My Bright Full Moon

This week, a friend linked me to a song and after I heard it, I couldn’t stop crying. After that, I had to look up the lyrics and even though they were strong, they didn’t… feel right?

I don’t know if that makes sense. Part of it was trying to wrestle Google translate + an older version of the song (found online) plus the fact that some words hold several meanings.

So… I came up with this. It is, admittedly, a poor adaptation / translation by me of the aisling ‘Mo Ghile Mear’, originally told by Eire to the poet Seán Clárach Mac Domhnaill, who dutifully wrote it down.

A small bit of history: In the 17th to 18th century, the ‘aisling’ or dream vision poetry swept through Island. The format was that a divine woman would appear in the song, mourn the state of Ireland and predict a return of fortunes.

Mo Ghile Mear deviated from this formula in that the lady in question was the land Herself and that she was mourning someone who had left. For the poet, it served as a lament and pointed political commentary, as to him it lamented the loss of Bonny Prince Charlie.

It hit me very differently. For me, it was Eire, goddess of the land and of its people, mourning her first mortal love, Nuada. In the tradition of the tribes, the men had no power, save for their intimate connection to the force of the earth, herself. He was ‘king’ only because of that relationship and that could be rescinded at any time. In Nuada’s tale, it was, for a short time, when he lost his arm in battle, and rulership of the land was given to the Fomor, Bres.

Bres’ relationship proved to be abusive and Nuada was restored to power when he was given a silver arm. Nuada successfully ruled for twenty more years before, like all mortal things, he died.

To me, this song will always be her love lament, sung as he sunk beneath the hills to the Sunset Lands.


For a turn of tide, I was a fair maid,
But now I’m a widow of passionate pain.
For my love plowed through the wild waves
To the hills that lie beyond my reach.

He is my hero, my bright full moon.
He is my lord, my bright full moon.
I cannot rest, nor find my self,
Since my bright full moon has left me.

Every day, I feel it’s weight,
Tears burning, like the break of dawn.
For I sent my boy to the distant land
And I cannot describe my sadness.

He is my hero, my bright full moon.
He is my lord, my bright full moon.
I cannot rest, nor find my self,
Since my bright full moon has left me.

The cuach cannot sing at noon.
There are no whispers among the oaks.
No rest in glen, nor summer morn,
Since my beautiful boy has left me.

He is my hero, my bright full moon.
He is my lord, my bright full moon.
I cannot rest, nor find my self,
Since my bright full moon has left me.

Bright full moon, now hear us weep.
For Eire is wreathed in widow’s cloak.
I cannot rest, nor find my self
Since my bright full moon has left me.


Choral Scholars of University College Dublin   Feb 5, 2016
Traditional Irish arr. Desmond Earley | Text by Seán Clárach Mac Dómhnaill

art by: Gwillieth, Through the Mist and Rustling Leaves

Back to Top

Discover more from William Thomas Bucclan

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading