Forum Activity for @elizabeth-spragins

Elizabeth Spragins
02/16/19 12:10:07AM
10 posts

After the Day (A Clogyrnach) 

West Coast Eisteddfod Online Poetry Competition 2018

Dusk dims the light and veils this farm’s
Forgotten face and homespun charms.
Behind rusted gates
A crow cultivates
Earth that waits
For tanned arms

To harness moody mules to plow.
No wrinkled face with sweaty brow
Lifts toward welcome rain.
Equine weather vane
Tosses mane,
Jumps a bough,

And pivots toward the Pleiades
Before an unseen hand can seize
The reins or halter.
Tarnished hooves falter:
Tracks alter
With the breeze.

Then moonlight cools July’s hard heat
And silvers errant stalks of wheat.
With darkness erased
My memories taste
Of dreams chased—

~The Old Homestead, Jeffersonville, Georgia

First published in Lyric, vol. 97, no. 3 (Summer 2017): 105. Print.


Like many aged wooden farmhouses in the vicinity of Middle Georgia, the Old Homestead was abandoned and left to deteriorate. The family moved into a brick house on the property.


Elizabeth Spragins
02/16/19 12:05:25AM
10 posts

The Weather Vane (A Rhupunt)

West Coast Eisteddfod Online Poetry Competition 2018

A longing calls
Through slumber’s halls—
I leap the walls
That hold the tide

Of jeweled night.
My hooves alight
On heaven’s height.
With none astride,

I navigate
The stars of fate
And seek the gate
To hopes denied.

Though doubts profane
The dark domain
Where love has lain,
Daydreams abide.

~Birthplace of Secretariat at the Meadow, Doswell, Virginia

First published in Glass: Facets of Poetry, no. 5 (Summer 2017): 8. Print.


In 1973 Secretariat astounded horse racing fans by crossing the finish line at the Belmont Stakes 31 lengths ahead of his closest challenger. With this victory the Thoroughbred affectionately known as “Big Red” established a new world record, secured the Triple Crown, and earned a reputation as one of the greatest race horses of all time. His birthplace at the Meadow in Doswell has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register.


updated by @elizabeth-spragins: 11/24/19 06:16:51PM
Elizabeth Spragins
02/16/19 12:00:04AM
10 posts

Standing Stones at Twilight (A Rhupunt) 

West Coast Eisteddfod Online Poetry Competition 2018

I stand alone,
Shadowed by stone
Where spirits moan
Beyond my sight.

Time peels away
The husk of day
And bleaches gray
Shards of twilight.

Stars climb the stair
To my stark lair
Where whispered prayer
Cracks the finite.

The stone succumbs
And magic hums.
A dragon comes,
Reined by a knight.

~Castlerigg Stone Circle, Keswick, England

The first two stanzas of this work were published under the title “Henge” in the Lyric, vol. 96, no. 3 (Summer 2016): 103.  Print.


Castlerigg Stone Circle is considered one of the oldest stone circles in Britain. This oval ring of thirty-eight stones may have been constructed as early as 3000 BC during the Neolithic Period. The site is ringed by mountains.


Elizabeth Spragins
02/15/19 11:56:14PM
10 posts

Greyfriars Bobby (A Rhupunt)

West Coast Eisteddfod Online Poetry Competition 2018

A living shade,
Unblessed, has strayed
Where saints are laid
To rest, unbound

From earthly pain.
In sleet, in rain,
He waits in vain
For just one sound—

Beloved tone
Unheard, unknown
Where graves of stone
Lie flower-crowned.

No soft command
Or calloused hand
Bids him to stand
And guard this ground,

And yet he stays.
At dusk he bays,
And Heaven’s gaze
Falls on the mound

Where heart has yearned
As seasons turned:
A soul is earned
By grieving hound.

~Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh, Scotland

Notes: A Skye Terrier known as Greyfriars Bobby is said to have guarded his master’s grave in Greyfriars Kirkyard for 14 years.

First published in flash & cinder , no. 1 (July 2018): 56-57. Edited by Matthew Thorpe-Coles. Bath, England. Web. .


Elizabeth Spragins
02/15/19 11:48:51PM
10 posts

Afternoon Tea in the Garden (A Clogyrnach) 

West Coast Eisteddfod Online Poetry Competition 2018

Concealed by an old garden rose,
The fairy queen took her repose.
A cold cup of tea
Near sandwich debris
Held the key
To her doze.

