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Door thirteen / advent calendar


Incantations of Lugh


Children’s verse

I am the voice the song of the river

The secrets you whisper that shudder and shiver

The treasure that’s buried in stories we’re told

Reflections of fire that flicker like Gold

A stamping of hooves in the trembling ground

The murmur of silence and magic of sound

The goose bumps and pimples that prickle your skin

I am the river that swallowed your King


Crowd’s Answer

Tell us oh tell us what secrets you keep

The song that you whisper when we are asleep

The shadows that dance on the woodcutter’s ridge

The yellow eyed bounty that’s under the bridge

We are the footprints where nobody’s been

The flickering nightlight that nobody’s seen

This is the song that will summon the crowned

A song for the river to honour the drowned


(text by the children of Callan, together with poet Stephen Murray)


This poem was created in the course of Roisin Coyles Abhainn Ri festival workshops for children from 7 to 12 in summer 2012. Workshops included storytelling, papercraft, music, shadow puppetry and costume making and culminated in a magical interactive ceremony focusing on myths surrounding the local King’s River .

The artwork by the children, alongside the artists own work,  was installed on the river banks, and floating down the river.

The poem was chanted by the children in masks from a river bank as a herd of cattle heads ( in the spirit of the Lighnasadh tradition where cattle were bathed to protect them from evil in the coming year) floated down the river guiding thirty small burning rafts bearing the children’s secrets and dreams for the river. The onlooking crowd from the bridge chanted the responding verse. 

Images and text are from the Abhainn Rí Festival Closing Ceremony  on the King´s River, Callan, Co. Kilkenny in 2012 . By courtesy of the artist, Roisin  Coyle.

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