Talking to the fairies

If mad you are said to “talk to the fairies”!
They could be better company than some people. So, I regularly talk to the fairies.
Just why is it the very old and the very young have no problem talking to the fairies.
I’m off to a Dryad’s party now…


Nan’s “talking to the fairies” tale

I talk to the fairies these days
I talk both by day and by night
My eyes have a strange misty haze
Some say there is something “not right”

But fairies are real as can be
There everywhere in every place
Not there for the callous to see
Sad souls may be touched by their grace

The fairies are here after rain
There here in the morning time dew
Tomorrow they’ll be here again
They’re dancing about me and you

They’re in the woods and the grasslands
They’re on the high hill and the plain
They dance on the palms of my hands
They’re taking away all the pain

They have sought to lead me away
Down into their hall in the hill
Where though I may dine for one day
A century of time this would kill

I don’t want to lose all that time
I know I would miss all my folk
So, I write all about them in rhyme
Down here in the glade ‘neath the oak

In woods I see the three Dryads
They seem to have taken to me
All of their tales come in triads
With stories as strange as can be

They tell of the three-times-three men
The nine who got lost for a time
They wandered into a fey den
One way to escape was in rhyme

Rhyme has control of the fey folk
They must obey all its power
For rhyming words once they’ve been spoke
May stop their mischief – one hour

But those men stuck in that fey den
None of them had this way with words
They only had got away when
Some of them whistled some chords

For music can enchant the fairies
Enchant their enchanting old tricks
So, whistling just like canaries
Nine men had escaped in three ticks

The dryads told this tale three times
For all things they say are in threes
I tell about them in these rhymes
As they hum about me like bees

Relaxing in the wet lowlands
And enchanted by the landscape
More fairies now dance on my hands
All sadness has gone – I escape

The fairies are here all about me
And my soul now cannot be sad
And now that I’m happy and free
I hear it’s been said – “Oh, she’s mad!”

But madness as an illusion
Relates to the state of the mind
If what I see is delusion
It’s better then being quite blind

Blind to the world of wee people
Deafened by the ring of the bell
That sounds out of a church steeple
It’s quiet where fairy folk dwell

In glades neath the shade of a tree
In fields in the heat of the day
For they are forever with me
I pray that they’ll not go away

And sanity’s another illusion
What it shows I’d rather not find
And so, it is my conclusion
It’s better by far to be blind

Blind to the bad ways of bad men
Avoiding the broad path to hell
In woodland I sit and you pen
Each story the wee folk might tell

An elf by itself in the meadow
Told me of a people now gone
His voice is so mellow and low
His eyes are so blight and they shone

The people who lived long ago
Had kings like our famous Alfred
They were so fractious and fought so
The fairy folk held them in dread

He told me of killings with spears
He told me of killings with swords
I told him of sneaks and of sneers
How we scared each other with words

For if one thing is strange to an elf
And scares little people away
It’s human obsession with self
They live in a quite different way

They live to help one another
They live for much pleasure and joy
Each one’s like a sister or brother
Or happy young girl or young boy

They play their tricks upon mortals
They do it to oafish great men
Yet deep neath the Fairy King’s portals
Is no place for you and your pen

Down there they set out a table
A dinner made of their fey fare
It has been said in a fable
A hundred years flashes by there

And men have returned from that place
And gone to their homes once again
Where they are seen as a strange face
Going mad they drown in the fen

Now fairy and human can’t mix
Each dwell in this beautiful land
But children may see three or six
As they’re dancing a gig on my hand

The souls of the victims of wrath
The hearts of the victims of hate
Whose sadness is worn like sackcloth
With fairy folk should make a date

The fairies will not harm the weak
They’ll never beat down broken hearts
And neither will they act the sneak
Nor poison with rumour’s sharp darts

There’s pixies dance down by the stream
They romp all around and they play
When big oafs stomp down there with dogs
The pixies will all hide away

Oafs have no sight for a pixie
For they have no feel for the fey
They are neither happy nor tricksy
As they’re stomping right through on their way

With power big folk lash about
With muscle and strength get their way
The boorish will thump and will clout
But like dogs each will have their day

But the pixies they are immortal
The pixies are here throughout time
You may look in at their portal
But only talk to them in rhyme

I talk every day to the pixies
They’re everywhere that I now go
I call them “My little tricksies”
As they dance about me for show

The stream flows over the wet sand
It winds its way past my home
Just like everywhere in this land
There’s wee folk wherever I roam

Up on the crags of the mountains
Or on every rolling chalk down
By streams by falls and by fountains
Little folk will play and will clown

They’re everywhere here in our island
They’ve been here throughout all of time
They’re happy and merry and jocund
But you must talk to them in rhyme.”

