Hybrid Spirits

When trees
still
danced upon the dappled land
when dragons ranged the twilit skies
when woman and man were unconceived
were inconceivable,
then, then
the tree spirits and the dragon souls
swirled in mists of passion embodied.

Borne from their unions
another being of dragon and treekind both
emerged.

Dragon Willow 2

Creating a new genealogy,
some of those newly genetically encoded ones
with divergent memory
lay with humans when they became
and another hybrid
not fully tree nor totally dragon
not ever woman nor even man
but with bodies one or the other,
who yet remembered
the calling of the ground beneath them
and to whom the fire entered in.

A body dancing to unfamiliar musics
and singing in mysterious harmonics
of trees and dragons, men and women
part of those preceding them
alive together.

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Farewells the Day

This poem was inspired by a reply I made on Twitter, to a photo posted of a blackbird singing as darkness fell.

Hear the blackbird’s song,
dancing through the leaves,
tripping over fences,
lilting in the hedges,
the herald announcing
summer’s ever briefer
darkness nearing,
as he farewells the day,
welcomes the night.

Sweet notes of the solo
sent forth into the sky
filled in the distance
with clouds perhaps,
or the lonely crescent moon
barely lifted from the horizon
a presence daring emptiness,
as he farewells the day,
welcomes the night.

Sending forth notes melodious
the chorister sings his
own evensong
an avian orison
announcing another interval of light
lived fading passing
into the tomorrow’s memories,
as he farewells the day
welcomes the night.

An afternoon at RSPB Swell Wood

First I want to thank my friend who is an administrator for the area RSPB for taking me on this wonderful adventure, since I don’t drive.

When we headed out from my cottage yesterday afternoon, it was a bit mizzly so we went to plan B – Swell Wood, plan A was Ham Wall. That’s for another day. It had nearly stopped when we arrived at the car park where there were only two cars.

Arrival

From the time we opened the doors, and in spite of the road noise, bird song filled the air. Since the feeders were empty, she filled one of them with sunflower seeds.

Our first stop was the hide for the heronry. With all the leaf cover it took a few minutes to locate the nests. And, I forgot my binoculars so we shared. Saw several nests heard lots of calling from the treetops. Saw an egret nest and egrets flying off as well as heron. There were other little birds in closer as well.

We then walked around the top walk and at one point the road noise vanished. The atmosphere was magical. Once we’d made that circuit we took off for Scarp Trail, lots of up and then lots of down, followed by way more up to get back to the car.
Virdiditas 3Virdiditas 2

All around there were delicate grasses, yellow archangel and remnants of bluebells, and one lone cuckoo-pint.

Grass with seedsGrass with multiple seeds

Yellow archangelCuckoo pint

Saw Alfred’s cakes and for the first time knew what it was that I’d seen a few times before.

Alfreds cakes

The ivy twisting around the tree trunks looked like Celtic knot work. I have wondered before if it is not where the idea for such patterns originated.

Knot work 5Knot work 4

Knot work 3Knot work 2

Knot work 1

The views across the Levels were amazing. Hard to believe how recently they were under water for weeks and weeks.

Levels 1Levels 2

I marvelled at the beetles on the green leaves, and what I think are musk beetles, though I didn’t get a photo.

Red beetles

When we got back to the car after filling a second feeder my friend moved the car to the other side of the car park and we waited to see who’d take up the offer of food. It didn’t take long for a pair of Chaffinches to arrive and work the ground for what had fallen from the holes in the feeder right in front of us. Then to the other feeder a Greater Spotted Woodpecker arrived. We heard some hungry noises coming from a hole in a tree before we were back at the car and figure this must be a parent bird.

Greater spotted 3Greater spotted 2Greater spotted

At the same time a squirrel showed up with the Chaffinches and worked the ground. When the woodpecker moved to the closer feeder another visitor took over the second feeder.

Squirrel 4Squirrel 1

Squirrel 2Squirrel 3

For those brief few hours, I soaked up the tranquillity and the virdiditas. Tall trees reaching up to embrace the sun, which wasn’t much in evidence, linked like the ribs of a vaulted cathedral ceiling. Air slightly moist and smelling sweetly clean. It was an opportunity to relax and allow the spirits of the wood, on the edge of the Levels, to reach out to me as I opened to allow the connection and communion. There was the low strong murmur of tree speech all around me. I felt welcomed. I felt at home. I felt the presence of dryads and woodland sprites. I sensed the dancing energies of trees and of the bird life all about me. Chirrup, song, melody was all around me heard with my inner and outer ears. Vision, vista, beauty were everywhere I looked seen with my inner and outer eyes.

