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"Awen yn codi o'r cudd ac yn cydio'r cwbl"
- Waldo Williams
(Awen arising from hiding and everything binding)



CURLEW





A song alive in memory, though long unheard
Ripples across the years to present the past:
The moorland landscape of Mynydd Bach,
Llyn Eiddwen with water lobelia growing
Through the shallows of the lake and the song
Of the curlew bubbling up to crescendo
Over the cotton grass on the bog on the far side
Where a ruined tower, a folly, sinks into the mire.

All this brought back in vivid re-call
But not so clear as the haunting call
Which would wake the dead and lull the living to sleep
As a woven strand in the song of Rhiannon’s Birds.
So past, present and future meet
In a song that is never forgotten, always heard.

~*~

“I want the Birds of Rhiannon, they that wake the dead and lull the living to sleep, to entertain me that night.”

Ysbaddaden Pencawr from Culhwch and Olwen


More about Llyn Eiddwen HERE

Sanderlings

Sanderlings on Borth Beach. Photo: Lyndon Lomax


On this stony beach with its undertow of sand
the outcrops of peat are trees from another time
that the retreating sea reveals. At the tideline
they flock, lined up for a while along the edge
bobbing into and over the breaking waves
then gathering and rising as one into air,
dropping further along the beach to line up again.
Listening for the notes of Rhiannon’s birds, that refrain

far out on the horizon, I catch, closer, the sanderlings’ song,
an intermittent liquid sharpness through the hiss of the sea.
So it’s here that the enchantment is, on this beach
where I stand between worlds of rock and water,
in the half-heard call of birds from far arctic tundra
wintering on a coast where time ebbs under.


~*~


“...far out over the sea, their song was clear as if they were with them” 
The Birds of Rhiannon, from the Second Mabinogi.

Winter Festivals




Eponalia was celebrated on 18 December in the calendar of Roman feast days as the festival of the Gaulish goddess EPONA. 
There is an inscription from Gaul which counts back  from ‘New Year Calends’, seeming to suggest a sequence through the Midwinter period:

‘XV Kalendas Ianuarius Eponae’ 

~*~

Darkness falls 
on the ivy leaf

Yulelight glistens 
on the holly bough

As red fire stirs 
in the kindling.

We count three days
to the longest night

Three more till the glimmer
of a longer day

Then seven to the eve
of New Year Calends

These days we count
from the Feast of Epona

First festival
of the Year’s turning.


BEETLE

It ran sideways out of the leaf-litter, black&gold, living a life in a garden I regard as my domain, shaped here, pruned there, but not controlled. This beetle, dwelling beyond words, has its own life there unheeding, older than the garden and the hedgerow on the hillside and the oak tree in the field that was here before the houses, each ripple and fold of earth keeping its own time that ancestors of this beetle knew; insects untold have bred here until now, this instant of time in which I watch it scuttle off into leaf mould I have laid upon the the soil, stored and sifted for a winter mulch, where it will find a home, this beetle, this gift, a gem whose black&gold I cannot contain in my mind; but out there in the vastness of time that is the garden it lives, always new however old.

On a Welsh Beach

M.C.Escher (Wikiart)


‘... dyuot tri ederyn, a dechreu canu udunt ryw gerd’

“... three birds came and began to sing a song to them, and all the songs they had ever heard before were unpleasing compared to that song. They had to look far out over the waves to see them but they were so clearly present to them as if they were with them.”

                               §

                     Birds of Rhiannon singing, where sea meets sky,
                     A shifting border at the merging of worlds
                     Their littoral music like the tides on the shore
                     Ebbing and flowing onto the land, into the air;
                     Cloudscapes of sound, now drifting, now clear
                     Like the horse she rides: now here, now there;
                     The boundaries of time, of place, don’t cohere
                     On the island of Gwalës on the sea, in the air.

                      The company holds in a vision somewhere,
                      A blissful communion, a binding of hearts,
                      Until a hand reaches out to open the door
                      And the song melts away in a breaking wave
                      So the land and the sea and the sky
                      Take their place in the world once more.


                                       §


“When they looked through the door all the losses they had ever suffered fell upon them ..... as if they were waiting to meet them.”



Quotations from the Second Branch of the Mabinogi. The company returning from Ireland with the head of Brân spend eighty years on the Island of Gwalës, though when they return they are no older and no time has passed in the world they left to go to the island. 


Passing

A horse glides
On the edge of dream;
A horse is ridden
On the edge of dream.

Does it glide or is it ridden?

The dream slides between.

Here she rides,
There she is hidden
Shrouded in gloom.

A flickering presence
Between Now and Dark Moon:
Waxing then waning
Ridden then not-ridden.

As light thins
A shadow passes,
A palpable darkness grows.

Orion rises from hidden skies,
 Hunter of the Winter Lands.




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