From: “The Tale of Aethelflaed, Lady of the Mercians”

The lands about Athelney are full of Fairy Rings.


Council with the Elves

We say someone is mad if: “they talk to the fairies”.
The name Alfred comes from two old English words.
“Aelf” is Elf.
“Rede” is council or debate.
So Alfred can be said to mean “Elfish council” or “Talks to the elves”.
So England’s greatest king and warrior, like many a little child may have talked to the fairies when in play.
A childhood full of play is such a good thing.
It builds the adult.

A little boy

A little boy he played down by the stream.
He romped with glee and danced around about.
His eyes they seemed to have an elfish gleam.
His mother loved to hear him sing and shout
And watched him from afar as he would play.
It seemed as if he danced with many friends
And yet he was alone here on this day.
That stream across the meadow slowly wends;
That boy he played the whole long day away.
He seemed to talk to folk who seemed not there.
Each child may play in every way they may.
His childhood it was lived so free of care.
His mother’s words this son would always heed
This youngest boy of Her’s she’d named Aelfrede.

Council with the Elves

That Elves here share our land to folk is real,
There’s many kinds of beings in Midgard∗
And though to most of folk, much is concealed,
Yet faith in other things makes life less hard.
The child inside a man may help him dream;
For “save you are as one of these…” you’re lost.
Now devious elfish council helps men scheme
Whilst hidden in our wastes when touched by frost.
To dream and scheme on how to fight that foe
That ravaged all our lands and drove folk out.
Amid defeat and all our tears and woe
Aelfrede gave us new hope we lost all doubt.
The devious ways of devious men who plan
Reveal that elves dwell in the realms of man!


∗ Midgard: old English for the world.

Trevor Morgan 2010

From: “Tale of a darkened soul”

The Tale of Old Granny Goose

This yarn is based on a local folktale in Somerset.
It is said that there was a major Viking raid. The Vikings ignored an old woman and left their ships unguarded and raided and plundered inland. When they were away the old woman cut all the ships tie ropes so they drifted out into Bridgwater Bay. This left the raiders marooned and unable to escape the counterattack by the men of Somerset and Dorset.
This was one of their first major defeats in England.
For the purpose of this narrative I have them mistake the old woman for an omen of their gods as Alder is a sacred tree associated with Freya. There is evidence that people at that time in Somerset also had sacred trees.

The Tale of Old Granny Goose†

“Beside the Axe down near the sea
Her geese they grazed each day.
She loved the music of the wind
That blew in from the bay.

She’d sat and watch the world go by
Beneath her alder tree.
She sat beneath a darkening sky
But felt alive and free.

Within a bubble in her pool
A water spider rose,
The breeze upon her cheek seemed cool
As she sat in repose.

The water boatmen skimmed about
The spider rose and sank,
Far off she heard a strange tongue shout
Off by the river bank.

A dragonfly then settled there
And seized upon some prey,
She watched with fatalistic stare
This seemed the strangest day .

The Dragon prow of some great ship
Moved silent into view;
Quite startled there she bit her lip
Oh God what could she do?

She raised herself up with her stick
It was stout alder wood.
Her stomach churned and she felt sick
And trembled where she stood.

Beside still water in the shade
A Dane came with his spear
And there the lowest bow he made;
His eyes showed signs of fear!

He gave to her a coin of gold,
Belt and bone handled knife.
His burly hands seemed wet and cold
As she feared for her life.

Another dragon prow passed by
Then many, many more.
She heard the spearman gently sigh
He turned back to the shore.

