A Song of Taliesin (Revised & Expanded)

I was a grain of wheat
In Cerridwen’s belly
That grew into a man.
Gwion Bach devoured,
Reborn with a radiant brow.
 
She sought to inspire
And I was inspired.
Inspiration meant for another,
But fate had other plans.
 
I stirred her Cauldron of Awen,
Its contents burned
Opening eyes and mind.
 
I was there
When the universe
Was a white-hot grain,
And will be there
When it is an ice-cold cloud
Spread thin by time.
 
I was there
In the valley of Rhun,
Before the years had been numbered,
By the shores of sunlight
When the fair ones
First gazed upon the trees.

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Ravens and Crows

I saw one of Wodan’s ravens
— Or was it one of Badb’s crows? —
Through dirty bus windows,
Flying over hard and frozen snow.

Fly on, old friend, with your mission,
And the messages you wish to bestow,
While, across the rivers, through the mountains
To grandmother’s house I go.

But grandmother doesn’t live there
— Or anywhere —
anymore.
So, to grandfather’s
— my father’s —
house I go.

Rails ride into the night,
Past mountain, tree, and snow,
Darkened windows reflect back
Future fears I cannot know.

Ten full moons have passed
Since the Banshee gently wailed,
Calling me back to the valley
Before the light finally failed.

The last time I saw mother’s face,
So weak and fragile her body’d grown
Yet from her eyes, her loving smile,
That old fire still shone.

And now, across snow-capped Cascades
I am called back once more,
For duty, for love, for unpaid debts,
And a destiny I can no longer ignore.

Not the sorrowful Banshee cry,
But crow-caw; raven-whispers,
Wisdom from the One-Eyed Wanderer;
Warnings from the Crow-Queen’s sisters.

The tapestry the Weird Sisters weave
Is completed when the final knot is tied.
Prepared or not, the future will arrive
On schedule, never avoided, delayed, or denied.

And so, I descend into the valley,
The steel steed never slows.
Uneasy, uncertain, yet undeterred,
Ready to sail wherever this river flows.

The future lies in the past
In that half-empty haunted bungalow,
Watched over and silently guided
By brother Raven and sister Crow.

12/30/18 – 04/23/19

Huginn and Muninn (Haiku)

Odinn, Huginn, and Muninn

Two ravens fly out
Watching all under the sky
And returning home.

1/2/19

This haiku is my response to Colleen’s 2019 Weekly #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge No. 117, “Poet’s Choice of Words”

Merlin

Merlin, oh Merlin,
Where did you go?
To search for the sacrificial Raven
And the battle hardened crow?

Did Nimue trap you
In a damp dirty cave?
Are you dreaming ‘neath the hills of Prydein
Of all the lives you failed to save?

But could even you have stopped the slaughter,
The disaster on the fields of Camlann,
The blood drawn, the kingdom lost,
On that wicked day destiny damned?

You put Arthur on the throne,
Twas history that threw him down,
Leaving only pale pretenders
To try and grasp Prydein’s crown.

Merlin, oh Merlin,
Was it worth the cost,
That brief shining moment,
Now forever lost?

9/6-9/27/18

A Song of Taliesin

I was a piece of grain
In Cerridwen’s belly
That grew into a man.
Gwion Bach devoured,
Reborn with a radiant brow.

She sought to inspire
And I was inspired.
Inspiration meant for another,
But fate had other plans.

I stirred her Cauldron of Awen,
Its contents burned
And opened eyes and mind.

I was there
When the universe
Was a white hot grain,
And will be there
When it is an ice cold cloud
Spread thin by time.

I was there
In the valley of Rhun,
Before the years had been numbered,
By the shores of sunlight
When the fair ones
First gazed upon the trees.

I saw the Sword of Light
Forged by the sons of Twerios.
I saw the son of Vandar
Buried in the earth.
Family fragmented
Along the shores dispersed

I was there
When the flood waters came
And Cessair by Bandba was saved.
While Elfhame vanished
Under the waves.

I saw sister Alba
Lost in a foreign land.
Rescued by a knight
From the end of the world,
Reunited with her mother
She would be.

I was there
When Bran crossed the sea
To restore his sister’s honor.
I heard steel strike steel,
I saw the blood river run.

I sailed home
With Manawydan and Pryderi
To bury the king’s head
Facing the foreign lands.

I was there
When Degfed and Lleu
Sailed to Alfheim’s remnants
To make uncle Nudd whole.
The Sword of Light
And hand of silver flesh
Wielded against his brother
To restore him to the throne.

I saw the black blades forged
By twerger hands alone,
For Caswallawn
And the wealthy wolf
To drive the dark ones
From their home.

