‘Airmead in the Glen’, the poem I’ve selected as the winning poem, is a beautifully balanced poem – grief at sibling loss and the powerful affirmation of the healing power of nature is told in the myth of Airmead. Airmead was the Celtic goddess of healing and a member of the Tuatha de Danaan. When King Nuada loses his arm in battle, Airmead’s brother Miach fashions one of flesh. Airmead brings it to life with her restorative powers. Their father, Dian Cecht, kills Miach in a jealous rage and buries his body in the battlefield, he scatters the medicinal herbs Airmead draws up from his burial place, so that future generations may not know the curative power of plants.
‘Airmead in the Glen’ is ‘narrated’ by a grieving Airmead, and even if one isn’t aware of the myth, the exquisite language the poet employs to sing its tender song captivates the reader.
What appealed to the ancients was the portrayal of Airmead as a kind and gentle woman, who was altruistic and who sought to heal without thought of reward or favour. What appeals to me in the ‘Airmead of the Glen’ is that the poet absolutely captures that essence.’