A Celebration 
of Women Writers

"The Shadow House of Lugh" by Ethna Carbery [aka Mrs. Seumus MacManus, Anna Johnston] (1866-1902)
From: The Four Winds of Eirinn: Poems by Ethna Carbery. (Anna MacManus.), Complete Edition, Edited by Seumas MacManus. Dublin, Ireland: M. H. Gill and Son, Ltd. 1906. pp. 111-112.

Editor: Mary Mark 

[Page 111] 


Dream-fair, beside dream waters, it stands alone:
A winging thought of Lugh made its corner stone:
A desire of his heart raised its walls on high,
And set its crystal windows to flaunt the sky.

Its doors of the white bronze are many and bright,
With wondrous carven pillars for his Love's delight,
And its roof of the blue wings, the speckled red,
Is a flaming arc of beauty above her head.

Like a mountain through mist Lugh towers high,
The fiery-forked lightning is the glance of his eye,
His countenance is noble as the Sun-god's face–
The proudest chieftain he of a proud Dedanaan race.

He bides there in peace now his wars are all done–
He gave his hand to Balor when the death-gate was won,
And for the strife-scarred heroes who wander in the shade,
His door lieth open, and the rich feast is laid.

He hath no vexing memory of blood in slanting rain,
Of green spears in hedges on a battle plain;
But through the haunted quiet his love's silver words,
Blow round him swift as wing-beats of enchanted birds.

[Page 112] 

A grey haunted wind is blowing in the hall,
And stirring through the shadowy spears upon the wall,
The drinking horn goes round from shadowy lip to lip–
And about the golden methers shadowy fingers slip.

The Star of Beauty, she who queens it there;
Diademed, and wondrous long, her yellow hair.
Her eyes are twin-moons in a rose-sweet face,
And the fragrance of her presence fills all the place.

He plays for her pleasure on his harp's gold wire
The Laughter-tune that leaps along in trills of fire;
She hears the dancing feet of Sidhe where a white moon gleams,
And all her world is joy in the House of Dreams.

He plays for her soothing the Slumber-song:
Fine and faint as any dream it glides along:
She sleeps until the magic of his kiss shall rouse;
And all her world is quiet in the Shadow-house.

His days glide to night, and his nights glide to day:
With circling of the amber mead, and feasting gay;
In the yellow of her hair his dreams lie curled,
And her arms make the rim of his rainbow world. *


Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom


[Page 112]

* I have pieced together, as best I could, from the unpolished, and unfinished, rough drafts. I supplied a missing word here and there, and missing lines–to complete stanzas. S. MACM.

Editor: Mary 
Mark Ockerbloom