toothless and afraid

Hello, my digital friends. Welcome!

If you have never seen pictures of the Giant’s Causeway in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, please take a moment to Google it.

I know! AMAZING!

Legend holds that the Irish giant Fionn Mac Cumhaill (aka Finn McCool (best name ever!)) built this stone bridge to battle the Scottish giant Benandonner.

As he approached Scotland, Fionn realized he was far outsized by Benandonner, and ran back to the shelter of his home in Ireland, Benandonner in hot pursuit.

Fionn’s wife Oonagh saved the day, disguising Fionn as a baby in their bathtub.

She invited Benandonner in to wait for Fionn’s “return.” Highlighting their giant baby, Oonagh terrified Benandonner at the prospect of how big Fionn might actually be up close if their baby was so huge.

Adding insult to injury, the wily Oonagh prepared the nervous Benandonner sweet cakes filled with iron griddles, which shattered his teeth.

Toothless and afraid, Benandonner fled back to Scotland, destroying the Giant’s Causeway in his wake to prevent future incursions by Fionn.

With that as backstory, onto the poem…

It is fun – and challenging – to write poetry that uses these legendary allusions to better thicken the poetic stew.

But the intention of the poem is not only to retell an amazing legend in verse. What else does this poem make you think about or feel?

My wife said she learned that size does not matter. Which I am very appreciative of. Hehe.

As always, I would love to hear your reactions to the poem in the Comments Section below.

-PS Conway ☘️ ☘️ ☘️

☘️ ☘️ ☘️ ☘️ ☘️

toothless and afraid

giants holler ‘long the Antrim coast

midst the pounding surf

stepping stones, reminders,

that distance makes things smaller

a trick of the eye, so far away,

only to discover

‘tis a mighty other

a Benandonner come to crush your bones

and but for love, in all its rile,

a mythical man

or a giant child

and all the while

a guest fed cakes cooked with steel (not oats)

who flees in fear back ‘cross the sea

from whence he first came

covering his trail

in his mighty wake

made toothless and afraid


    1. PS – not sure what happened the backstory was deleted?? Check it out again. Let me know if it all pulls together a little better? 🙏🏻🌹🍷✨

    1. Cheers, Anish! Indeed, these old Gaelic legends are amazing unto themselves… borrowing them for poetic purposes is all the more fun. ☘️🙏🏻🍷✨

  1. There was a version of this story in our school reader and the kids always loved it. What I appreciate is how the woman who loves Finn becomes his savior as she is so cunning and brave. Thanks for reminding me of this fun legend Pat.

    1. It’s so great to hear that these great Celtic legends still have some visibility, Naomi. Fionn’s wife is the absolute rockstar of this tale… over a thousand years later and perhaps some early inklings of feminism taking seed? Cheers 🥂 ☘️🙏🏻🌹✨

  2. Your lyrical words ignite the imagination as you write of the Irish Legend of the Giant’s Causeway . We must not loose our mysteries, legends, fables and fairytales, they are part of our culture.
    Today’s young seem so determined to live in a virtual world created by technology, that I fear all will be lost.
    The spectacle of the causeway will endure of course.
    My final thought … you can take the man out of Ireland but you cannot take Ireland out of the man 🇮🇪 ☘️. Love the poem, keep them coming.

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