Great hordes of men then mustered there
And many bowed to her.
That cold chill seemed to leave the air
She sat and did not stir.

The tales of raiding Danes were dire
They’d plunder and they’d rape.
They’d put all buildings to the fire
And few folk would escape.

She sat and watched those Danes depart,
She sat beneath her tree.
As all moved off she then took heart;
She was alive and free.

Within a bubble in her pool
A water spider sank.
The breeze upon her cheek seemed cool,
She paused and then she drank.

Those ships had come in with the bore∗
The tide would soon go out.
They were tied here along this shore;
Now, no Danes were about.

She limped from an arthritic hip,
But she knew what to do.
She slowly walked past each fine ship
And cut their bow lines through.

She puzzled at the ways of life,
How raiders bowed so low
And gave her such a useful knife.
Now she felt all-aglow!

Smoke rose across the eastern sky.
She watched it swirl and rise.
She knew afar that folk would die;
She watched through moistened eyes.

The tide had now begun to turn,
She hid close by her tree.
She knew that many a home would burn
For what will be will be.

Those Dragon prows of noble ships
Now drifted past quite slow.
She softly prayed through her dry lips
And watched those great ships go.

Retreating tides ebb back to sea,
Those ships were on their way.
Each dragon prow so proud and free
Was bound now for the bay.

Those raiding Danes came raging back
Loaded down with plunder.
They stopped beside the river track
Faces all like thunder.

Then on the crest of yonder hill
There came the local men.
All armed and ready for the kill:
Those Danes were luckless men.

Beware old women wizened grey,
Beware what they might do
For it could be a fatal day
Unless your deeds are true

She sat and watched the world go by
Beneath her alder tree.
She would grow old and she would die;
Here in a land that’s free.

A dragonfly it hovered there
It hunted for some prey,
An old thrush snatched it from the air:
This seemed the strangest day.

The water boatmen skimmed about
The spiders rise and sink.
So, who knows what this tales about?
Perhaps it made you think!”

Trevor Morgan 2007


† The Anglo Saxon Chronicle records that in the year 845: “…the men of Somerset…with the men of Dorset, fought at the mouth of the Parret with a Danish army there made great slaughter, and took the victory”.
This was in the reign of King Aethelwulf father of Aelfrede the Great.

∗ Most of the rivers about the Severn Sea had tidal bores before the flood prevention works of the 19th century.

Albany Major in his book “The Early Wars of Wessex” points out that at this time Wessex had been in a state of constant war with the Wahls of the South West. This raiding army of Danes entered an area well practiced in warfare.

Wyrd – the Fates

Our distant ancestors felt in they were in the hands of Fate.
Their word for what we might call fate was WYRD. They just accepted change as a part of the “Ways of Wyrd”.
King Alfred translated “The consolations of Philosophy” by Boethius. This dealt with pre-destiny and fate and this seemed most important to him and his people of his time.
This poem forms part of a work about the origins of the Kingdom of Wessex and its people the Gewissae.


Wyrd – the Fates

“When the Fates have been unkind
And the view ahead is dim,
Many may well lose their mind,
Or turn quite dark and grim.

But if the Fates love you,
Then you must be bewares,
As Death comes into view
To take away your cares.

The Fates are fickle ones.
The Fates may twist the knife.
They’ll take the only sons
Or end a happy life.

They’ll heap care on the old,
Take food from off the plate.
For comfort they’ll send cold.
For love they give pure hate.

For fickle are these gods
And they will toy with us,
With kisses or with rods;
So, take care how you cuss.

Your prayers they may reply
But not the way you wish.
They may cause you to cry,
Or feed you to the fish.

When the Fates have been quite kind
And the view ahead is grand,
They may well strike you blind
Or kill you where you stand.

If Fates remain asleep,
Well, then if you are wise….
You’ll not let out a peep,
That way there’s no surprise.”

From: “The Children of Gewis”

Sonnet – Mutability


I like Shelley for his spirit of rebellion.
Our present generation of young snowflakes could learn a lot by visiting his anger and his passion.
Sadly this is not happening. When I visit book shops I see none of his work on the book shelves. I loath soft simpering slop all about hurt feelings that does not have rhythm or rhyme and is so falsely claimed to be poetry!

