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The Calming of Cuchulain

poetry by Philip Havey

The Calming of Cuchulain

Macha’s men bevied their women down along the king’s road
and over the plain as fast as flesh could be cajoled and harried
to meet their rabid champion, fright wig flocked in full frenzy,
nostrils flared wide enough to shoulder oxen while the smolder
In his eyes pinked the women’s morning’s nakedness like flares,
The fathers of Macha knowing a rueful glance or mistaken fart
could turn that prize boyo on them brimmed more full of killing
than a hundred Mayo legions running lunic through the streets,
so they pressed their daughters, wives, widows, country maids
and scullery girls jay naked and blanched beneath a blarney sun
to cull his hunger, flesh being flesh and all prods pressed in one.
And so they went big bosomed, high breasted and thin dugged
on legs of shameless thrust, lock kneed, dimpled and indifferent,
fully scented with crushed hyssop, musk, rank sweat and dung
in a horde that sweat the hero’s hero so much abashing the man
that, distaff prevailing sword, all wildness was washed from him
in suds that pulped the cords of his stroke arm soft as any wool,
though none had known a hank to exceed the blister of his blush,
which proved for the best since it spared their husbands the need
To foray into Munster to replenish any depletement in their stock.

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