in the Marl walled court of the Fairyqueen by Laura Ní Fhlaibhín

in the Marl walled court of the Fairyqueen

** June 9th 2020: a lifting of 5km travel restrictions in Ireland means I begin travelling daily from my parents home to Tinahely Market House, the community studio, in the same place as the old courthouse and jail, and in the room where the petty sessions happened. I’m reading ‘The Midnight Court’ by Brian Merriman, translated from Irish to English by Frank O’Connor, in the room of the petty sessions, over the jails, and I’m thinking Merriman’s poem is an aisling of the satirical sort.****

between the years 1845-1849
where I am now
there was phytophthora infestans pathogen virus late-blight oomycete
there was exponential rise in prosecutions penalties fines custodial sentences ejectments
where I am now
between the years 1845-1849

out with such a judiciary!

replace overturn overrule overwhelm oust squash
hurl down the road
run out of town
good riddance
to bad
faulty weighted tilted skewed in favour of the swelled fattened inflated titillated
court sittings

in with the Fairyqueen’s court!

justice and mercy hand in hand sit in the courts of Fairyland

the emblem of court,
the Fairyqueen declares and decrees,
the insignia, the seal, the stamp and the flag,
she decrees, she declares,
is the Hare,
lest we’er forget, 
lest we’er grow complacent,
a drove of Hares
makes a coalition of care!

Byzantia’s metallic cups, all five of them, are here
in the court chambers
finest cleanest highest of the high grades of polished smoothed spun stainless steel
and in each cup rests a charcoal carbon filter stick
Weepingwillow carbonised branches
and the emblem of the Fairyqueen’s court is inscribed into all cups,
for a drove of Hares makes a coalition of care

and matters proceed differently here in the Fairyqueen’s court
laws favour the feverish
those that lived in Marl
those that needed respiration
those with underlying health conditions and
those in the death ships

(classification of Marl in the classification of dwellings in 1841
where I am now
class 4 dwellings classifies a cabin held together with Marl mortar:
5,950 households resided in Marl
class 1 classifies a dwelling with upwards of nine rooms with windows:
716 households resided in rooms and windows definitively not Marl
where I am now)

we dug for Marl now
slate grey gold marbled sealed resistant slabs half a metre down
Marl brings pools
blue Marl brings midnight illuminations
Marl brought quick-soil reckoning reparation pits
booby sediment traps for the feckless warlord to sink into as he surveyed the colonies
Marl brings resistance!

and in the Fairyqueen’s court
blue Marl has been fired into brick slabs of resistance
that glisten and illuminate and seal
with further blue Marl brick corbeling
by the panelled door

and in this case,
in the Fairyqueen’s court
the representative for the state is Biddy Early
(here, state implies the Fairyland realm,
porous places,
most preferred realm that refutes the plantations and the colonies and capital hoards and burnings and binaries and apartheids and lynchings and hunts and ejectments of those that resided in Marl mortar cabins)
allied with
the systemically miniaturised enslaved infected colonised plagued whipped abducted illegitimised- now spirits
and those very near dead-becoming spirits
from the
near passings
carbonising still
pandemic passings

Biddy Early the barrister witch
wise woman herbalist botanist animist
who lived and practised and planted and healed and cared with Hares in East Clare, Feakle,
the very spot where Brian Merriman conjured up The Midnight Court
Feakle allies
she travelled to be here

Biddy makes the case
the tacit taut argument
the nimble dexterous judicial wordplay
on behalf of the multiplicities of spirits who in the earth realm were
shrunk to thumb-size