Mutability was a subject that Shelley visited.  This I honour here.



Men are as shadows cast by faint moonbeams,
A hint of some existence that’s soon gone.
All seems illusion like some waking dreams
Then shades return to where the moonbeams shone.
Like faint discerned reflections in the night
They seem as if alive as moments fly.
Yet, soon they die and are quite gone from sight
Existing only in the tears some cry.
The weepers in a trice themselves soon go;
Faint moonlight passes on and is beyond
The reach of what men seek or ever know.
Illusion and delusion cause despond.
Faint glimmerings in a place where moonbeams shine
Cause egos to scream out “…all this is MINE…”

© Trevor Morgan 8 February 2018


Like Li Bai I am most moved to verse by the Moon on a still night with beer in my belly. (Li Bai had rice wine in his.)

The Villa with the pictures on the floor

Billionaires love to squander on yachts, massive yachts!
Wealthy Romano-Britons loved their villas and their mosaics.
After the roman elite got crazily wealthy and most the population were penniless the western empire collapsed.
Are our elites as vulnerable now?

The villa with pictures on the floor

“The rotten rafters in the roof
They creaked and then gave way.
This house of those folk once aloof
Had finally had its day.

Impoverished now their kin must toil
To gain their meat and bread.
Those once proud now they till the soil
And dwell in fear and dread.

The tiles and rafters clattered down,
The floor’s now lost from view.
Old pictures, mud besmeared and brown,
Had glistened so – when new!

Where slaves had been at beck and call
Or beaten black and blue.
The haughty had now met their fall,
These times seemed good and new.

The pompous nonsense of this place
Seemed so wrong in this land.
The haughty now had faced disgrace;
Gone are the gross and grand.

To spend a fortune on a floor
Now seems a wasteful thing.
Such waste and folly’s gone for sure;
Oh, hear the song thrush sing.

This land itself is much more grand,
Old villas were pretence.
There’s beauties ever here at hand,
They tingle every sense.

The streamlets that here trickle by
Bring music to the ear.
The skylark’s song sung from on high
Brings such a joyful cheer.

The clouds reflected in a brook
Have such a regal grace.
Gone is the overlord’s dark look,
Gone from this wondrous place.

Grass grows now where the ruin fell
All verdant in the spring.
Here now is where the dormice dwell;
And that’s a goodly thing”.

Copyright: Trevor Morgan 27 January 2018

Extract from “After the Battle of Ethandun, Somerset, 25 May 878”

I continue to work on a major work about our past.
There has been a lot of nonsense written about King Arthur, who if he existed, was not successful, his people were defeated.
Based in the same part of England we had a heroic king, Alfred the Great, and few have attempted much narrative verse about his times.
I live in Somerset and as a youth I cycled all around the Somerset Levels and know the landscape quite well.
The following is and extract that tells of the terror felt by a Danish Skald (Bard) and his visions.

Narrative verse ought to aim at telling ripping yarns to entertain and celebrate our brave ancestors.

Spirits of the Waters

The vapours rise up from the sea
& Yet the sea is not dried up.
The rains fall down upon the ground
& Yet the ground is not all drowned.
The rivers flow into the sea
& Yet the sea it is not full.
The fluids and the vapours change,
So why should all of this seem strange?
The oceans waves lap on the shore,
Great clouds float by up in the sky,
All cycles turnabout once more
All’s back to what it was before.


The Grief of the Skald from Dublin

Defeat may lead to total shock
Where men are used to win.
It seems as though the gods all mock,
Could pride have been their sin?

The Escape of the Skald

When as a boy in Dublin town
Bjorn had learned the way of verse.
He’d never gained much great renown,
Nor ever filled his purse

This skald hid in the sedge and reeds,
He’d hid himself away.
He stood in awe of Alfred’s deeds
And so was moved to pray.

He slipped away from that strange place,
Went inland up the Brue.
So, filled with awe with ashen face
He pondered what to do.

Modron Arose

The water Goddess Modron sleeps
Beneath the river Brue
And in her dreams, she softly weeps
At crimes that great men do.