I was walking in Swell Wood and I was walking in The Wood, if that makes sense. I was there and beyond there. The magical nature of this small, magnificent gem of a woodland opened the portal for me to enter a Wood much larger and far more complex. I was moving in two realms, happily nattering away with my friend and at the same time communicating in silent presence with the greater energy of where I was, beyond where I was.

I was very aware of being on the edge of the Somerset Levels, a place of fascination and enticement for me. Although I am not able to get down into them without much travel and expense on buses, I love them. They are a place of particular mystery and wonder. There are connections I’ve not had the opportunity to explore fully, but I feel the pull. I it feel more strongly now. The gods and spirits of the Levels are calling me and I know I need to find ways of entering the openness of this landscape and meet them more fully. Yesterday, as we drove back through the spaces they inhabit I heard whispers and echoes reaching out to me, calling me to engage with them. It is another calling I am not going to be able to pretend I don’t hear for very much longer.

The deep Mystery of Willow is present in the Levels in a way that I sense is unique. Where I live I tiptoe on the edges of it, does this sound familiar? But I have not allowed myself, and also at some profound level of my being not been allowed until now to contemplate such a connection.

I have made deep links with Yew and Beech already, but Willow only by a gentle touch not mutually deep exchanges between self, being and presence. And it’s not only the mystery of the Willow; there is other mystery and magic there for me. There is something about the land itself, even beyond the surface and visible landscape that calls to me. From where I sit now it is ephemeral and insubstantial, but it is surely real, reaching out and pulling me to explore.

All of these experiences are intensifying my practice of Druidry, enriching my spiritual and religious path, as well as my self-understanding as a Druid. They show me I have so much to experience still and only hint at how deeply these realities and experiences will take me into the realms of the gods, the ancestors and spirits of this land who frame, shape and ground my life and being as a Druid, as a person.

All this wonder, enrichment, challenge, awareness from a brief journey to and through an RSPB reserve.

Time Variously Considered

Time variously considered
is all or nothing at all.,
is incident and accident,
serendipity and destiny –
or it isn’t.
All things happen in its
non-existent frame –
or they don’t.
It parameters life by seconds
as by tick tocking minutes,
hours stretch
weeks escape
months turn on calendar pages.

Slipping away
hourglass sands fall
through the constricting centre
between future and past,
the now unable to hold back
the yets as they escape into thens.

Only at the narrow squeezing place
are we able to experience
the rush of existence
whistling by us
coursing through us
never able to settle for long beside us.

Swiftly surging
tenuously treading
rapidly racing
there is no quiet quelling
of the hiss whisper echo
of fleeting time flying
fracturing assumptions
immortality and fate
always on a collision course.

Are we real in its taloned grasp,
or would be we be real
only when we
realised relaxed released?
Then how would we know
in any case suddenly beyond
the key reckoners of being
marks on sticks,
megalithic monuments,
the atomic clock
rendered meaningless
and perhaps us as well.

Instead we live enshackled,
time marching on and waiting for no man.
time passing slowly,
seeing what’s become of me,
for if we allow it
will beat us into submission
subverting our quest for meaning,
our very reason for being.

Time can extrude
like fine wire,
to bind the hands
to tie the feet
to strangle the voice,
and cut off the circulation
of the spirit or extinguish it
paralysed mute unable
to do
to move
to speak enbreathed.

Time can also blow
like a menacing wind
ruining days with boredom,
tossing aside hours in waiting,
wafting the years away in yearning,
threatening sanity,
destroying hope,
leaving a wrecked life,
unlived.

Whether real or not –
construct of the mind,
premise of quantum physics,
millstone about the necks
of our psyches –
reminding us of mortality,
ambitions unfulfilled,
dreams shattered,
loves lost,
time is neutral
neither good nor bad,
thus it can be friend or foe
help or hindrance,
as benign as we make it,
as tyrannical as we allow it to be.

Fully Engaging The Awen – the Next Step

Have been doing a lot of thinking about what I have to do to be ready to move forth from the act of commitment so recently made. Everything hinges on really coming to grips with and letting the creative part of me — the part I want so badly to access and the part, quite frankly that scares me shitless, yet yearns to be liberated. I say that because, for me in the past, I have been terribly restrained and constrained in what I allowed myself to do creatively. I have sensed the force, the wild and unpredictable power of The Awen and all that it brings with it to be dangerous, and at the same time beguiling and compelling and oh so tempting, and thus I’ve gone to the brink and always pulled back.

