Poetry & Prose

Here you will find some of my longer prose pieces, and poems from across the years.

Poetry & Prose

The Cauldron – A Druid Creation Myth

I love creation stories.

I love Genesis, the Norse creation tale, the ones created by Tolkien in the Silmarillion, the many creation stories of indigenous cultures and peoples around the world.

It breaks my heart that we have lost our Celtic creation stories.

Some say that the story of Cerridwen and Taliesin is a form of creation myth, and I can see that but I still yearn for one of our own. So this morning I went into meditation and asked for guidance, to look into the Cauldron of Awen and scry the past.

To go back to the beginning and see how I would word those first moments of the Universe.

Well, here it is. I think it’s only the beginning of a larger body of work, and I might record it as a audio file too. I hope you enjoy where the Old Ones have led me so far!

 

 

In the beginning there was the Void.

And in that Void there was silence.

But there came upon the Void a Sacred Breath,

And thus the Void began to turn.

And in that turning a shape emerged,

Moving, turning, drawing in,

Edges of the Void began to form,

And as the edges formed they became like iron,

So the shape grew into that of the great Spinning Cauldron.

And the Cauldron held the Void within its heart.

As the Cauldron turned so it created the first sound,

A single note that filled the Void,

A voice singing in praise of its own creation,

A voice that called into the Void,

And that note became a word,

And the word was Don,

And Don became the earth, and rock, and stone,

And thus it was that land was formed.

Don sang her note of the Land,

But Don was lonely.

She was dark and barren,

So Don wept in her loneliness,

And her salt tears became the seas, rivers and oceans,

And so it was that the Cauldron sung its second note,

And harmony was born into the darkness,

As the note of Land, joined with the note of sea,

Llyr raised his head from the water,

Don felt his kiss upon her skin,

With every breaking wave.

And she smiled.

So the sea caressed the land,

Llyr’s touch upon her dark skin,

And Don sighed with pleasure,

As a third note was sung,

And the harmony became a song,

The breath of love,

Of Llyr and Don,

Of sea and land,

Created the sky,

And Beli Mawr opened his shining eye,

And there was light.

Colloquy of the Oak and Holly King

(The words in the audio above are for the Winter Solstice, and the words below are for the Summer Solstice, so they differ, but you have both)

 

Cold and bright the solstice dawn breaks through the heol-stone gate,
Time out of mind the stones have stood marking the zenith and the nadir of the sun’s journey across the sky.
Cut by our ancient hands, with stone on stone they were shaped and pulled from the earth’s embrace,
Mile on mile moved and with magic raised upon this sacred land.
And at this time of the Solstice,
The Holly King waits within the Stones.
He waits in darkness, and stillness,
For the coming of the dawn,
The rising of the Sun,
And the footsteps of his Oaken-leafed brother.
Whilst the Awen……is sung.

 

Brother, what is your name?

To which the Oak King replies,
Not hard to answer!
I am Hafgan, Lord of the Waxing Year,
I am the King of Oak,
I bring bud to leaf,
Bring life to the Earth,
I banish the cold of Winter,
And welcome the warmth of Spring,
And you my brother, what is your name?

 

To which the Holly King replies,
Not hard to answer!
I am Arawn, Lord of the Waning Year,
I am the King of Holly,
I strip bare your leaf-ridden trees,
I bring darkness to this land,
……and peace,
I banish the warmth of Summer
And welcome the iciness of Winter.
Brother, where do you come from?

 

To which the Oak King replies,
Not hard to answer!
I come from Annwn, the Otherworld.
And at the time of your greatest power I am born into this world of Abred,
Called by the singing of the Birds of Rhiannon,
The warmth of my breath, and my seed, awakens the life within my Queen,
And the land is bathed in the beauty of our love,
Whilst Annwn is ruled by Winter and Ice,
So Abred blossoms, caressed by the heat of my gazing eye.
And you my brother, where do you come from?

 

To which the Holly King replies,
Not hard to answer!
I come from Annwn, the Otherworld,
And at the time of your greatest power I am born into this world of Abred,
I ride on Rhiannon’s horse to claim my throne,
Laughing with the Wild Hunt I ride through the night sky,
My cold breath will make way for the coming of the Cailleach,
And the land will be bathed in the beauty of ice and darkness,
Whilst Annwn blossoms, in your heat,
So Abred will have peace, reflection, and renewal,
Guarded by Orion of the Silver Belt.
Brother, what art do you perform?

 

To which the Oak King replies,
Not hard to answer!
I lift the saddened heart,
Bring life to death,
Shape the hidden green,
Give flight to birds and insects,
My Bards sing upon their wing,
My orchestra plays music within the wind,
Life returns, and in that space where thought becomes dream,
Lovers walk upon the warm earth,
And lay under the stars, and the Sun, together.
And you my Brother, what art do you perform?

