Celts and exile

In Celtic cultures, exile was considered a worse punnishment than death, reserved for those who had committed unpardonable offences. For us moderns, exile is less of an issue. If we are thrown out of one community or banished from our families, it is much easier to start over somewhere else. Exile is not the source of shame it once was. However, it still happens. Groups of people can choose to cast out and entirely reject another, for all kinds of reasons. So, these are the concepts I was playing with when I wrote this poem.


You have crossed the line

Breaking relationship with dishonour

Showing no remorse.

Duty is to those who return it,

Loyal to those who remain true,

Trust only where faith is given.

Your speech lacks mindfulness

Actions without heart and compassion

There is a rot in your soul.

We are careful of each other

But you have chosen to be outside

And broken the bonds of tribe.

Cruelty does not beget kindness.

Betrayal will not earn affection

These are laws of nature.

If fear and jealousy give reason

We see no merit in those, no honour.

You had an obligation to do better.

We are not responsible for your fall

For your choice to be unworthy,

We merely release you from sundered ties.

You will go forth an exile.

We will not look upon you again,

Nor shall your name be spoken.

Henceforth you are an irrelevance

The path you chose awaits you,

And we shall see you no more.

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