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Doolin, County Clare, Ireland 
The King’s Son
by Thomas Boyd

 WHO rideth through the driving rain
   At such a headlong speed?
 Naked and pale he rides amain
   Upon a naked steed.

 Nor hollow nor height his going bars, 
   His wet steed shines like silk,
 His head is golden to the stars
   And his limbs are white as milk.

 But, lo, he dwindles as the light
   That lifts from a black mere, 
 And, as the fair youth wanes from sight,
   The steed grows mightier.

 What wizard by yon holy tree
   Mutters unto the sky
 Where Macha’s flame-tongued horses flee 
   On hoofs of thunder by?

 Ah, ’tis not holy so to ban
   The youth of kingly seed:
 Ah! woe, the wasting of a man
   Who changes to a steed!

 Nightly upon the Plain of Kings,
   When Macha’s day is nigh,
 He gallops; and the dark wind brings
   His lonely human cry.


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(c) 2001 Don Schwager