Some water flowed down one small leaf,
Some flowed in with the tide,
Their merging was so sweet but brief;
That dewdrop felt such pride.

“I am the pool from here on high
You are the pool below
And myriads like me bye and bye
Make all the rivers flow.

We glint here as the morning dew,
We fill the oceans wide,
As I join with You River Brue
I swell the deep spring tide”

But Modron, Morgan of the Fey
Was happy when at rest,
She sleeps on nearly every day;
Through her our land is blest.

When Modron’s hazel eyes are closed
Her waters gently flow ,
Awoken, then men are exposed
As furious torrents flow.

While sleeping waters are the best
Swift waters fill with wrath.
So, Danes disturbing Modron’s rest
Had drowned ‘neath foam and froth.

“Odhinn, Odhinn, I call your name
How can we fight their King?
I’m racked now by such total shame
Bring me new words to sing.”

The gods of water and of air
Are never reconciled,
They feud about us everywhere,
Their raging feuds are wild.

The waters seemed to boil right there,
A sword rose from the pool.
Then Modron with her raven hair
Gazed at him cold and cruel.

“Who calls upon foul Odhinn here?
This is where I hold sway.
The waters of this reedy Meare
Will always block his way.”

That skald had never seen such things,
No god, nor elf, nor sprite.
His trade was just to sing to kings;
He sagged there weak with fright.

“You man of words, you say no words
So, have some words from me.
Hark; hear afar, the song of birds,
Birds unlike you are free.

Once you were brave, now you’re my slave
Do as I say or die!
You’ll drown here in a watery grave…”
That skald began to cry.

“Oh, water god tell me your name,
I do not know this land.
Tell me so I may sing your fame,
That all may understand”

Still Modron held that sword up high,
Her eyes burned through his soul.
He did not care that he might die
His faith made him seem whole.

She entered deep within his brain,
His body seemed so cold.
Resisting her would be in vain,
She made him fit her mould.

He saw the ways these waters flow,
Each eddy and each wave.
She showed him things few Danes would know
On this side of the grave.

He saw the water fairies there,
He knew of their great rage.
They liked to live without a care
In this and every age.

But Gudrum had disturbed their ease,
He brought war to their Meare.
‘Twas they who took away the breeze,
Odhinn cannot win here.

Of seven mortal sons of Fri
Six bloodlines are now dead.
The last is here and shall not die;
Hark to what Fri has said.

Odhinn’s war bands must face defeat,
Though Odhinn led them here.
All powers greater powers meet,
Soft water rusts the spear.

My waters trickle from the hills
Fed by the gentle rain.
The softest trickling little rills
Men think of as mundane.

My waters wear away high slopes ,
My softness just needs time.
They’ve halted Gudrum’s foolish Hopes,
False vengeance is a crime.

This place endures best left alone,
Leave this sweet land to sleep.
Bring rage here and you lose your throne
And watery tears you’ll weep.

You’re not a part of this land here,
It’s not a part of you.
Begone or face eternal fear,
Heed warnings that are true”

The skald then went into a trance
Modron led him by hand.
The Danes then faced such sad mischance
For all went as she planned.

She took the skald to Gudrum’s camp,
She left him in a daze
Upon that marshland cold and damp
He lay there for two days.

Men tried to rouse him from that trance
His staring eyes looked dead.
They hid and feared their foe’s advance;
Trapped here where none were fed.

Bjorn the Now Mad Skald Awoke

“The spirits of this place have spoke,
Odhinn won’t have his way.
The water gods and fairy folk
Say that we must not stay.

These Gewissae will not flay us here,
They’ll grant to each his life
And we may have no need to fear,
Once there’s an end to strife.

Some sacrifices must be made,
Our cause must bear a loss.
These Gewissae here must now be paid,
Some must go to the Cross”

Modron gave him the words to say,
Words that would give her rest.
She wanted wars to go away;
Those heathens were impressed.

For water had caused their defeat
Where water gods have rule.
And wise men know when they are beat
And none here was a fool.

A small cascade flowed down a leaf
Yet more flowed with the tide.
Each dewdrop’s life it may be brief
Besides the waters wide.