 

To which the Holly King replies,
Not hard to answer!
I give space to thought,
Bring renewal from death,
Bring rest to life, transformation to your crown of green,
I light the inner fire, and the hearth,
And quicken the heart of the beast,
My Bards are the stillness of the winter sky,
The reflection on the water,
The tears of the ice,
Life returns to that place where dreams are forgathered,
Lovers lie before the flickering fires in their homes,
And new life is nourished as my Lady strips bare the branches,
And lays her cloak across the land.
And I am here my Brother, to take my crown.

 

Then take this crown, but know this –
Even though you begin your rule,
My heat will grow,
My fire will ripen the fruit,
Turn the fields from green to gold,
And warm the oceans.
For although you take the power of light.
I retain the power of heat,
Until your Lady joins you,
At Samhain.

The Horned God – An Unofficial Biography

AT FIRST I WAITED.

 

For how long I don’t know – how can the unborn know of time? I waited in the blackness, stirred by Her hand, blending, changing, from man to beast, then back to man again. Never thinking of the future, nor of a past that never was, but, waiting. Then as humankind became aware, I was born. Born of their need for food, for wanting, no, needing someone to help them find their purpose. And in that cave, lit only by one flame, plants became colour, and colour became a vision, and that vision became a God – and I became that God. Borne from the wishes of the simplest of minds it was my destiny to stay, and protect.

 

So, at first I ruled as the stag and God of the Hunt. Invoked with blood and sweat and the chase. I led the hunt through the forest and it was I who bent the branches to scratch and tear and cut. For without effort, what is the point of life? Without hunger, what would feed the spirit? Without need, all life would die. So, their sorcerer stood in bloodied skins, and raised his hands and called my name. Then he fell to the ground and skin became fur, and feet became hooves. Blood gushed as my antlers pushed through bone and sinew to arise with seven tines, one for each of the moving lights within the blackness above. Stood before them I held my head proud and tall – none met my gaze, they just breathed the stench of death and the copper taint in the blood filled air. They breathed this and it filled them with the hunger, ready to face their own death in order to feed the tribe. Drums suddenly filled the silence, and the hunters danced my dance, invoking my spirit into there bodies. Giving me more life, and more power. Until, proud in full erect manhood I screamed my name again and again, and they span around the fire, their throats calling with the guttural call of the rutting stag, telling it’s spirit that the tribe must live! And it must die for the tribe! Then in an instant they were gone – as the drums suddenly stopped they disappeared into the forest without a sound.

 

And that is how it was. Until others became aware of me. They called me by another name, as I chased the virgins through the forest in a land beside a warm sea. How they laughed as their white dresses were torn, and they wondered at me. They danced as my pipes played, awakening the animals and birds. But when they saw me they laughed no more. I loved them all, as only a God can love his women, and after, the land was reborn into Spring. With every caress I dressed the bare branches with my green skin and I played my pipes as others made love under my gaze. This I did to help the Wheel turn through the seasons. Until an arrow from a hunters bow changed me, and took me to an oak within a great forest on a green island, that floated like a leaf upon the sea.

 

Here I stayed, happy with my new home. The people here transformed me back into my first form – the Stag God – and I watched over the animals of the forest, and the life of the Land. My face was seen in every tree and plant, my gaze from the eyes of deer and bear. The people respected the land as their Mother, and I ruled with their Mother, and together we bore fruit for the people – that was the way of things, and it worked. Of course the people became sick, but what animal does not become sick? Only humans want to live forever, and no matter how they try, they will always fail – nothing lives forever. An animal knows when it is time to die, even when its destiny is to feed the people. I have watched the strongest stag turn to face the hunters and bow its head in self sacrifice, acknowledging its fate. Yet does humankind return this to the starving wolf, or bear? When it is they who are food, they are not so forgiving. Neither are they when the hunger comes from the cold of winter, when the long nights and disease claim the weak. Yet through it all, my Lady and I walked the land, and maintained the balance. From winter, through spring, summer and autumn our footsteps brought life, and beneath her black raven’s cloak, she brought death. But there in the blackness, if you listen carefully, you will always hear the sound of a newborn baby crying for its mother’s breast. For although nothing lives forever, all things are reborn, and we show you this with the rising of the tides, the cycles of the moon, and the turning of the seasons.

 

Even Gods change, and sometimes they die. I died beneath an elder tree within the great forest, shot by a single arrow, but I was reborn in human form. The people made their king their God. The life of the land became an act of sovereignty, and the fitness of the ruler was judged by the fruitfulness of the crops. If the crops flourished, then the king was strong and good, and was worshipped by the people as the chalice that contained the life-blood of the land. If the crop failed, then the king was sacrificed, his blood spilled upon the earth to fertilise and bring new growth, and another king was chosen to fulfill his destiny as sovereignty saw fit. It was thus that my spirit moved into the spirit of humankind for the first time. I pushed my way into physical life and grew as any other man would grow – except I would be king. I lived within the spirit of every king that breathed life and died. I fought for Her, for my lover, for the land. I fought disease, poverty, and invaders, but sovereignty can be a real bitch, and it was She who decided to add a third aspect to the game.

