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.

Sonnet – The good man’s prolonged death

Life can be unkind, even as it ends.
This sonnet is from a narrative work about the early wars of Wessex.
I wrote it not long before spinal surgery. I was screaming inside my head with pain at the time.


The good man’s prolonged death

The pain brought clouds of darkness to his mind.
His soul screamed for relief but there was none,
None for the pain continued on with its pure grind
And nothing, nothing now could here be done.
He’d screamed and screamed but screams brought no relief
And when he stopped he panted to take breath.
When sleeping drafts brought sleep the sleep was brief,
Then when awake he’d pray for some swift death,
But Death held back refusing to relent.
For some the end is swift, ah, oh, so quick.
Although he screamed aloud that he’d repent
The Fates they seemed now up to some old trick,
The suffering of the cruel may well seem right;
This good man’s end seemed cruel, an act of spite.

© Trevor Morgan 2010

From: “Tales of the Gewissae”

Song for nameless Heroes

Some can act with total clarity
While others may well dither and be lost.

As Shakespeare put it:-
“And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action…”

(Hamlet, Act III, scene I)

Song for nameless Heroes

“From very depths of dire despair
Some see a faint dim glow.
Was it a sign of some sweet air?
Just how were they to know?

With just a hint of faintest Hope
Just what were they to do?
Like putting trust in some old rope,
Mistakes can punish you!

Should we just meekly sit and wait,
Or trust to our own will?
Ah, we’re all in the hands of Fate
Where one wrong move could kill.

To hesitate may be to lose,
Or so the saying goes.
But which way were they then to choose,
It’s Chance alone, that knows!

And yet decisions that men take
May not be all that stark.
There’s some old ties we must forsake
That kept us in the dark.

Where everything is seeming odd
Beneath some faintish hue.
None may rely upon some god
To tell us what to do.

Then ditheringly we could have sat
Awaiting some rescue.
Through gritted teeth our Heroes spat
Ah, they knew what to do!

From out the depths of dire despair
They strove towards that glow.
They sought and gained the sweetest air
And left faint hearts below!”

Adapted from: “The Children of Gewis”
Trevor Morgan, 10 March 2012

Sonnet – Stand and Wait!

Milton wrote “they also serve who stand and wait”
Milton never was quite my cup of tea so I could not resist taking the contrary approach!

Stand and wait!

There is no service where you stand and wait,
Just drawn out time when all seems bleak and sad.
Moods swing there so between pure love and hate.
Now too much waiting can drive sound minds mad.
Some mothers pace about both night and morn;
While others will ensure no mood’s revealed
Nor let some see inside where all’s forlorn.
With effort they ensure all sadness is concealed.
Secure, each child may hold tight mother’s hand.
Some young though seem to know good words to say.
Ah, strange it is how some young understand
And empathise upon the darkest day.
Then joy explodes at last when news arrives
And out of dismal Fear true Hope then thrives.

©Trevor Morgan 12 November 2014

HMS Bluebell

On 17 February, as Convoy RA 64 was assembling off Murmansk, Bluebell was hit in the stern by an acoustic homing torpedo fired by U-711, which caused her depth charges to explode. She sank in less than 30 seconds at 69°24′N 33°42′E From her crew of 86 ratings and officers there was only one survivor: Albert Holmes from Southampton.


HMS Bluebell – Sunk off the Kola Inlet 17 February 1945

Rising up to seek the light,
Upward through the winter cold.
Springtime is not yet in sight,
Ah, not all things will grow old.

Plucked up when it reached full bloom,
Thrown aside – but not forgot.
Lost there in the chill and gloom,
That place now – a sacred spot.

Bluebells bless our woodland floor
In the spring foretell of peace.
Each year may there grow yet more,
Let Bluebell’s glory never cease.

In the woodlands Bluebells grow,
Growing up through winter’s cold.
How they make a glorious show
Precious more than burnished gold.

Little ship sunk in that sea
All but one went down with her.
Died to keep this old world free;
Young men die when old men err.