The wait staff, weary of serving,
Her inattention observing,
Had coaxed kindly bees
From gnarled apple trees
With sly pleas,
Lips curling.

Unobserved, they brought honey wine,
Laced the tea with fruit of the vine.
She savored each sip,
With tongue rimmed her lip,
Lost her grip,
Lay supine.

She dreamed of a castle unknown,
With turrets of silver and stone.
A flag of gold thread
Snapped high overhead—
Motto read,
‘Vacant Throne.’

The eyes of her mind opened wide—
A monarch transformed checked the tide
And saw with dismay
That squalls in the bay
Would delay
A boat ride.

She saddled a swift dragonfly,
Then mounted, a whip by her thigh.
To court the queen flew,
Where moon dust she threw
Quelled a coup,
Starred the sky.

First published in the Quarterday Review: The Poetry of Mythic Journeys, vol. 2, no. 3 (August [Lughnasadh] 2016): 55-56.  Edited by L.J. McDowall and Leslie E. Owen.  Glasgow, Scotland:  Quarterday Press.  ISSN: 2397-8481 (print) ISSN: 2059 0938 (electronic).

Elizabeth Spragins
11/09/17 05:41:33PM
10 posts

The Cherokee Wedding (A Rannaigheacht Ghairid)

West Coast Eisteddfod Online Poetry Competition 2017

Priestess dons the sacred shawl.
In these hills where cougars prowl,
Great horned owl with haunting call

Guards the place
Where the remnants of a race [1]
Dance in secret by the lake.
Shakers of the carapace [2]

Move with grace
To the singer’s rhythmic bass
And the beat of water drums.
Priestess comes with wedding vase. [3]

Rite is done.
Gifts of corn and venison
Seal sacred vows of lovers—
Blanket covers two as one.

Two untwine—
Cedar, holly, spruce, and pine,
Sacred evergreens surround
Clans bound where no walls confine.

Night birds call—
Shoulder longings, soar with all,
Kindle stars with sparks of dreams
On moonbeams at evenfall.

~ Cherokee, North Carolina

First published in River Tides by Riverside Writers. Edited by James Gaines. Middletown, DE: Create Space, 2017. 193. Print.

[1] The United States Army forcibly removed the Cherokee Nation from its ancestral territory during the years 1838-1839, but some members of the tribe escaped and fled to the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina. 

[2] Ceremonial rattles are often constructed from turtle shells.

[3] During a traditional Cherokee wedding, the man and woman share a single drinking vessel with two openings.


“The Old Cherokee Wedding.” Cherokee Nation. Web. . Accessed 5 May 2017.

“A Brief History of the Trail of Tears.” Cherokee Nation . Web. . Accessed 5 May 2017. 

“Shell Shaker.” Cherokee Nation . Web. . Accessed 5 May 2017. 

“Cherokee History and Culture: A History Measured in Eons.” Cherokee Chamber of Commerce . Web. . Accessed 5 May 2017.


Elizabeth Spragins
11/09/17 05:34:52PM
10 posts

Border Walls (A Rannaigheacht Ghairid)  

West Coast Eisteddfod Online Poetry Competition 2017

Stone by stone,
Hardened hands clear fields unsown;
Weary arms fell long-leaf pine—
Rocks define the land we own.

Dry-stack walls
Rise as our ambition sprawls
Through a mansion with locked gates—
Worth equates with gilded halls.

Marble hearts
Do not bleed when pricked by darts,
But our turrets block the light.
From this night, no one departs:

We have buried flesh with bone
And entombed our children here—
Vaults of fear rise stone by stone.

First published in Quarterday: A Journal of Classical Poetry, vol. 3, no. 1 (Imbolc 2017): 40.  Edited by L.J. McDowall.  Glasgow, Scotland: Quarterday Press.


Elizabeth Spragins
11/09/17 05:30:49PM
10 posts

Riven (A Rannaigheacht Ghairid)

West Coast Eisteddfod Online Poetry Competition 2017

Once I dreamed
Ospreys soared where salmon teemed.
Frigid streams and waterfalls
Frosted walls where glaciers gleamed.

Darkness cowled
The moon whenever wolves howled
Until hunters fired a torch
That scorched the realms where night prowled.

Sunlight slew
Calves* of glaciers tinted blue,
Snowy owls, and arctic birds.
Hungry herds of caribou

Wandered far,
But the fervid morning star
Supped on ice that could not sate:
Gate of hell was left ajar.

