I'm thinking of writing a story based on the Cattle Raid of Cooley, one of my favourite legends. It might be a bit ambitious for me yet (it's a long story) but I wrote this poem based on the climatic battle. Not great but a start.
The armies of the west marched northward,
whispered tales echoed in the night,
voices hushed in Her Majesty's presence
for soldiers talk forfeited soldiers lives.
They spoke of an entity, more beast than man.
His war cry shriller than any sidhe
his rage, carnage personified.
He anticipated their arrival.
When they reached Ulster, stamping and chanting
the stories were forgotten, old wives tales.
They were braver in the light of day,
till a lone figure appeared in the distant haze.
Sétanta stood tall and erect,
his sword didn't grunt but sang,
and all those felled are honourably gone,
their mothers will weep, but not loudly.
In the night, when soldiers licked wounds,
and Sétanta sat by burning coals,
The Morrigan appeared. She beckoned to him,
offered him Glory in exchange for Love
'Begone Morrigan' he sneered
'A hero earns his glory,
he doesn't beg it from the ravens mouth'
And with that, he sealed his fate.
While the man did rest,
the Queen of Connacht set the mountains a glow with crimson
and the children of Ulster decayed by the thousand.
The seeds of Sétanta's fire have been sown.
The Hound waxes, the man wanes,
courage drops like a beggar in a noose
when it gazes upon his warped visage.
Cúchulainn has been unleashed.
No friends nor foes concerned him
only the hunt for fresh meat,
but he didn’t see the final spear coming,
the Morrigan's final deceit
The Cú faded and Setanta awoke, to die on his feet,
he was held upright by innards, fastened to a boulder,
but none did dare to approach him,
till a solitary raven perched on his shoulder.
Cúchulainn: Literally the 'Hound of Culann'
The Morrigan: Goddess of War, Death and Ravens.