Ogham Kenning

A “kenning” is a piece of poetry or prose used to remember the order of letters, alphabets or similar lists. A is a type of metaphorical compound word or phrase used as an allusion to a simpler idea which (at the time) would be readily recognized. Ogham Kennings – as in this non rhyming poem – were prose or recitations to remeber a particular order of the letters of the Ogham / Ogam alphabet. It makes reference in the last stanza to reputed kennings attributed to CuCullainn among others for Ogham, which once had 150 or so, which bards and ollamhs would have to learn.

Ogam Stone - also spelt Ogham Stone
Ogam Stone – also spelt Ogham Stone

Look to where the sin rises: dawn breaks [B]
Bringing the day, unleashing light [L]
Low, getting stronger, yet young, the sky fills [F]
From nests, slowly stirring, birds sing [S]
Songs from the branches of the trees now [N]

Near sunset, day ends, however [H]
Holds a cloak over the sun, darkness descending [D]
Dusk takes hold, light fades, sky changes tints [T]
That bring another pallet of colour, black and grey cloud [C]
Changing shades broken by the Moon on her quest [Q]

Queen of the night sky, journeying moon marches beyond midnight [M]
Masked by clouds, in skies together gathered [G]
Great parade of pattern, less seen, now grown  [NG]
Gone at winds will, scattered at nights zenith [Z]
Zen envelopes the forest as if a ruin. [R]

Rain falls, in wind trees sway against [A]
A natural stance of stillness, or [O]
Off shakes the rain falling, their roots underneath [U]
Understand the trees need for water, takes just enough [E]
Even leaves the rest for all, can mankind learn: can I? [I]

I and you, we are but trees, we move, each arm [EA]
Each arm are branches, our feet touch the earth [OI – Oir is the Irish for gold and earth]
Earth stained feet of clay we have, adore Gold, yet the poor mans elbow [UI – Uilleann is elblow in Irish]
Supports his chin as a rich mans does his, in order [IO – ?]
That he be rested, be he bored or feeling ill. [AE – groan of a sick person]

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