All these glints of the morning dew
Feed rivulets and streams,
They go to fill the lazy Brue
Where Modron sleeps and dreams.


From: “Tales of the sorrowful”


The People of Wessex were originally called the Gewissae

The battle was fought between Alfred’s forces consisting of the men of Somerset, Wiltshire and parts of Hampshire and the Great Heathen Army of the Danes led by Gudrum.  It was a rout for the Danes and their leader converted to Christianity.  It seems Alfred won the psychological war as well as the battle

The location of the battle is disputed by academic historians.  I place it in Somerset somewhere between Burtle and Brent Knoll. I date the battle based on tide data I obtained from NASA.

The seven sons of Fri are the seven Kingdoms of the English.  All were conquered except for Wessex.


© Trevor Morgan 2007

A warrior and the song of the sea breeze

In Welsh mythology Dylan sings so beautifully that his music is immortal while he was not. It is there always in the songs of the sea breeze.
This I put in a narrative about Somerset in the early months of the year 878. Oddo, an earl of Devon destroyed a Danish force at Cwmwych at the mouth of the River Parret and then travelled to help the remnant forces of Wessex at Athelney. I have him pause on his journey at Brent Knoll where Dylan’s songs help him in his trauma. People of that period are the same as we are; they need to seek comfort when distressed.
(Brent Knoll is also a good site for lookouts should more ships enter the Severn Sea.)


Odda Journeys to Athelney

He stood alone there on the Knoll
His back towards the shore.
His soul had paid a dreadful toll,
He gazed towards the Tor.

Strange vapours of the mystic land
Half hid the Tor from view.
There’s much men may not understand
And much they live to rue.

A wind blew from the Severn Sea,
It bore a constant tone;
That tone it seemed so full of glee
Within its dainty drone.

The sun grew bright the mists rolled by,
The Tor shone in this light.
That wind it seemed to sing and sigh
At such a ghostly sight.

This soldier sank down on one knee
Put both hands on the dirt,
The song it seemed so good, so free,
It rose above all hurt.

Eternally it seemed to sing,
The sun traversed the sky.
That lonesome man heard everything,
These wonders made him cry.

He had not cried since as a boy
He’d suffered some small pain.
Here his tears were the tears of joy,
Joy for this soft refrain.

Sweet Dylan sings soft on these slopes,
His songs enchant this land.
He sees men’s souls are filled with hopes
To face what’s now at hand.


Dylan Sings Eternally

So, Dylan drifts about and softly sings.
Off coasts he can be heard in calm or squall.
His fingers may have ceased to pluck the strings,
His gods it seemed had gone had met their fall.
Yet Dylan seems content, his songs lived on,
The winds across the Severn Sea hum sweet.
This poet, this great bard cannot be gone
So long as folk have hearts, good hearts that beat
And souls that seek to soar up with the birds
Proclaiming out aloud, of life, of love,
Of all that may be said with rhythmic words
That like the birds soar everywhere above.
There’s more than merely words within a lay,
Through poesy and through song good folk do pray.


© Trevor Morgan 2005

Dylan is a good choice of name for a good singer

Tales of the Gewissae (part 1)

The so-called Dark Ages fascinate me.
My major work is a series of partly fictional narratives interspersed with ballads and sonnets about the people of this land (the South West of England) from the end of the Roman Empire in Britain to the year 1065.  I love narrative verse.

The people who emerged as dominant, in what became known as Wessex, were originally called the Gewissae. They claimed descent from a legendary figure named Gewis. Their first recorded king, Cerdic (possibly a short form of the Welsh name Caradoc) was crowned in Winchester in the year 519.

My first narrative covers the mythical characters of their past. The second starts with Cerdic, King of the Gewissae.

As an aside the English royal family and all but three English Monarchs claim descent from the royal line of Cerdic. These were once known as the Cerdicingas.

The story starts after a defeat and their struggle just to survive as they sought aid from their Goddess.