Eagles screamed
As the broken ice unseamed.
Now the white of desert sands
Blankets lands where once I dreamed.

*Chunks of ice break off the end of a glacier and produce icebergs in a process known as "calving.”

First published as “Riven and Other Poetry in Traditional Bardic Forms by Elizabeth Spencer Spragins.”  Society of Classical Poets, 22 Feb. 2017.

Elizabeth Spragins
11/09/17 05:26:06PM
10 posts

As Long as Eagle Flies[1]  (A Rannaigheacht Ghairid)

West Coast Eisteddfod Online Poetry Competition 2017

This they swore—
Strangers eager to explore
Traversed our hills undaunted,
Wanted passage, nothing more.

They found gold—
Riches made prospectors bold.
On the Black Hills, ours by right,
White man’s treaties did not hold.

To end war,
In exchange for golden ore
They drove us to Standing Rock,
Fenced like flock forevermore.

Gold-plate lies:
Words on paper recognize
Borders where the rivers roam,
Home as long as eagle flies.

Army Corps
Threatens homeland as before. [2]
We draw bows with words to fight,
Cite the treaty they ignore.

Eagles soar—
Though they claim the treaty tore,
On Black Hills of Dakota
To Lakota, this they swore.

First published as “Riven and Other Poetry in Traditional Bardic Forms by Elizabeth Spencer Spragins.”  Society of Classical Poets , 22 Feb. 2017.

[1] The Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851 recognized the sovereignty of the Lakota Sioux over the Great Plains “as long as the river flows and the eagle flies.”  The Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 prohibited white settlement in the Black Hills for all time, but the subsequent discovery of gold generated an influx of miners who violated the treaty with impunity.

  [2] The Lakota protested construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline on the grounds that the project would contaminate their sole source of drinking water and disrupt their sacred lands. The completed pipeline passes under the Missouri River less than one mile upstream of the Standing Rock Reservation.



Clark, Linda Darus. “Sioux Treaty of 1868.” National Archives . Reviewed 23 Sept. 2016. Web. . Accessed 4 Feb. 2017.

National Park Service. “Treaties and Broken Promises.” . Accessed 4 Feb. 2017.


Elizabeth Spragins
11/09/17 05:17:00PM
10 posts

Eilean Munde[1]

West Coast Eisteddfod Online Poetry Competition 2017

The Highland mist conceals a sacred isle
Where green of moss embraces gray of stone
That marks the grave of one who fell to guile
Of clansmen who betrayed him to the throne. [2]

In life he donned the mantle of a laird
And rested hand on hilt of sword or dirk
But slept unarmed by winter hearth he shared
With those who broke his bread and shamed the kirk.

The daughters of the dead succumbed to snow
And prayed with frozen lips for shelter’s grace.
At death’s approach they glimpsed a jeweled bow
That bridged the clouds from loch to holy place.

But duty tethered falcons to the wrist,
And souls foreswore the sunrise for the mist.

~Loch Leven, Scotland

First published in Glass: Facets of Poetry , no. 4 (Apr. 2017): 13.

[1] Graveyard Island, a burial ground for several Scottish clans (including the MacDonalds), is located on Loch Leven.

[2] In 1690 William of Orange defeated James VII of Scotland at the Battle of the Boyne.  To erode any remaining support for the Stuart (Jacobite) cause, King William offered to pardon rebels who swore allegiance to him by New Year’s Day of 1692.  Delayed by a snowstorm, the Laird of the MacDonalds of Glencoe did not swear fealty promptly.  When the king’s men (under Robert Campbell) subsequently requested shelter from the laird, he welcomed them as guests.  The soldiers enjoyed his hospitality for several days and then rose up against their host before dawn on February 13, 1692.  Thirty-eight MacDonalds, including their chief, died in what came to be known as the Massacre of Glencoe.  Dozens of women and children died of exposure when they fled their burning homes.


“The Massacre of Glen Coe.” BBC , 19 Sept. 2014. Web. . Accessed 30 Jan. 2017.

MaCaulay, Thomas Babington. The History of England. Vol. 4 (of 5), chapter XVIII. Project Gutenberg Ebook History of England 2613. Produced by Martin Adamson and David Widger. Philadelphia: Porter & Coates: 23 June 2008. Google Book Search. Web. . Accessed 30 Jan. 2017.