Brian Merriman would have risen in the courthouse here
where I am now
he would have applauded the
hailed and hollered and whooped for the
in favour of those who shovelled Marl
in favour of those who dug Marl reckoning pits
(and they would have toasted and roasted her judicial dexterity with brandy and red faces and red noses and singing and dancing in all the public houses of Tinahely)

and in Biddy’s closing
in the same moment
outside the court,
in the fields that were very recently recovered from phytophthora infestans oomycete
an armada of deathships glide through the waving green crop, such as:
Swallow 1797
Swallow 1798
Swallow 1805
now polished Oak hulls because we are in the realm of the Fairyqueen’s court
where Oak has been reclaimed
and returned to the pulverised
Oak allies
in a death rite sea green waving field passage
watchfully respectfully mournfully attended by a drove of Hares

there is a forest near here
Oak grove
and those lands were fenced and overwhelmed
and Oaks were cut and chopped and carted off and sailed out
to westminster
Doire Derry beams
straddling holding beams bearing the system

The Fairyqueen would later decree
Oak beams will be
with the most care and consideration and attention,
taken from westminster
the system will not hold
(cue further toasting and roasting of Biddy’s judicial dexterity with brandy and red faces and red noses and singing and dancing in all the public houses of Tinahely)

Oaks will be polished with balm
(I can tell you how to make a balm
without too much bother
and massage Oak beams
and each other’s hands and bodies
oil-like vegetable or Olive or Almond-
Beeswax -if you are near Beehives you can talk with the Beekeeper and perhaps an ally becomes
and preserve with oil of Thyme or Lemonbalm
three and a half cups of oil
one cup of Beeswax
heat gently in a bowl balanced on a pan of hot water
and stir a lot and attend
and when in a liquid state add some drops of Thyme or Lemonbalm
and pour into Byzantia’s metallic cups)
over the Hare insignia

and softened hydrated repaired Oaks
will bend to accommodate the curve of the spirit ships
so as to glide in the ritual shapeshifting of deathships, such as:
Swallow 1797
Swallow 1798
Swallow 1805
into very visible and illuminated recently recovered from death-blight-famine-oomycete-laboured fields that received no relief
until a drove of Hares made a coalition of care

Biddy the witch barrister writes her notes up
connects her tacit taut arguments
in Oak gall
(foraged from the forest
balls bubble and boil in a pan
for a couple of hours
until treacle syrup black
immortal ink)
she writes in favour of the feverish

in the court chambers
sips from Byzantia’s cups
of Weepingwillow filtered water
into the early hours
at the midnight court

until finally the Fairyqueen’s decree:

(cue even more toasting and roasting of Biddy the barrister witch’s judicial acrobatics with brandy and red faces and red noses and singing and dancing in all the public houses lock-ins and early houses of Tinahely and beyond)

and statues will be smeared and daubed and submerged in sedimentary piles and heaps of moist grey gold Marl
last greedy belches of fat and jelly and sweetmeals swell and squirm and move the mud
then settle
toasted and roasted in giant kilns commissioned by the final recommendations of the Fairyqueen’s court
systemic change
and in a wondrous chance of alchemy,
the wretched statues combust and disappear and are made invisible, leaving not a trace or atom or molecule
except glorious towering grey gold blue Marl spirits
returned in gigantic panoramic cinematic scale

the commissioned kilns
fired them up and glazed them with carbon ashes
and Adam’s motorbike gases for good measure.

Laura Ní Fhlaibhín completed her MFA at Goldsmiths, University of London in 2019 and her BA at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin in 2013. Recent exhibitions have included ‘Róisín, silver, rockie’ solo show at Palfrey Space,London 2020, ‘Caol Áit1/2’, 126 Galway 2020, Burren College of Art, Ireland, 2019; Deptford X, London, 2018; Tulca Festival of Visual Arts, Galway, 2018; ‘Water jets were used on the four corners of the building’, Newington Art Space, London, 2018; ‘a speech that showed the chair in the middle’, Enclave, London, 2018; ‘Dodecagon’, Space Union, Seoul, 2017; ‘Lamellae’, The Lab, Dublin, 2016. She is the current recipient of Goldsmiths MFA Graduate Almacantar Studio Bursary Award, and Burren College of Art Emerging Irish Artist Residency award. She was awarded Firestation Dublin Studio Bursary 2020 and Tyrone Guthrie Residency 2020.

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