Cerdic and the Soothsayer

Deep in the wood beneath a sacred ash
Lit by the moonlight of a waxing moon,,
As from the east there came a lightning flash
Thor’s booming thunder followed there and soon
There came a roaring squall a raging gale.
The soothsayer and the earl would face this night.
The mystic clad in furs the earl in mail,
When visions came then one of them felt fright.
Cerdic could face an army charging down
On horse, though he’d stand firm and mostly win the day.
This man of war and courage and renown
Stood terrified of gods and of the fey.
Yeoster the goddess of his kin was near;
‘Twas Cerdic not the sayer who felt fear!

Aelfwine feared not this goddess whom he knew,
But Cerdic faced what to him was unknown.
His faith in all the gods was firm and true,
Without their help he could not gain a throne.
That hill near Bath had seen a great defeat ,
Their army riven through they’d lost the day.
Though he could kill a foe in battle’s heat
When ransom’s paid then men increase their pay.
But Dux Bellorum’s men killed all they caught,
Their throats cut like a sacrificial beast.
For those who got away life had been fraught.
In time though all that harassing decreased.
So, this night in the woods by Frillford Heath
He stood here with this strange slime on his teeth.

Fly agaric may open doors ajar
And new perceptions may be seen
And opened minds may wander wide, afar,
And then may know what mysteries may mean
In time the door will firmly swing back shut
And then the body writhe in pain
Convulsing through the limbs, the chest, the gut
True visions may well help but cause such strain

He’d chewed that stuff that Aelfwine gave to him
Mid ruins of some temples to the gods .
It made him retch; its cloying taste was grim,
He did this now to even up the odds.
Without divine support their cause was done .
But none of his folk cared to be a slave
And Britons would enslave them when they won.
Now all of them would sooner face the grave
Than be the trophy of some oafish chief.
But Britons now engaged in fratricide;
Now was the time and Britons would know grief.
In time he hoped they could be forced aside,
So, here this night within this holy glade
He prayed the Goddess come now to his aid!

The gods sometimes they may toy with a man.
Whole nations may be used and thrown aside.
But there’s much to be done in one short span
And Faith told him his Goddess was his guide.
Then Aelfwine started some strange mythic hymn
But Cerdic did not know what these words meant.,
His vision blurred and all about seemed dim
The strength within his limbs now all was spent.
The ground there seemed to roll like waves at sea,
That rhythmic chant now echoed through his head.
He seemed to leave his body and float free.
The Goddess must be here, he was not dead,
As Aelfwine’s voice then dwindled to a hush,
Then phantoms swarmed about him in a rush.

Aelfwine’s Hymn to Yeoster

“Oh, Yeoster goddess of the earth
Eternal you must be.
Goddess of Death and all Rebirth
All seasons are in thee.

The spring, the summer and the fall
Winter with icy breath,
They are all at your beck and call
For you are life and death.

Dead things they go back to the earth,
So life may thrive and grow.
You bring all sadness and all mirth
On Midgard here below.

The fall, the winter and the spring
The summer, warm as well,
Are all the seasons that you bring
In this land where we dwell.

In cycles of the moon you showed
The holy females worth.
With them alone there is bestowed
The joy and pain of birth.

All things that grow from out the earth
They must all come from you
And all you give is of great worth,
Beneath the sky so blue.

All men who come from out the womb
They too have come from you.
Tween birth pangs and the dismal tomb
We give to you all due.

Goddess of life bring love and joy
Pray let us all live long.
Oh, let your gifts your folk enjoy,
Let none here do you wrong.

Oh, Yeoster goddess of the earth
Eternal you must be.
Goddess of Death and all Rebirth
Pray Goddess come to me”

And then it was the sky and moon were gone
And both of them were in a lofty hall
And he could see his Goddess and she shone;
Her sensual form smelled sweet and she was tall.
In turns she then seemed girl child, wife and crone;
All phases of the life of womankind.
He wondered in what ways he could atone
For having had such limits to his mind.
When Yeoster spoke to Aelfwine then at last
He knew that here it’s he that must be mute.
He listened as she spoke of things long past
Yet Aelfwine here would be calm and astute
And Aelfwine asked of Yeoster that they see;
Not just things past but what was yet to be…

