Samhain-Halloween Now….

Happy Halloween, and a Blessed Samhain.

Some nice stuff today and tonight. We may be updating this as the day goes into night, so check back. Please let others know about the goings on as well.

On The Menu

The Links


Samhain/Halloween Updates Information From Scotland: 3 different articles from Scottish writers on various aspects of the holiday. A good overview, suggested reading!

Poetry: Halloween – by Robert Burns….

Radio Station is still down. Router Trouble and all that. My apologies in the delay. Hopefully in the next couple of days. Dealing with British Telecom is hellish.

Enjoy your celebrations tonight! With you in spirit….



The Links

Man Bat Sighted by LaCrosse Area Man and Son

Nut Cracker!

The Beast of Bladenboro

New Glowing Mushrooms Found in Brazil




Samhain/Halloween Updates Information From Scotland…

How Halloween turned into a Monster

GIE’S oor Halloween … The traditional cry of the guiser grows ever fainter, driven into the outer darkness of what was once All Hallow’s Eve by strident shrieks of “trick or treat”. The once-ubiquitous reek of burnt neep is dissipated under the glare of the pumpkin, that transatlantic yellow peril which has all but usurped our native turnip as lord of Halloween misrule.

While police forces across the country issue warnings about excessive trick-or-treating, the gibbering of ghaisties and ghoulies enjoying their annual spree is drowned out by the ringing tills of what has become a multi-million-pound industry.

After Christmas and Easter, according to research analysts, Halloween is the third-most profitable event for retailers in Britain, with associated spending rocketing from £12 million five years ago to an anticipated £120 million this year – reflecting, among other things, the move from home-made guising costumes to often ready-made, bought outfits.

And this is not just for children: the adult fancy dress and decoration sector is the fastest-growing aspect of Halloween spending – while the UK pumpkin market is worth some £25 million.

Pumpkins, of course, as even the most fervent Halloween fundamentalist has to agree, are easier to carve than turnips (many of us will recall maternal wrath as the best kitchen knife was mangled, and spoil heaps of surplus neep accumulated). The leering orange vegetable’s popularity may also have been boosted among adults by reports that its seeds may improve the sex drive.

Perhaps the cry should be “Gie’s back oor Halloween”, as the one-time pagan Celtic festival of Samhain, hijacked by Christianity as All Hallow’s Eve, is reduced to a consumer-driven charade, like Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day. Perversely, it has come full circle, the holiday having been first imported to America with Scots and Irish emigrants, then returned, rehashed and hugely commercialised, to Britain and Europe over the past century.

But this is not necessarily something we should worry too much about, according to Professor Hugh O’Donnell of Glasgow Caledonian University’s cultural business group. It regards the festival as having become such a phenomenon it is holding an international Halloween conference tomorrow and Wednesday.

“I don’t actually think the traditional Scottish Halloween has gone away,” he says. “My own experience in our street in Motherwell, the kids still come round, still guising as I remember it.

“And usually they still expect to sing something, tell a joke. In America and Canada, the kids don’t do anything any more. I think we’ll get a mixture of both; the traditional guising, but you’ll see pumpkins in people’s windows.”

Prof O’Donnell and his colleagues are engaged with all aspects of the ancient festival, from the cultural to the religious to the commercial – conference papers cover issues as varied as the festival’s folklore; its significance to New Age Wiccans; supernatural tourism in Scotland and Transylvania, and the intriguing-sounding Dracula Was A Woman and Media Representations Of Halloween In A Post-Socialist Country.

Prof O’Donnell points to the way Halloween has grown in England and Europe where a few decades ago it was virtually unknown, partly due, he suggests, to the popular impact of John Carpenter’s Halloween horror film and its sequels.

“It only really started to appear in continental Europe from about the Nineties. In the Catholic countries, they would have celebrated All Hallows. Then Halloween arrived, not from Scotland or Ireland, where it was born, but from America, where we took it in the 19th century. It came to Europe with these big Halloween movies, rather than in any Celtic form.”

For story-teller and children’s theatre director Allison Galbraith, who has been doing Halloween workshops with school children as part of the current Scottish Storytelling Festival, the traditional elements of Halloween are still about, “although usually only if there’s someone older around, a granny or a mum or a schoolteacher, who insists that they learn their party piece, rather than just ‘trick or treat’”.

“Having been in shops seeing about costumes, I’m blown away by how commercial it’s become,” adds Galbraith, who grew up in a Scottish household in the West Midlands where the late-autumn festival was unheard of – “we held the first Halloween party for my school pals”.

“We’ve been busy carving pumpkins,” she confesses. “But we’re using a turnip for the show as well. My partner was given the job of carving it and has been muttering about it being so much harder.”

And she suggests, interestingly, that the “trick or treat” concept may not be as alien as we like to protest, referring to the late F Marian McNeil’s Silver Bough, which describes the seasonal japes played in crofting communities, which involved everything from blowing smoke into unsuspecting cottages to much turnip-hurling.

Currently visiting Newfoundland, where she spent several years of her life, the Scots Gaelic folklorist and singer Margaret Bennett notes the huge growth in the Halloween industry there, with houses and gardens bedecked with ghosts, bats and pumpkins: “Wherever you turn, it seems no effort is spared to out-Christmas Christmas. And of course there’s the sell, sell, sell – candies, costumes and masks – at any price you’re crazy enough to pay.”