From: “Arctic Elegies”

Sonnet – Winds of Change

It is strange how some resist change.
Surely change is a constant and little stays the same.
Even mighty mountains are worn away in time.


Sonnet – Winds of Change

“Whirling and swirling in patterns so strange,
The dust out of doors is dancing about.
This is not the same as strange winds of change
That make things once certain now feel full of doubt.
The future’s scarce like such swirling’s of dust,
For it’s in no way as easy to see.
Yet each in their time must do as they must.
This now it seems is the way things ought be;
Who is secure then when old realms decline?
When problems abound and times become hard
Beneath the dark cloud who sees the sun shine?
Like dust and like dirt outside in the yard,
Now, oft times we see such swirling’s of hate
When fleet winds of change are beckoned by Fate.”

From: “The Children of Gewis”

The reckoning day(s)

There seem to be repeating patterns to history.
In their book, “The Fourth Turning” William Strauss, Neil Howe go to great lengths to describe these patterns. While I am not convinced by them it does seem some things do repeat. We get rid of one bad lot only to see the next lot turn bad.
The price is eternal vigilance I guess.

The reckoning day(s)

Where leaders are all sneaks and cheats
And everyone a liar,
Ahead lie all those sad defeats
As all’s lost in a mire.

As parties spin for us a “line”
Some may sound seeming wise,
Where false is “fact” that is the sign
Of old states in decline.

Each paper money printing press
May manufacture “credit”.
Then poverty and social stress
Prove credit’s just a debit.

Where banks get up to age old pranks
And toilers get less pay
And slave away but get no thanks;
Ahead’s the reckoning day.

All can avoid those sad defeats
As Hope burns on its pyre.
Where leaders were all sneaks and cheats
And each one was liar.

Despair marched vainly to the fore
All puffed out with false pride.
The world’s been through all this before,
Despair it was that died.

The spinning spirals of events
Gyrate along through time.
Celebrate with some sad laments;
Then wash away the grime.

Then root out all the sneaks and cheats
Let Honesty remain.
Recover from those past defeats;
Then let’s all start again.

In time perhaps, a small white lie
May seem expedient
And few may care to question why,
So are obedient.

Then cheats and sneaks may slowly gain,
Arising as before.
As once again we bear the stain
And life becomes a chore.

Again, we’re led by sneaks and cheats,
With each one a liar.
Ahead lie still more sad defeats
As all’s lost in a mire.


© Trevor Morgan 2018

A Living Poet’s Apology

It has always seemed to me that poetry is the art of the dead.
Poets are rarely recognised when alive. This may well be for the best. Too much approval would only take the edge off of their works.


A Living Poet’s Apology

I know I must apologise
For not being dead.
For I should start to decompose
Before I’m being read.

Reader will you please realise
A secret we might share;
You and I could idealize,
That I’m not really there.

My verses could then bear some weight,
You’ld not be woe be gone.
We could relax and contemplate
with verses by “Anon”.


© T Morgan 1997 and © Anon.

Sonnet – The Lioness

I like Kipling’s words:
“For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.”
He must have known a lot of women like the women I know!

The Lioness

The lioness she licked her paw that night.
The blood between her claws it tastes so sweet.
Her murderous teeth they seemed the purest white,
Those teeth that tore through warm and living meat.
Those teeth that squoze¹ a throat, oh, how it bled!
Her prey through spasms soon hung limp and still,
She softly purred through lips so moist and red.
The taste of blood to her gave such a thrill,
Male lions in her pride might well now eat.
Her young they too would drink her copious milk
As laying belly bloated full of meat.
All ought fear her and all her ilk;
The female is most deadly when at bay.
Her kith and kin ought thank her every day!

Trevor Morgan 2010

From: “Queen Aethelburg of the Gewissae”


  1. “Squoze”:  Past tense of squeeze but only in some local dialects.
    I could write squeezed but “squoze a throat” is how my muse gave the line to me. the repeat of the “o” sound works for me.
    It also gives grammar purists something get mardy about.