was to do the following, in the words of TFE:
Relax, blah blah, ham sandwich, yadda yadda, Drambuie, then take
10 mins to look at yourself in the mirror. Look at the colour of your
eyes, the windows of your soul, every tiny blemish, the crows feet,
the lines, the wrinkles, the facade, the public face, the private face.
Well, I was fresh out of Drambuie, but I had a ham sandwich, and
this is what I saw in the mirror:
Deep in the mirror,
her eyes meet mine
in the glow
of her low-ceilinged room.
tends the hearth,
smoors the fire,
rakes my dreams
of earthy peat.
Her besom prayers
while sacred three
light my night.
Then beckons me
with withy broom,
sweeps circled heaps
St. Brighid offers solace
in her cinders.
to my ancient grandmother, Anne Mackie, 1580, Galloway
"Smooring the fire" is an artistic and symbolic ceremony
performed by the woman of the house before retiring for the night.
A ritual blessing, recited over the fire in Gaelic is called "smaladh";
in Scottish, "smooring"; and in English "smothering". The embers
are evenly spread on the hearth and formed into a circle, which is
then divided into three sections, with peat laid between each.
As a prayer to St. Brighid, the first peat is laid down in name
God of Life, the second in name God of Peace, the third in name
God of Grace. The circle is then covered over with ashes
sufficient to subdue, but not to extinguish, the fire in name of the
Three of Light.
This makes me think "smores", the traditional campfire treat,
consisting of a layer of roasted marshmallow and a layer of
chocolate sandwiched between two pieces of graham cracker,
doesn't come from "s'more" or "give me some more", but rather
from the tradition of smooring the fire. Maybe the correct
spelling should actually be "smoors"?
Just so you know, a "besom" is a broom made of a bundle of strong
flexible "withy" or willow stems, the kind you imagine for a witch's
broom. How perfect for me, and so apropos for the season, too.
And hey, did you know St. Brighid is the patron saint of poets?