Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Sidhe’

gold turquoise blue2

KEY THREE

(St. Brendan’s Chapel, Barra)

Nowhere nearer
The Isles of the Blest,
The dead gather together,
Warrior and child.

Coaxed by a hand of hills
The land launched
Into silver sunset ocean.

Go on, you can do it.
It will be alright,
Wonders await you…
The voyage into mystery
Stepping stones to heaven.

Eternal islands,
Eternal seas.

Read Full Post »

Loch Dunvegan2

10

Taladh na mna Sidhe, (The Fairy’s Lullaby)

She came as a whisper
From her own fair folk,
Over the bridge between worlds.
Called by the cries
Of the one forgotten, forlorn.

A shining face above the cradle,
Cold long feet upon the floor.
Golden as a graceful willow
In winter time on Camalaig Bay,
Silver as moonlight
On the flanks of Beinn na Creiche.

To hold and cradle
One small dreamer
Disturbed by the silence of a room,
The merriment of the hall.
The world found cold, empty
Wrapped once more in love
And soft singing:

Look, my child,
Fine limbed, small brightness,
Lithe and graced with all.
My dream eye
Sees the same one
A master amongst stallions,
Strong grasp, clear calling,
A glory of lordship
In the morning, laughing.

On the mountain,
Amongst the grass-warm breath
Of the peaceful kine,
A gatherer of silk milk,
Dressed in forest, dressed in snow,
Dressed in pasture sweet,
You my child, a habitation
Of delight.

The distant chink of harness
Shining in the setting sun
Leading your people
Harvest-home,
The chattering of women-folk,
The earnest sower.

You, who shall remember
The tenderness herein:
The warm womb,
The gift of my breast,
The throne of my knee.
Satisfied, content
Nurtured by the honey
Of dear love.

My lithe one,
My red and white one,
My strong yew sapling,
Dark green and handsome.
My laughing one,
Nodding golden iris by the shore,
Bright alder and birch leaning graceful.
A whisper, a chatterer, a sparkling of joy.
Last year, you were a seed in warm darkness.
Now you will soon be leaping high,
Running with song about the house,
About the fields, under cloud and sunlight.

May you not be harmed,
May you not be wounded,
May you not be slain,
But grow old and grey,
Crag-browed and wise,
A sharp nose for deceit,
A sharp eye for openness.

Child of warrior from the cold North,
Child of shadows, melting, lilting.
An in and an out you have,
A strong turning hope for peace.
A warrior’s hand you have for the land
Of the father of your father,
The mother of your mother.

The babe asleep,
She turned and left.
Tune turning in the air,
A waivering of rushlight,
A scent of honey milk.
A mother melting back
Into the weave of dream.
Footsteps soft fading,
Soft fading.

wooded falls1

Read Full Post »

Kyleakin evening

2

 Weavers of the Sidhe

Two came at twilight

From the rath,

Cold with curiosity,

Small as children

But with strange eyes

And smiles too old,

Far too old.

To see who it was

Carried the silence

By the shore

That was not the grey heron’s;

To judge the cry of one

Neither curlew nor oystercatcher;

To weigh the harsh throat

Not of the hooded crow

Nor of the raven.

To find the mote

In sunlit attic,

It’s dance to forgotten harp

Dusted earth, dreamt melody –

Dream nerves tied to sing of rock,

To follow the dancing road.

When they speak

Small blue flames flicker

Upon their tongues.

Their eyes –

Corridors of starlight

From distant galaxies.

Their thin fingers

Cat’s cradling

the centuries.

They are the same

Our ancestors knew:

Changeless,

Dissolving in midday light,

Returning at twilight

With shadows dancing.

They belong to place,

But not to time.

They are the rolling,

Rising, blue distance-

Yearned for,

Unattainable.

032LochDunvegan

3

The Secret Commonwealth

Cast out,

Cast down

From Heaven’s brilliance.

Not falling for the passion of rage,

Nor swayed by the unforgiving violence

Of righteousness,

(The simple, clear lie

of polarities, justice, truth).

Condemned by the Most High

For failing to take sides.

Falling down,

Down

Into twilight.

Neither here nor there,

Backwards or forwards.

It is why they flock to song,

Delight in the poet,

To what moves by its stillness,

What reverberates with passion,

Profound ephemera,

Guileless illusion,

Flash of gold,

Uncertain Reality.

Shot-silk seasons

Rich with the Opposite.

Reflection on reflection,

Echoed echoes.

Not dead, nor living

They are the rolling, rising blue distance,

The accumulation of dream,

Repository of yearning,

Perfume of nostalgia.

The processions, the slow

Dance:

Terrestrial constellations

Caught sight of peripherally,

Oblique,

Canny,

Ambivalent,

Unnerving.

Bane of priests,

Defiers of logic.

Snake language – fast

And sparkling.

A danger to mortal dreamers

Who might fade

Into the world,

Feather roots merging,

Knowing and edges blurred

Into the song of presence.

