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 benevolent water-cleaning-purifying 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 -close-adjacent-near-here 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 overrulings overturnings dismantlings hailed and hollered and whooped for the repeals amendments sanctions reparations 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 summarising cogent lilting address 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 Doire Derry 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 then (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) set settle 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 then until a drove of Hares made a coalition of care
Biddy the witch barrister writes her notes up connects her tacit taut arguments reinforces seals fastens secures in Oak gall balls (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
deliberations considerations 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 stop 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.