“When Cu Chulainn Courts Emer



I tried mightily, twisting and turning to form an Alouette but to no good.  So I am substituting this short Sonnet.  I am a terrible rhymer.

“In that sweet country, I’ll rest my weapon”

Said Cu Chulainn to beauteous Emer

And a war spasm came upon him fast

With face distorting, hair stood upended

Teeth barred in anger, cock a rigid mast

His body whipped around, his knees unbended,

And sweet Emer prayed his luck would last.

Her father, King Lug, Celtic God of Light

Set her swain to tasks and toil unending,

While Bricru the Poison Tongue cries in fright:

“The Hound of Ulster, Irish unbending,

Leads in battle for comes he in his might!

And Emer waits with patient love the day

When Cu Chulainn comes near and claims his right!


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2016

(The sonnet above was produced for a book, “Devil’s Revenge”, with a detour into Celtic mythology.)

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14 Responses to ““When Cu Chulainn Courts Emer”

  1. Kathy Reed Says:

    Hmm…I admire your grasp of Celtic lore….your rhyming is good..now just shrink to a smaller version of the story..great attempt!


  2. Bodhirose Says:

    Mythological stories are so fascinating and I know so little about much of them. You do them justice, Jane!


  3. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Gayle. I had to do at least a 2 year study to learn anything about Celtic Mythology. I barely scratched the surface…but it’s a fascinating field of study. There are battles completely fought by trees and bushes! LOL! Thank you for reading this sonnet.


  4. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Kathy! I tried this afternoon for a while, this new beast Alouette…but it defeated me flat.
    But that’s good advice: to shrink it. I’ll try. And thank you for reading and your comment.



  5. Walter J. Wojtanik Says:

    Practice, practice, practice, Jane! I find no fault with your rhyme. If you can present it so well in 14-lines, I’ll bet you’d do exceptionally well in six. I’m with Gayle. These mythologies are outstanding.


  6. Brian Says:

    I like the rhythm of the sonnet. It clashes like swords when chanted aloud.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Brian! Poetry should be read out loud. This sonnet/poem I patterned after what I learned of bards…how they chanted or declamed their stories. Playing the dumbek actually helped in this study. And it was over 3 years of study to get a grasp of the mythology…and still I feel that I have only scratched the surface….Sonnets were hard, and I don’t like them much, but I just couldn’t get my head around this new (to me) form alouette.


  8. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Walt. I just had a mental block for this new form. But then again…the new can be confusing. As for the mythology….a understanding came after about 3 years immersion in the study…and these things that I illustrate are not things I made up, but actual historical markings in the mythology. This “cock as a mast” was an actual description (along with unbended knees (actually he was contorted around) when this ‘war mask’ came upon him. It was something from the Celtic Gods….part of their own powers and woven mythology. That is the only way I would know to write these sonnets or poems about Celtic mythological characters. You start with their powers or weaknesses and proceed to weave them into their behaviors. If that makes any sense. And thank you, Walt. I think I am coming to know my limitations…and alouette is one of them. LOL!


  9. Walter J. Wojtanik Says:

    Well, that’s fine. One should know their limitations. There is no aspersion on you for it. That’s actually commendable.


  10. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Walt. Age and such make limitations slap you in the face. Hard to ignore.


  11. kim881 Says:

    I love Celtic legend, so I enjoyed your sonnet, Jane. I think, with a little work, you could reduce it to an Alouette, although I think the subject matter is better suited to another form that can be chanted aloud The Alouette seems to be more of a joyful dance.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. ladynyo Says:

    I agree, Kim. I can’t see this battle hymn as a joyful dance. But I get what you are saying. Thanks, Kim

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) Says:

    This begs to be read aloud, the Celtic names add so much flavor to this… I had big problems with the Alouette as well.. my brain is programmed for pentameter… I think I might write a novel in blankverse at one point.


  14. ladynyo Says:

    You should. Glad I wasn’t the only one struggling with Alouette! LOL! You can stand in the corner with me.
    Yes, I believe all poetry should be read aloud, but this Cletic stuff definitely should be. And that is the way it was declaimed and passed along through the centuries. Bard’s made their bread and mead on how well they could ‘sing’ these poem/songs. Thanks, Bjorn. Looks like I will be off line most of the weekend and through most of next week because of computer problems. will miss the beloved haibun prompt.


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