A mist it swirled around about them there
As Yeoster took the two men by the hand.
It was as though at once they were elsewhere
There to the south on Cerdic’s own sweet land.
His son stood there beside an open grave
His weapons and his shield lay on the ground.
Some old man spoke some words, said “…he was brave”,
And all about there was a wailing sound.
That mist it swirled about them there once more.
He saw his son’s shield burning on a pyre,
A man somewhat like him stood to the fore
Intoning prayers before that funeral fire.
“Your third king is the one who’ll win this fight
And bring an end to Britons and their spite”

“You tried hard to fit in and to belong
Your only use here was to fight and die.
These Britons though they know not right from wrong
They offered you good pay – that was a lie.
There’s no way that they’ll let you integrate,
It seems they feel they are more gods than men
And you were used as tools for their proud state,
And now you’re stuck here in their demon’s den.
Your homeland is long lost beneath the sea,
The gods of water drove you to this land
And Fate has blown you here like some ash key
Windblown it has no need to understand.
Like ash that puts down roots in this damp earth
This land will be your folks – they are of worth”

“For now, your task here is to stay alive
Until your foe completes their fratricide.
There is no shame in those who just survive,
There’s folly in a fight that’s suicide!
Behold a Grandson stands at your son’s pyre,
Some ten miles from Mount Badon he will win,
And kill three kings and put three towns to fire
And cleanse this foe of all their foulest sin.
Enlarging then a realm ruled by your line,
Three hundred years will pass ‘til ravens feed
As hungry serpents gorge and then entwine
And hybrid forms across this land will breed.
Now you may see no more of what’ to come
The dawn will kiss the east – this night is done!”

Confused awhile he felt as though quite lost,
As hoar frost formed upon the morning ground
And yet a crocus flowered here in the frost.
So now it seemed those answers he had found.
A giddy swirling sense possessed them now
As each sank back into their worldly flesh.
It seemed the goddess was this mist, somehow
The air about was cold and damp but fresh
And bore the faintest hint of Yeoster’s scent.
He knew now that she was here everywhere.
He knew too that his foe would soon relent
And also that he must now tread with care;
Impetuous men find circumspection hard,
When Death’s about all must be on their guard!

The storm was gone this mist hung limp about,
Two men lay still in vomit on the ground.
Quite close they heard some foreign horsemen shout;
Both prayed to Yeoster that they be not found.
While mist is soft and all know it must yield,
It filled that woodland and the morning air
And so, two heathen men now lay concealed
From Britons who would calmly kill them there.
Both lay there then quite still throughout that day.
That night the moon was full and shone on high,
Two canny men then softly slipped away
Beneath a starry, lovely springtime sky.
The Dragon may well be a ravening beast
But Cerdic’s folk survived and then increased!

From: Cerdic and the Soothsayer


The defeat near Bath was the battle of Mons Badonicus.

The fungus, Fly Ageric is common locally and a hallucinogen.

I situate this in Woods near Frilford Heath the site of ruined Roman Temples and the place of my birth.

Hooded man in the wood

We have many myths.  Some are based on real characters or events, some not.
Sadly we cannot tell which are and which are not.  In a way this does not matter.  We all ought to enjoy some stories.


Hooded man in the wood

The path meandered through the wood.
A walker walked that way.
He wore a heavy woven hood,
This was a brand-new day.

It seemed strange as he walked along
There through the silent trees.
This day he could not hear bird song
So, he was ill at ease.

The sun rose silent in the sky,
The wood seemed denser yet.
He dropped his purse but let it lie;
He had no cares nor debt.

There may be care most everywhere
He felt no care nor fear
Some things you do you may not share
Soon he would lie dead here

He’d fought his last fight late last night,
Alone he’d walked away.
His wound at first had seemed quite light;
It seemed not so this day.

Alone he had struck out for home,
In pain he’d wandered on.
Then he let out a muffled moan,
Right there his strength seemed gone.

I found him dead beneath a yew,
Cobwebs upon his face.
He’d done what others dared not do:
They live on in disgrace!

I dug his grave deep in the wood
But took his hood to keep.
I think he thought he had done good.
How so, when many weep?

© T Morgan, 21 October 2017