I had ruled as the mightiest warrior ever seen. I had married sovereignty and devoted my life to Her as my Queen. But sovereignty was restless, so She seduced me as my sister and gave birth to my Son. He grew to be strong, I should be proud of him. However, the cycle changed, and I knew it would be my destiny to fight him for the control of the waxing year. She was no longer content with one lover, she needed two – one for her darker nature, as Her icy breath blew the last remaining leaves from the trees. The other to be her consort through the summer meadows and quicken the fruit within her belly – to laugh with her and play under the heat of the Sun. I was a God, and so I accepted my new role. I placed the Crown of Oak upon my troubled brow, and turned to face my son, with his Crown of Holly, at the time the sun stands still – the Solstice.

 

I lost the fight.

 

I returned again, but this time into the body of a foreign Prince. However, with the land filled with distrust at invaders, and seemingly suffering from bad rulership, I was shot by a misaimed arrow, at least that is what the history books will tell you. The ‘Rufus Stone’ now marks this place and that was the last time I dwelt within the body of a Human King. Corruption bred within their incestuous veins and I walked away, leaving them to their carnal pleasures and greed, and I moved my spirit into an outlaw. Within the forest I lived, stealing from the greedy and returning wealth to the people who still worshipped me. In green I dressed and gold I gave. Never was I caught, and never was I seen – except for the hooded cloak I wore, which was seen moments before Herne’s arrow tore into flesh. I was celebrated and cheered, yet none knew of my more, shall we say, Godlike tendencies. Apart from one woman, who was the first mortal I ever loved as a man can love a woman. She danced the dance of beauty, and I could not help but step into the rhythm with her. And we made love and my essence blended with Humanity’s and lives within you all still. Marion, Queen of the Wild, I love you as I have ever loved you. Yet I am immortal, and I watched her die in my arms and shed tears that fed the earth, and with every teardrop a vixen wailed in the night, searching for their mate – as I will for eternity search for mine. I retreated – I needed time to heal.

 

For a while I rested in darkness. Darkness so thick I could almost reach out and touch it. I was for the first time, confused with my role. In the beginning it was simple, but now Humankind had changed. They were frightened of other things – no longer as needy for food, yet fearful of disease and petty superstition. They looked to foreign lands for their salvation and that salvation came in the shape of a lonely God. I knew him then as an equal, yet power and corruption changed me from the Lord of the Wild into the Christian Devil. Of course, it never really changed me, but it changed the way I was perceived. So I watched and waited, and there were still those in the countryside who respected and honoured me on my special days. All through the plagues, fires and burnings I was there, but these were strange times. I rule within Nature – I understand that the brighter the light, the darker is the shadow. Nature is self-regulating and needs no ‘other’ to keep life balanced. So, She brings plague, hunger, disease, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, volcanoes, earthquakes. None of these things are evil, they are Her way of keeping the balance. And they remind Humanity that, no matter how advanced they are, they are still part of Nature’s Way, and answerable ultimately to Her.

 

So I waited and watched and then in the shadow I heard the cries of the Island. For out of the Shadow stepped a threat to Sovereignty, and it came twice in quick succession. So I went back into the Cauldron of Beginnings and was reborn, not once, but within the hearts of millions. I picked up a gun within every hand and crossed the water to protect my Lady from plunder. And I screamed victory with every death in the trenches, caked with blood, sweat and mud. I was reborn again, and again, within each brave heart, and I choked on gas, and felt the explosion of blood and bone, but I kept going until the threat had passed.

 

So what of the Horned God now? Where am I? Well, I’m sitting at a bar in London, drinking a wonderful pure malt whiskey. I’m standing behind you in the supermarket, and serving you from the checkout. I am the superstar dressed in a long, leather coat saving the world, and the tramp begging for money. See me within the gaze of every man who values and loves Woman. For all of you are my Goddess, and I will serve you, with all of my power and strength, for as long as the White Wind blows, and there is life here on Mother Earth. So mote it be!

The Song

 

800px-Very_old_Oak_tree

 

I sat beside an old oak tree,

“Listen”, it said.

A melody, so sweet, carried upon the air,

Eyes closed I tasted each note,

I breathed the sweetness,

Heard chuckles in the grass,

As the breath-like wind was cast upon my skin,

By the garments of the Fae.

I heard the call of birds,

And understood,

As they sang in the trees,

Joining the symphony,

That played through the forest,

The Shadows danced,

And the Piper played,

As the Sun set.