Now, however, pulling back is no longer an option, I have stepped into tomorrow, stepped forth to meet my yet. I have opened up so much in recent months. Slowly, my hearing has sharpened so that when I am outside I hear more clearly than I ever have done. My aural sense is almost as strong these days as my visual sense — one reason I am now taking music lessons. I feel confined and cramped indoors and I have to be out lots because that is where The Awen lives and moves and has its being most strongly for me. And I have to be out there with it to engage, though it feels sometimes like I’m also running away from it, playing tag. Flitting and flirting with it, but never letting us get close enough to merge.

I desperately want to open myself up fully to this power and to discover what I can do when I do that — it’s just that last step over the precipice that up to now eluded me, or I evaded.

I realise that no one can tell me how to do this, no else understands exactly how this challenge shapes for me, let alone what happens next. Some would just say, ‘Jump!’ And I don’t see why I find that bit of advice so difficult to act upon. But that is not my way. I take the path in steps of believing not in leaps of faith, which sometimes I see as shortcuts, bypassing experiences vital to the journey. Yet both ways are based on trust, reveal different sorts of truth.

Well, part of it is has to do, no doubt, with loss of control. Part of it is that I don’t have any real experience of myself as truly creative and creatively focused woman. I guess it’s the last step in some ongoing integration process, integral to my very being, enabling me to live with integrity . . . and yet the hardest part, the part that really matters.

Another part of it may be throwing off the last vestige of the old learning about what art is for and what creativity means that I got from my father, corrupted by his limited and limiting views of the proper roles for women, principally his wife and daughter.

I am so, so close now having made the commitment, to accepting the invitation with my whole being. In some ways The Awen is the lover with whom at this point I must engage — if that language is even appropriate here; but I sense that it is in my case, and given my history and challenges that it is exactly the right language.

I can see now to the beyond the edge of this for here I am . . . all I can be and all that I desire and could ever want in the way of fulfillment awaiting and me embracing it with joy and relief and abandon stretches out before me. . . and maybe that’s some sort of key. I have to see a hint what I KNOW to be my path forward and the frame that will shape my journey to the end of this occurrence, and in some way sensing in the mists those I hold most dear and who are yet to join me on this sojourn.

Darkness in Falls Summer

When darkness falls in summer
it tumbles quickly
as the gloaming recedes,
fading into star sprinkled night
of a sudden between
one breath indrawn
and soon released.

The clouds glow
in a phosphorescent white,
too bright too pure,
clinging to the last shimmering
rays of sunlight as we move away
spinning silently and at speed
opposite the day.

When the sky is clear
the stars blink on,
a thousand million suns
ignited as disordered beacons,
insistent points of brightness
cutting through the black,
where once the illusioned blue sky
spanned wide beyond our reaching.

The night so short in some places
it is never truly dark,
and for several months
stars disappear from view,
the sun barely tickling the horizon
giving no respite from the light,
testing the ability of most to cope
longer than a brief few weeks,
for we are made for light and dark
for day and night
for one sun to shine then many.

The darkness falls quickly
at the height of summer
knowing by some unimaginable wisdom
it must be swift to beat the day
before the single light emerges
inexorably setting the east ablaze,
rousing us from sleep
stealing our dreaming time,
teasing us up to work and play and be
whilst giving in return
a shorter interval of rest less time
for secret assignations with the self.

Ephemeral Beauty

Showering petals of hawthorn and apple,
laburnum and wisteria confetti,
white lavender yellow swirling,
dashed down upon pavements
covering the way with destruction
in remnants of flowers,
ephemeral beauty left to waste away.

Today the chilly air
rippling puddled water,
surging unimpeded,
ambushing at corners,
sneaking through hedges,
tossing cow parsley
snatching at buttercups
battering forget-me-nots
each into submission.

Bow down before me
I am the wind —
the reaper the shaper the taker,
a force of nature,
fierce storm buffeting
gentle breeze caressing,
turning one to the other
unannounced be prepared —
a power whom you dare never ignore.

Showering petals of hawthorn and apple,
laburnum and horse chestnut confetti,
white yellow cream swirling,
dashed down upon pavements
covering the way with destruction
in remnants of flowers,
ephemeral beauty left to waste away.