Monday, March 12, 2012

“Beginning” of the Week #5

With Saint Patrick’s Day less than a week away, Fresh-scraped Vellum is focusing on all things Irish! So for the “beginning” of this week I’ve chosen the opening passage from Morgan Llywelyn’s Bard: The Odyssey of the Irish.

This novel was an easy call for today’s “beginning” because it tells the story of the legendary origin of the Irish and their founding of Ireland. As I’ve written before, Morgan Llywelyn is considered one of the great novelists of early and medieval Irish history; you can read my review of one of her finest books, Lion of Ireland, here. The opening passage of Bard focuses on the story’s protagonist, Amergin, and his yearning for a green land he has yet to discover outside of his imagination:

See a tall man pacing alone on the twilight beach, caught between the dying day and the incoming tide. Smell the moist air, heavy with salt. Hear the lapping of the waves slapping the shore, the hiss of their withdrawal, their rushing return. Tide flirting with sand, seducing, inviting, whispering tales from beyond the dark sea. 
Dark sea, fading light, and an old familiar restlessness combined to haunt Amergin the bard. All his life he had suffered an itch in his soul, a formless yearning that blew toward him on the north wind. The green wind, he named it to himself, for to Amergin it seemed laden with verdant aromas from some fair otherworld existing only in his imagination. Yet the north wind persisted in torturing him with hints of that achingly beautiful and unreal land, his heart’s home.
– Morgan Llywelyn, Bard: The Odyssey of the Irish

Read about the Sons of Mil and the Tuatha Dé Danann!
While these first two paragraphs contain only a hint of conflict, the passage suggests for the reader that a long and rich journey lies ahead. But I’m curious as to your thoughts – does this opening make you yearn to read more?

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