I saw a king
Seduced by chaos,
Abandoning justice;
Giving rise to a Dark Queen,
Dressed in green,
Bathing a kingdom
In self-indulgence,
Decadence and greed.

I was there
When Alberech
Threw down his cousin
By the black blade of Blaidd,
Watching his sea fortress burn,
A fire he lit
From a far younger land.

I watched
As he walked away
Into wilderness,
Into legends and dreams.

I was there
When the sons of Nemed landed
At the mouth of the Ituna.
Welcomed by fair Queen Uonaidh,
As if she’d been expecting them
All this time.
Giving them land and her daughters
As Prydein gave his name
To the land.

I was there
At Badon
When Arthur earned his name.
I heard the cheers,
I smelled the blood,
And knew it wouldn’t last.

I was there
On the Prydwen with Arthur,
Sailing to Eire or Annwn,
To rescue, to pillage,
And to have glory got.

I was there
At Camlann,
I saw Arthur fall.
Misunderstandings and murder,
Disintegration of the land.

I was there
When Gwion Bach
Stirred the Cauldron of Cerridwen
For and entire year.

I saw him burn,
I saw him alight.

I saw him devoured,
I saw him reborn.

I was there
When Elphin found the babe
And raised him as his own.
I heard him give the boy a name:
Taliesin.

9/7/18

Under the Sídhe

decd142e19a011ce1c1ab64bb25745be

Outside the cities
Under the cairn covered
Hollow hills of Eire,
The Aes Sídhe sit
In mansions bigger
Than the hills
They’re built under.

Driven underground
By the sons of Mil,
As they took the island
From distant cousins.
Naming their new home
In honor of the enemy
They worshiped
Among the oak groves.

Driven underground,
But not the dark damp
Underground of worms, bugs,
And corpses.
Nor the dark black
Caverns of Twerg miners.
Not even the cozy comfort
Of a well furnished
Hobbit hole.
Rather, underground:
Otherside of everywhere,
Inside of the outside,
Parallel to our perception,
Adjacent to reality,
An island covered
In apple trees.

Driven underground
By the followers of
A jealous foreign god,
Who’d brook no rivals.
An enemy more
Cunning and subtle
Than any Formorian,
An incursion not recorded
In the Book of Invasions,
Which was redacted
By the victors.

Driven underground
And diminished
In substance and size,
Demoted
From Gods
To kings,
From physical
Forces of nature
To ephemeral,
Transparent
Fairies and sprites,
Fallen angels
Cast out of the light.
Lucky little leprechauns
Hording pots of gold
At the rainbow’s end,
Or a rainbow of marshmallows
And sugar filled
Cereal bowls
For your breakfast table.

Outside,
Under the hollow hills of Eire.
The Aes Sídhe sit
And wait.

7/28-8/3/18

Note:
Sídhe is pronounced “shee”

History of the Ælfar – Part I (Prose)

Note: This is an excerpt from a larger project that I have been working on for many years concerning the mythical and legendary history of Britain.

Excerpt from

Antiqua
Historia Britanniae

(The Ancient History of Britannia)

by Emrys of Carmarthen (c 390 CE)

Edited by John W. Leys

They came from beyond the horizon, perhaps traveling on sunbeams across the heavens, and settled beyond the north wind. The Eldar, the elder races, who inhabited these lands long before the advent of mankind. Tall and slight of build their delicate features radiate an unexpected sense of power, intelligence, and beauty. Though they are said to have a lifespan several times that of a man, their lives are said to be significantly shorter than their forbearers, who were said to be practically immortal, barring accidents. Whether this is due to, as some claim, interbreeding with mankind, or merely a sign
of entropy’s ever-increasing hold on our world is ultimately unknown. Called the Ælfar, a name thought to be related to the Latin word album (white) due to their pale complexion and the glow they radiate, their ultimate origin is a mystery, even, it would seem, to themselves.

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The Birth of Miðgarðr

An Excerpt from the Recitation of Visions of Ðanuz, High Priestess of Jorð

Listen and attend,
Sons and daughters of
Ash and Elm,
Grandchildren of Yggdrasil,
To the visions and memories
I share and recite.
Older than all your
Gods and kings am I,
More ancient than all your cities
And all your petty borders!

I remember when
Fair Alfheim still stood
Above the waves
Of the Fomoires abode,
Before Falias’ foundation,
Or a single tunnel
Dug out by Dvergar hands
Into the depths below
Niðavellir’s dark fields.

I recall when Alßiz’s kin
First arrives in moonlight
Along the banks of the Rhun,
Long before the sons of Alßiz
Founded the cities of the north,
Before Æliz took up his holy
—If not misguided—
Mission in the east,
Before brother ßanðr fell to darkness
And Chaos.

