Posts Tagged ‘Iron Age peoples’


THE GIVING OF NAMES ( continued, part three)


We are the people of the corner lands
The ones dwelling at the edge,
Catching the first of the sun.
Rippling out into the waters
The ribbon ocean wrapped.
White walls our fortresses.
White walls and long pebble walls,
Walls of rock, walls of water.
First home is our home,
First land is our land,
Nooked, swathed, sun-warmed
Honeyed. A hum of bees
In the woodland,
A hum of birds at roost.
Harboured, wave-rocked,
Sea-light our hair, sea-bright
Our faces. Wind-cradled.
The gulls on the tide,
The rushes hiss rippled light.
The forests silent now,
The deer move out to graze
In twilight. Our moon scythe,
Grains of stars, ripe, fall
To our winnowing.


The horned ones
Gather together.
The delicate, fierce ones
Tree-headed, call
Into the dawn air.
A clash of antler,
A clash of bone on bone,
The learned dance, the wild dance.
Sap-sweet, Spring’s blood
As it rises. An arc of lust,
A braying horn, a mighty host.
Dappled, we move in silence.
One by one from shade to sunlit pool,
Grazing, given grace, guardians
Of the deep wood. Stepping light,
A crown upon us, a host of spears,
Scattered glory of light,
We emerge, we disappear,

( the Cantiaci give their name to the county of Kent, in the SE of England. The name means ” peoples of the corner land”. The Cornovii occupied the middle west of England, towards what is now the borders of Wales. They are one of many tribal peoples who name derives from something along the lines of “the horned ones” or “people of the horned one”. In Staffordshire the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance is still performed, where the dancers wear caps attached with sets of deer antlers.)


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THE GIVING OF NAMES (continued part2)


Wrapped deeply
Within the green fold,
The red red bones
Of the mother beneath us.
We, the ones of the deep,
Self-buried in rich soil, become the world,
Who are the world, who recognise the deep,
Resounding valley, water fed, oak shaded.
We are the sound of deep drums,
The rolling thunder on the high moor
Where the red soil rolls back to wrapped valley
And all is weathered grey earth bone, and
The high, wild airs where the dead still live,
The ones who watch, sturdy, rooted.
We are the ones who return, who sleep deep,
Pile on ourselves, ourselves, mulched, turned.
Who feeding, feed the land when we sleep,
Who climb the steeps and cry the clouds down,
Raven -bright our eye, hawk -sure our grip.
We sound, resound, reverberate

( the Dumnonii of Devon in the SW of England, where I live, and the Damnonii of the rolling lands of western Scotland inland from the Ayrshire coast, both derive their names from the root words for “deep” and “earth”. The Dumnonii were unusual at the time in that they buried their dead, rather than using cremation.)


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