Bealtaine (pronounced be-yowl-thin-ah) is one of the “corner holidays” still celebrated in Ireland, April 30–May 1. In 2018 was fortunate to be at the Parknasilla Resort on Kenmare Bay in County Kerry, Ireland, for the festival—which I marked by attending a truly transformational retreat for writers led by people who are now dear friends.
The poem below says it all. One of my favorites from Sparks of Celtic Mystery.
At the Writers Retreat
Bealtaine’s fires burn double
To purge old winter’s dark
And light the way to springtime’s green
Where Imbolc’s three-month lambs frolic
And May Day’s festivals mark
Exuberant new life for young and old.
Inspiration sparks afresh,
Each view across the bay or estuary
An invitation to plant seeds of thought
In imagination’s fertile ground,
To raise up word flowers
Waving their bright-hued blooms
For attention from passersby
Whose hearts they hope to gladden.
Creative fires burn bright at Parknasilla,
Fed by geniuses who loved the place,
Leaned into its fecund quiet
Until Nature’s luxuriant empathy
Filled them with such passionate insight
The only way to live was to write
Till they were empty vessels
Begging to be filled again.
So were we also sparked,
Ignited by a bardic spirit,
Nourished by the pleasing
Sound of pen on paper,
Urged to freely splash
In creation’s risky tributaries,
Until we, too, should find a seat
In the company of literary mightiness,
If even for one precious moment,
One brilliant phrase of prose or rhyme
That flashes into the mind like lightning
A gift from the word gods who live on—
Beside the waters of Kenmare Bay.