Posts Tagged ‘Iron Age’



We slide spiraling
Ferociously nonchalant
Eyes on fire, laughing.

The tumble of sun on sun
The silk whisper, pale moonlight
Equations piled up,
The footprints marking time,
Precise dancers through space.

A knot upon hillsides,
A marching shadow in the valley.
Enchained to the motion,
Slave of raw power, sudden beauty.

This is our sign.
That we dance the dance
Between dusk and dawn
According to the paths before us.

spirit dancers text1

A continuation of my sporadic project to re-introduce Iron Age Celtic imagery and world-view into the world art vocabulary and other grandiose schemes…..

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Soaring over whin and wild barley,
Watched and watching,
The eagle, cloud-friended, glorious.
The small ones, still, bright eyed,
Amongst the grey rock, stoat and hare.
The grey rock, the grey rock,
Still they stand, scribed and measured,
A dancing floor, a gaming board,
Dyed bright as day, mist-cloaked, wild.
We claim the heights,
For they are hers.
The Highest, folded, pleated,
A plaid of keeping.
Bright, uttermost, tower of light,
Our home, our name.

We hear the voices from the deep dwellings.
The liquid tumble falls towards the dark centre,
Scouring the grey smooth, a constant choir
Feeding the stone, feeding the soil.
From the heights we descend
And return spiralling, victorious.
Radiant cloud, rainbow mist, sharpened rain,
A slingshot of ice, a glance of gold.
Exultant, we look down, we look down,
We who dwell within the Highest,
Look down, reach down, sweep up.
Clasped firm, swinging, sky-borne.


The Brigantes were a powerful confederation of peoples across the North of England, specifically focused on the high lands of the Pennines, the central limestone lands that run down the centre of the country as far south as Derbyshire. The name means ‘high ones’, ‘upland peoples’, ‘people of the High One’. Brigantia is the name of a deity, translating as ‘Highest One’ or ‘Highest Goddess’. Limestone country is characterised by exposed platforms of rock, water-eroded into ‘pavements’, and deep sinkholes that open into complexes of water-carved caverns.

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Darkness sinks into the earth.
The mountains rise up:
Horizons of light.
Our shadows leap
To the far distance,
The cauldron that is time,
The cauldron that is space.

It branches dark and branches golden:
The tree from which we spring.
Black ash, bird-filled, singing.

See in the deep valley floor,
The slow wide valley floor,
The light-reflecting rivers,
Sky echoes, draped across fields.

This is the deep cup: our land
Filling with a rich wine of light.
We drink and remember our distance,
Our road here, the long miles,
The union of footfalls, the meeting of strangers.
A land of meetings, a land of unions.
Dark and light
Rivers, waves, shadows.



The wide sky roars with white cloud stallions.
The wild, graceful horse whose name is wind.
The land lies folded, calm as a foal in sleep,
Mare’s milk full, it is gentle, replete.
Bird-bright is the morning,
Their song, the jingle of harness and rein,
Bronze, red, golden blue, the wheels upon us:
The sunlit world, green pasture, filling wheat.
We are the riders of the world, the horse people,
Proud-maned, stepping lightly.
Walking, running, galloping, moon-footed.
The golden horizon we place upon our necks,
Wound, wrapped, a promise of return,
A promise of returning.




( The Dobunni were a confederation of peoples living between the Malvern Hills and the Cotswolds in the southern Midlands of England. Their name has been related to roots such as ‘dark’, ‘cauldron’, ‘black ash’, ‘people of two origins’, ‘people of the cauldron’, ‘people of the black ash’.

The Iceni were a powerful tribe occupying Norfolk. Their name can be translated as ‘people of the horse’. They are renowned for their working of gold torcs, large neck rings that signified the empowerment of the spirit and allegience to the deities of the land.)


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I promised 47whitebuffalo that I would write something on the names of ancient Celtic tribes. This is not exactly what I originally had in mind, but it is how things seem to be arriving in these early grey deserts of pre-dawn!

petersfield cernunnos3

THE GIVING OF NAMES (a beginning)
The day alights wrapped in cloud,
A gift given to memory.
Trees wait, their eyes lidded,
Savouring those names rich and round –
The roots and seeds so swallowed,
Buried, taken up, changed.

Hollow sweet, the pierced song:
The puffed, cold-breasted birds
Chant, waiting for warmth.

Huddled all, by the crackled fickle flames,
Memory feeds
( shapes and faces, laughter, even).

The light is hungry for names.
It reaches behind ice-stiffened grasses,
Bitter ivy and brown yarrow.

Lost in fog and short horizons are we,
Diminished at each forgetting.

Remote, aimless paths are the paths we move
Without their remembrance.

Small-minded, shadowless,
Pinched and petty,
Fogged and mired do we proudly become:
Stretched ghosts without root or reason,
Withered, starless, slack-handed.

I shall sit, mind naked, pool eyed
Drinking rippled waters.
Stirring, stirring the surface patterns
Resolving, returning, resonant syllable.

A speckled, dull dunnock, unexpected sweet song.
A circling crow, mist moving, lifting a world,
Stumbling between doors of dream.

The first are the shaping ones,
The givers of form, far-famed,
Makers and singers.
Gold of sunlight, silver of moon, movement of stars,
Hammered, forged, chased into meaning.
The returning spirals,
A path in and out of time.

A clatter of magpies
Searching root, rock, wood, chill clear water.
A house for the invisible, clothing mystery.
The laughter of ravens,
The warm agreement of cattle.

These islands, named from them,
Whom no-one has superseded.
Their knots and philosophy
Sewn into the landscape,
The manifestors of story,
Witnesses of return.

The upright ones, the proud ones,
The stiff ones, the tumescent ones.
Upholders, unbending.
A fountaining tree from our loins
Showering gold bowls of grain,
The seed of fat lands, high lands.
The tree of our lord, a king of horizons,
A shelter to all, a song of breezes,
A tumult of battle hymns.

snake rider

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