I tasted the honey of the Otherworld,

Heartbeat in rhythm,

Inspiration,

My mouth opened,

My breath ached to be free,

Head raised to the sky,

I opened my eyes and saw them,

Sang my note to the Universe,

And joined the Song.

Feet on grass,

Stillness,

Arms raised,

All around me,

The Song was heard,

Across the Universe,

And the Universe,

Was the Song.

Druid

I look behind me and see the face of a poet,
Flaming eyes that know no bounds,
Who understands the secrets of the land, the sea, the sky,
And the language of the birds,
Who can hear the message in the cry of the gull,
In the voice of the wave,
And the cold, dark, Earth.
I look before me.
And see my reflection
And our voices sing the tales of the land,
As the old Druid whispers them to us,
From tree, river, from land of old.

Imbolc

As the dark, cold morning gives way to light,
And the world shows its face dazzling in her nakedness,
So the twigs and leaf-bare branches,
Bow to the passing dance
Of old Jack Frost.

 

His crystal breath on the earth,
And the corners of houses weep icicles of joy.
But where is the Sun’s warmth?
Where is life?

 

A small flower, delicate and pure-white,
Looks to the earth,
As if talking to the waiting green,
“Not yet,” it seems to whisper.
“When I fall, then you can return.”

 

And she nods her head,
as the Lady passes by,
Leaving more flowers in Her wake.

The Corn King

How did I get here? What am I doing here?
Face up on the hard, dry earth
Blinking into the Sun and the clear blue sky
Seeping crimson from my wound.

A face, soft and warm, fills my vision
Holds the scythe that has quickened my death.
She smiles a smile so full of love and the crows call my name.
And I too smile as my lifeblood softens the earth
Feeds the earth, as my body will feed the people.

I was born of the light, a candle in the darkness
And cared for by millions I grew and found my mate
In the greenwood we played, and laughed, and made love
And our cries of ecstasy sent animals to find each other
And their cries woke the Spirits of the Land.

I grew from green to gold in the fields,
As the eye of light gently changed me and I grew old.
A bearded gent with a crooked cane.
Stroked by the caress of the breath of the earth
Until, hair flaming my mate called me,
And cut me down.
And beat me from my body,
And ground me to dust.

So now I return to the earth,
And hear the baying of the Hounds of Annwn.
Arawn, take my soul into your arms
and let me sleep, gently, in the cold, dark earth
Until I feel the spark of light once more.
Calling me to be reborn.

Love

Unriddle me this
What is Love but heartbreak and pain?
I will tell you
The feelings of fullness
Of passion
Of desire

 

But more,
Love is the gentleness of touch
Meeting with smiles in the shadows
The freshener of Spring
The surf of the Wave
A tear of joy,Of wonder
The first leaf to grow, The last to fall
The sweetness of a kiss
The life within breath
A quivering heart
Both shaking in anticipation
Dew on the web
The stillness of the lake
And the wildness of a hurricane

 

Love is the changing seasons
After Love nothing is the same
Love is Fire and Water
Air and Earth
The first gaze of a newborn eye
A giver, a taker,With no remorse
It drinks from the caress of a lovers lips
It is both dark and light
Yielding and forceful
The surrender in a lovers eye
A tower, a prison
And the dearest of keys
This I feel until the last snows melt
The last cuckoo calls
And the last tear falls.

Fed by Decay

Season of death you come once more,
To bring the chill wind,
That calls the birds away,
To some more temperate shore.

 

Trees like claws,
Caught like marionettes,
In still frames, a moment trapped,
Cries held, behind glass doors.

 

Life, sleeping beneath the earth,
Held gently, waiting,
As all drifts away,
To bring rebirth.

 

Yet peace I feel,
Falling into my open heart like snowflakes,
Making small streams of hope,
Then rivers that heal.

 

For all must fall away,
New life to bring,
To call the Spring,
Fed by decay.

Two Faces

A gull settles upon the ocean,
Lifted and dropped by the swell
The ocean holds her,
And the gull trusts that she will not drown,
That the ocean is her friend,
And will not let her down.

 

A tree drops a leaf to the earth,
It falls gently, and lands in shade,
The sun dries it,
The wind blows,
The rain moistens its shiny, brown mirror.
And the tree trusts the earth,
The wind, and the rain are its friends,
And the leaf will feed its children,
To live once again.

 

A man gives of himself,
To others and to his Gods,
Shares his home,
Shares his life,
With his own land, sea, and sky,
His leaf falls to the earth,
His sea becomes storm thrashed,
His seed needs protection,
He trusts his ocean, his earth, his wind, his rain,
But the ocean drowns him,
The rain falls upon him,
The winds tears at him,
And the earth consumes him.

 

He sees his world taken apart,
By those with whom he shared everything,
And he learns.
That the ocean has two faces,
The earth has two faces,
The rain has two faces,
And the wind has two faces.