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Posts Tagged ‘Welsh literature’

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TALIESIN SUTRAS 2

7
(Landscape)

Late Wanderings
Food from Annwfn, one grain before death.
Honour the pot, the boiling cauldron,
The simmering burden.
I shall digest the words
Served up hot and fast.
Caught, threaded, herded
Towards an inevitable end.
What is scattered?
The winnowed chaff.
Wind and water,
The soul, pale and sleeping,
A mysterious thing.

(Down into the boggy water,
Thrice slain in the holy way,
My burst body bleeding its
Mist-white soul along the causeway,
The teal, the mallard messenger.
I will not forget: straight into the sunset
With my tongue of prayer,
My skin of supplication.)

These images,
These words drawn in colour.
These maps, these directions.
Overlayed on what is not,
What is.

(Landscape is what I have become.
Tongue of soil, skin and nail, wrapped root,
Spread out as hill, my throat this river
Quenching all, my eye: horizon wide,
Drinking star patterns, eternal web.)

Bardic circuit
Of the tenuous ellyll.
They who become outside themselves,
Soul wanderer, wraiths, elves.

(Without our body, woad-cleansed warriors,
We live heartless in a different tune.
Though love still, in a vaster way.
Fuel for deeper worlds, the fabric stretched
And folded, shift, shroud, swaddling.
We, the mist between your breathing,
Your silences, your shoal thoughts.)

The real dream dreamed.
Do you know what you are
When you are asleep?

Taliesin asleep on the sea
Travelling through words
As if they were worlds.

What comes out of the ground
Is never what went into the ground.
The seed is
dead, the leaves are green and growing.

In house of earth, bound by blue iron
Self and not-Self shackled in a mound
All for dreaming.

Afagddu is soot (besmirched smith), the remains of wood and fire.
Ceridwen, the crook of the sky, thigh of the river, tree bowing down,
Crouching woman, cauldron hunched, the squatting one.

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MABINOGION HAIKU

This golden river.
Words bob down the long ages-
Mysterious truths

Moon well, sun cauldron.
Who would not become transfixed?
Their utter beauty.

There is not one thing
That is not another thing.
Pay attention, Pwyll!

Green mound lost in fog.
What dream does the world dream here?
breath weaves life and death.

How could she be true?
Oak and broom and meadowsweet,
Made of season’s change.

Do not take possession
Of what is not yours.
(And nothing is yours).



Sort of a hybrid between haiku form and gnomic verse. Apologies for all those who do not know the allusions, but those who know the Four Branches might take some little pleasure in these fragmentary nods…

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Rhiannon’s Riddle

These my bare branches,
These the days of moonlit silence.
Seven are the ones lost to sleep
That should have been watchful
That should have been truthful.
A claw of cloud has stolen
my golden light, my golden sun.
I am sunk down by it and sullied,
Weighed by each retelling.
Bound again by careless generosity,
Bound by those not blameless.
An open honesty shall allay my worry,
And watchful bravery and a clear discrimination.
The hunter has risen and taken my firstborn light.
I am become wolf tied to stone,
Wandering the same road
Weighed down by it.
At night, the high table of the feast.
Neither here, neither there,
This road of travail, this cloak of flesh.
Golden is the harvest moon,
Birdsong of the morning.
All is fog
And my bright boy is gone.
The son eaten by the mother,
The mother deceived by her sisters
The hunter and his prey, taken, restored.
Pay attention Pwyll!
What is yours, is illusion.
Deeper by far is the world you walk.
My heartache is in this coming and going,
Half the time here, half the time
In a somewhere else,
more, or less, reflected perfect.
I will wait for you though.
Wait another year on year.
You shall only need to ask,
Only listen.
The footsteps beneath the ground,
The silver paths.
It shall all find return.

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