered to be one of the oldest Irish literary works, reflects the victorious spirit of the Milesians, who were among the original settlers in Ireland. It also captures an ancient human aspiration that colours future Celtic folkfore and literature, namely, the identification of the bard or storyteller with the inner life of his subject matter or in shamanic terms, the ability to shapeshift into the spirit of other created things.

The Song of Amergin
Version One

I am a stag : of seven tines
I am a flood : across a plain
I am a wind : on a deep lake
I am a tear : the Sun lets fall
I am a hawk : above the cliff
I am a thorn : beneath the nail
I am a wonder : among flowers
I am a wizard : who but I
Sets the cool head aflame with smoke?

I am a spear : that roars for blood
I am a salmon : in a pool
I am a lure : from paradise
I am a hill : where poets walk
I am a boar : ruthless and red
I am a breaker : threatening doom
I am a tide : that drags to death
I am an infant : who but I
Peeps from the unhewn dolmen arch?

I am the womb : of every holt
I am the blaze : on every hill
I am the queen : of every hive
I am the shield : of every head
I am the tomb : of every hope

The Song of Amergin
Version Two

I am the wind on the sea,
I am a wave of the ocean,
I am the roar of the wave,
I am an ox of seven exiles,
I am a hawk on a cliffe,
I am a tear of the sun,
I am a turning in a maze,
I am a boar in valour,
I am a salmon in a pool,
I am a lake on a plain,
I am a dispensing power,
I am a grass-blade in the earth
Subject to decay,
I am a creative, weaving god
Who counsels the head.
Who else clears the stones of a mountain?
Who is it who declaims the sunís rising?
Who is better to tell where the sun sets?
Who brings cattle from the house of Tethra?
Upon whom do th cattle of Tethra smile?
Who is the ox?
Who is the weaving god who mends the thatch of wounds?
The incantation of a spear - the incantation of the wind!

"May the road rise to meet you"

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