Friday, May 13, 2016

The Hosting

It is a king’s work, this hosting
of all of Adam’s seed,
and yet is it no work, nothing
at all, and it proceeds.

No sooner do they know
than they study to forget
where the hosting goes –
no one is ready yet.

When you are called forth,
if you refuse to leave,
in whose house, whose fort
will you stand siege?

After 'The Last Call-Up' (from A Golden Treasury of Irish Poetry, Ed. David Greene & Frank O'Connor), an anonymous poem of 17 stanzas originally published in the 15th century Book of Lecan.

First published as part of a short sequence, Departures (long after the Irish, AD 600-1200), in my collection Fade Street (Salt, 2010).

Photo: Stéig, an iron age (AD 400) fort in the Ring of Kerry.