Perhaps returning,

(if at all)

With a fragment of lament,

An air,

A pavan,

A secret wrenched from time,

Lost within time again,

A wonder,

A treasure,

A mystery unholy,

Disengaging from certainty.

Duirnish sky1

Read Full Post »

CillChroisd

So, since our trip to Skye in late October I have been alert for fragments of a long piece called “The House of Trees”. It is an archaeological process: I have seen the overview, the aerial photographs of anomalous markings. I suspect the subject matter, what lurks below the undisturbed ¬†grass, intimations of structure, an outline, a definite definition. Season by season, I return to gaze from different angles ( the low light or high light revealing something or nothing), tentatively trowel away a little soil ( gold being such a flighty treasure, turning to tin can or brass if not approached with delicacy). Gradually an accumulation of relics, lines, phrases, rivers, posies is piling up. So I have decided to display some current finds, unreconstructed, scrubbed, labeled.

The sections so far can be defined thus:

The pivotal images are a small derelict burial chapel beside a moorland road. Initially I was drawn to it by a large twining ivy plant, white and bone-dead, crawling up the roofless walls. But also a small group of yew trees under which a relatively new gravestone had been placed, so that they acted as a living green monument, evergreen in a windswept, wan landscape.

On the other side of the island, on the main road to and from Portree, we passed several times a deserted croft, again roofless, but this one filled with a copse of young trees. It was not in the middle of nowhere, but on the edge of a small village, newer houses just a stone’s throw away.

Both images of time, of mortality, of people living and passing on. The history of Scotland is depressing: bleak repetition of small conflicts, betrayals, squabbles, misunderstandings, bigotry, famines, disasters, displacement, loss, exploitation of the poor by the rich. As such it is not so different from any other nation’s histories. Perhaps Scotland’s historians were less persuaded by a ruling elite to gloss and gild the facts. The small population, the difficult terrain, has meant that lost villages, deserted houses have not been swept away by succeeding generations. The bitter, unthinking inhumanities that so stain a country’s historical development still remain, accusing, daring the passer-by to forget at their peril.

And the rigid, bombastic stupidity of councils, governments and landowners often encourage a wistful nostalgia for something that never was – a free and unified nation.

The romantic, Isle of Skye, (and by God, it is romantic), for example was parcelled up between bellicose clans, each taking possession of one of the peninsulas. MacDonalds, MacLeods, MacGregors and more, all continuing the Celtic Iron Age ( British) tradition of cattle raiding their neighbours, taking hostages, not trusting each other.

And parallel to this, the mythic grandeur of the Highland imagination ( again, a relict from pre-Christian cosmologies). The Second Sight, the Secret Commonwealth of the Fairy Nations, the spirit haunted wilds, the thin veils between Other worlds that pervade the folk history, the music and the sense of place. It is this that first fuels the project. Sitting in silence one evening I had a sense of being watched by the curious non-human eyes of the island’s Good People, and the memorable fancy that they began weaving, implanting, encouraging images, words, ideas. With that came the contrast and similarity between these mythic entities and the nation’s yearning for Independence, Freedom, Self Rule that re-emerges every generation or so ( and to a lesser extent every Saturday night when “Flower of Scotland” gets slurily echoed down the cobbled streets, especially after the traditional thrashing by England of the nearly always lamentable national football team.).

Time is different in mountain country. Each valley, each glen runs at its own speed, collecting its own data, developing its own reasons, its own story. The horizons are small, the world is a house with walls of green and brown slopes. Legend piles up, each place named for the event it remembers. Memory inhabits and flavours.

The city has its own time too, but it is a time shared by all other cities. Its urgencies are not local, it is fed by roads from elsewhere, it feeds also on its inhabitants, who are within its complex alimentary canal, slowly dissolving. Few cities exist within the landscape. They squat upon it, learning to disregard the geography as the years progress. Cities are not self sustaining. They are parasitical, drawing on the goodness from beyond their walls. Without the constant inflow of raw materials and nourishment, cities will quickly collapse in on themselves, self digesting in panic and confusion.

Anyway, here is the first part, as it is at present. (I will post a few other completed sections in the next few days – so far about ten parts).

THE HOUSE OF TREES

Part 1: A Harbouring of Voices

Come tumbling

Like birds for crumbs:

These lines

Bidden and unbidden,

Broken and insistent

Like gulls.

Small as sparrows,

Bright as chaffinches,

Cautious, sidelong, black watchfulness

As of crows.

Woven, twisted, rooted-

A faint echo from the hill.

For here is not the silence of the far North

Nor its diamond thinness of light.

In the dark the bones gather together,

Get up and dance,

Mutter and gesture seeking meaning,

Seeking purpose.

Plaintive, scolding

Finding tongue.

Whose voice

Is the possessor of truth?

It rises and sinks back hidden,

Forming and unforming,

Like a cormorant on slow black waters:

It will be where it was not,

Leaving no ripples of history or intent.

Ripples LochBay

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: