the unruly waves
will reveal the measure
of the craft and her persona
the unruly waves
will reveal the measure
of the craft and her persona
Pink flanked mackerel
in pursuit of silver shoals
across turquoise seas,
messages that all can read
etched above in Babel’s tongues.
A place to rest, asleep yet not,
while others come to gaze
and wonder, in their reverie
proud fathers calling, deep
from within these hollow hills
they lie serene beneath this
In spiral circles
no leader, no followers
all remain equal,
tracing each line with finger
connection of the senses
Picture from Bob Williams, Arx Cynuit
They congregated up in the hills, far away from judging eyes. This would be the last time that any of these people would see these Northern barbarians. Fight or die Cobanorum had said and they would follow this exhortation to the end. Far below they could see the torches zigzagging up the heather-clad slope. The Norsemen had beached their boats at sunset and after making their usual offerings to their ineffective Gods had decided the auspices were right for an assault on the lonely village.
Toothless old men, young boys, women with babies at the breast, young girl, all were assembled at the call to repel this parasitic invader. Those who would take their women and children, mock their Christ, their priests, and without compassion, maim, disfigure and take the life of their brave fighting men.
Their weapons were the tools of the field but they had one advantage, they were fighting for their lives, their homes, all that was held dear. Death had no meaning, for life would never be the same if they were defeated. In their favour was the gift nature had bestowed upon them, the sheer sea cliff, the stone, turf-clad walls, built to protect them from this predicted onslaught. All they had to rely on was the knowledge and belief that their courage would be as strong as the mighty earthen banks built over time with the strength of theirs and their ancestor’s own arms.
The result of their struggle is well known and I am happy to tell you of their victory. Thus was the legend born we know as the battle of Arx Cynuit, the last attempt by the accursed Danes to subdue this island race.
It was a long walk but it was worth it. I had followed the old drover’s road from the beach at Porlock Weir. In times past the only way that the necessities of life could be carried to the outlying small settlements on the moor was either by pack-horse or pulled on sledges, called truckles. Their way had for centuries been blocked by a fast-flowing stream which had it’s birth on the high moor till it finally plunged into the sea at Becky falls. A total length of over forty miles as the crow flies but much further with all the twists and turns as it followed the contours of the land. This old bridge was the only crossing point. Still standing after probably hundreds of years but virtually disused; having outlasted it’s reason for being, now only serving as a mystery to any hiker who happened to come upon it in their travels.
Surrounded by dappled sunlight, I decided to rest, breathe in the cool air and enjoy the idyllic scene. I stretched out, my back propped against my rucksack on the large granite rock which formed a firm foundation for the little archway, like the roof support of some parish church nave. The only sound was of the rushing stream, each ripple and wavelet jostling it’s neighbour in the race to pass through the narrow channel. In my drowsy state I imagined I heard the sound of whinnying, snorting and shouting. The use of the whip being unnecessary as the proud little Exmoor ponies would have known the direction they were heading and the path they needed to take. Back up to their homeland to discharge the sand for the farmers to mix in with with their cloying, damp, peaty soil from which to try and wrest a few reluctant crops.
The names of those who built this stout bridge are long forgotten but the moss-lined, grass-topped, faced stones remain as testimony to their skill as they helped others to carve a life from the inhospitable region they were proud to call their home.
Brother Alphonso started to feel rather pleased with himself. Although it was considered a violation of the rules of the Order, a form of vanity. He found it very hard not to let a smile show on his face, just a slight upturn of the lips. He smoothed the parchment and prepared his writing tool ready to transcribe the last two lines. He had been working on the Ogham script for fourteen months. Now he was the first and only person able to read the legends as they were written. Sadly his excitement at the translation proved too much for his elderly body as he collapsed to the floor having suffered a fatal heart attack.
The portal opens
released, golden dawn is freed
her bounty granted
I awoke with a start. Disappointed I found myself in my cramped bed-chamber but I was intoxicated with joy for I had dreamed of an encounter with the Gods. Voices from on high had echoed in my head. Inviting me to join with them in their magnificent palace in the skies. Zeus himself had called my name. He had sent a magnificent swan to stand beside my bower. I climbed upon the beautiful bird’s broad, silk-soft back and was carried up into the heavens. Faster than the wind we flew till we reached a golden castle adorned with towers and minarets. Oh, so gently the swan landed in a magnificent garden where fountains played and I was greeted by a group of hand-maidens who, laughing at my shy confusion, ushered me into a scented room. Along one wall was a carved ebony bench on which a smiling cherub sat, in his hands a lyre from which he teased a tune of infinite harmony. In the centre of the floor was a steaming pool of water on which floated many brightly coloured lotus blossoms. I was invited to bathe and afterwards. emerging from the pool was anointed with sweet perfumes. They wrapped me in silken robes and I was gently ushered into a room with white marble walls. Each covered in damask tapestries of intricate design. Dazzled by the opulence of my surroundings I was urged to recline upon an amber couch furnished with cushions of infinite softness. My feathery steed stood sentinel and held his wings above me as a canopy. I laid my head upon the pillow and immediately fell into a deep slumber. That is all I, Leda, remember of my encounter with the Gods, be it fantasy or frolic.
Gaydon had been celebrating. Darts night in The Cottage Inne and his team had just won. It was time to go home. Rosie, his wife would be waiting up for him. On his way he saw some people dancing in the moonlight. They grabbed his hands and he found himself spinning faster and faster till he collapsed. He awoke alone and continued his walk home to tell Rosie he had been pixie-led. Fool, she said, you should have turned your coat inside out and you would have been safe from their spells.
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