Generations before the tyrrany
Of Aurgelmir, son of Tiwaz,
Gluttenous Ymir, great-grandson of
Etunaz the bold,
Who brought with him
The Long Winter of Blainn
From which only Woðanaz
And the sons of Borr could thaw
And retore order to the world.

I was there and saw
The Alföðr and his brothers
Raise the walls made
Of Jotnar bones,
To protect the saplings of
Ash and Elm
From the chaos and wrath
Of the surviving insatiable offspring
of Ymir’s loins,
In the garden at the heart
Of the world.

4/16/18

Notes on Pronunciation:
ß = “v”
Đ / ð = “th” as in father
ȝ = “y” as in youth.
Æ = “aye”

Miðgarðr = Mith-garth (“th” as in father)
Ðanuz = Than-ooze (“th” as in father)
Jorð = yorth (“th” as in father)
Yggdrasil = Eeg-drass-ill
Alfheim = Alf-Haym
Dvergar = D-verg-ar
Niðavellir= Nith-a-vel-ear (“th” as in father)
Alßiz = Al-viz
Rhun = Roon
Æliz = Aye-liz
ßanðr = Van-thur (“th” as in father)
Aurgelmir = Our-gel-meer (“g” as in gold)
Tiwaz = Two-az
Ymir = Eye-Meer
Woðanaz = Woah-than-ahz (“th” as in father)
Alföðr = all-fa-ther (“th” as in father)
Jotnar = Yote-nar

My 16th poem for National Poetry Writing Month.

napo2018button2

Dreams of Ancient Álfheimr Before the Flood

Glorious kingdom of the sons of Alßiz,
Stretching from the gleaming towers
Of Taran in Falias,
Near the grove where the wise Oak-Knowers
Taught and discussed the secrets of existence,
To the shadowed streets of Twerias
In the mines of Niðavellir,
Where the Iron-Knowers, sons of Đwerȝaz,
Molded metals into treasures
Fit for gods.

So much lost,
Washed away in the waves,
Hidden under Austri’s sea,
Drowned Dvergar mines,
Flood waters cutting off
The sacred cities of the north
From the lands of man,
Leaving only
The abundant Isle of Ériu
And Ælfeon,
Also known as Ynys Ælfar,
Last isle of the Elves,
Called Myriddunin,
The Sea Fortess
That would be the home and sanctuary
Of the children of Pritan.

3-10-4/1/18

 

My first poem for National Poetry Writing Month.

Pronunciation Key:
ß = “v”
Đ / ð = “th” as in father
ȝ = “y” as in youth.
Æ = “aye”
dd = “th” as in father

Đwerȝaz

Two_Völuspá_Dwarves_by_Frølich

Đwerȝaz,
Đwerȝar Föðr, Twergar Fater, Dvergar Föðr,
Craftsman, smith; miner,
Born of Alβiz Alfar Föðr,
Apprentice to his great smith uncle,
βanðr Døkkálfar,
Called Svartálf, Black Elf,
Preferring the blackness of the mines
To the brightness of the day.

Dug out the labrynth underground
Mine city of Twerias,
Under the misty plains of Niðavellir,
Within sight of the spot
Where moonbeams shone
On the surface of the Rhun,
Where Móðsognir dug
And Durinn forged treasures
For elves, men, and gods:
Swords and spears,
Cups and cauldrens,
War hammers and wigs.

Four treasures for Alfheim,
Destined for Éire.
Thirteen treasures for Albion,
Isle of Alfar.
Six treasures for Asgard,
Forged in mischief,
Powerless to save them from thier doom.

1/16/18

Pronunciation Guide:
Đwerȝaz = Thwer-yaz (“th” as in father)
Đwerȝaz = Thwer-yar (“th” as in father)
Föðr = Fa-ther
Twergar = Twer-gar
Fater = Fah-ter
Dvergar = D-verg-ar (Old Norse, Dwarves, Plural of Dvergr)
Alβiz = Al-viz
Alfar = Al-far (old Norse, Elf)
βanðr =Van-thur (“th” as in father)
Døkkálfar = Dock-Al-Far
Twerias = Twer-ee-ahs
Niðavellir = Nith-a-vel-ear (“th” as in father)
Móðsognir = Moeth-sog-near (“th” as in father)
Alfheim = Alf-haym
Éire = Air-eh

Image:An illustration of two dwarves for Völuspá by Lorenz Frølich. Published in 1895 in Karl Gjellerup’s Den ældre Eddas Gudesange. Found on Wikimedia Commons.