When she returned to Scotland from Canada in the 1970s, Bennett was reassured to find Halloween still being celebrated, but she soon found the pumpkins following her across the Atlantic. She regrets these changes “enormously – and not because folk have changed the way of celebrating; change is part of the whole cycle of tradition. It’s how they’ve changed. The material aspects and commercial pressures are merely a reflection of the changes in Scottish culture in general, with a headlong rush to embrace every aspect of America that can possibly be absorbed into, or superimposed on, our way of life and customs.

“But, perhaps most damaging of all, it denies children the opportunity of being as creative as their forebears. There was fun and freedom in making costumes and even masks out of just about anything. What we now have is a society where people expect everything to have a bar-coded price tag, and a tension between parents and children, all so brainwashed and pressured by the whole business.”

Bennett points to the festival’s origins in the Celtic New Year: “If we feel the need to celebrate any time, Scots especially, it is this time. If we could shove commercialism aside, I think there is a place for the recognition and celebration of the cycle of life mirrored in the cycle of the year and the seasons and special days, including Halloween.”

So perhaps strike a blow for tradition and turnip farmers – celebrate a traditional Halloween tomorrow night. Although perhaps avoid the precincts of Glasgow Caledonian University, which is liable to be haunted by guising academics attending the conference’s Halloween dinner.


A Harvest of Halloween Traditions

LONG before the Christians turned the season into a service for souls and saints, Halloween was the ancient pagan ceremony of Samhain. Allhallows Eve was the night that Druids – or Celtic priests – gave thanks for the harvest and heralded the coming of winter. It was also a time when this world and the next came together and the Host of the Dead were abroad.

Ghosts, goblins, witches and fairies were all believed to roam at will, so the Druids lit bonfires to protect the living, disguised themselves to avoid being recognised and attempted to propitiate these other-worldly visitors with food and drink.

Halloween was also a night when young people turned their thoughts to their future. More specifically, they wanted to know whom they would marry and whether fortune awaited them.

Many of the traditions we associate with Halloween in Scotland can be traced to our ancestors’ fear of the dead and desire to know the future.


Fire reminds us of the Druids lighting up the night skies with bonfires to banish the spooks. Turnip or pumpkin lanterns give as much comfort to us in the dark as they would have done to people in the past. The Ordeal by Fire comes down to us in a sanitised form that has been changed even in the last 100 years. Traditionally a rod was suspended from the ceiling with a lit candle placed at one end and an apple at the other. The rod was spun round while the assembled company attempted to take a bite out of the apple. Given the danger, it is not surprising that latterly the candle was omitted and only the apple swung. Today a treacle scone or doughnut is often substituted and few will realise that they are honouring a Druidic ritual.


Alongside the Ordeal by Fire was the Ordeal by Water, which is most commonly played out today when we duck for apples. The symbolic journey by the Druids across water to the mythical “apple-land” is re-enacted when we try and bite these fruits bobbing up and down in a half-filled bath of water. (Please note: scaredy-cats, or the particularly well-dressed, can cop out by holding a fork between their teeth to try and stab the apples.)

Once you get your apple the greedy can eat it, or else you can keep it for the next most important part of our Halloween traditions…..


There are as many ways to find out how your future lies – most involve fruit, nuts or vegetables from the harvest. However, almost all of the prophecies are geared toward revealing your loved ones. So if you’re not interested in walking down the aisle or finding out if your partner is loyal, then look away now.


Take your apple and divide it into nine segments. Eat eight pieces standing with your back turned to a mirror then throw the ninth portion over your shoulder. When you turn round you will see the face of your intended in the mirror. (Honest!). Alternatively you can peel the apple, throw the peelings over your shoulder where the initial of your loved one’s surname will be revealed.


Another way to find out whether you’ll have a happy future is to place two hazelnuts on the embers of a fire. Name one nut after yourself and the other after the significant other in your life. If you’re mismatched then the nuts will jump about and split apart. If they remain constant and side-by-side, then you are clearly a good couple.


Rural Scotland had hundreds of ways (well almost) to divine the future based on vegetables, which range from pulling up cabbages to sowing hemp seeds. In this instance you could even make your own idea up. Go on, be creative…

Other foodie ways to find your fate

If you’re lucky you can still find Halloween parties where you can divine your future from a bowl of mashed potatoes. Various charms are hidden in the spuds and everyone given a spoonful. Your future depends on the charm you find; a coin denotes wealth, a button batchelordom, ring marriage – just be careful you don’t swallow it!. A slightly more sophisticated way of predicting the future was done by a local “wise woman” who would crack an egg white into a glass of spring water and “read” the signs from the settlement of the egg.

Things to avoid at your party

In the not too distant past young people got up to all sorts of merry tricks during the night. However if you tried any of these things today you would probably end up with a police record. One favourite prank was for the men to blow smoke into people’s houses – either through the letterbox, or by blocking the chimney. Or else they would knock a neighbour’s window whilst simultaneously smashing an empty bottle.

Ha, ha, happy Halloween and all that…


Halloween and the Celtic Samhain

HALLOWEEN, or All Hallows Eve, is the time when we remember every saint who hasn’t been given their own day. Well, that is certainly how our Christian churches would want us to honour the last day of October. But for many, Halloween is all about guising, turnip lanterns and dooking for apples – which on the face of it doesn’t seem to have much to do with saints.

That’s because long before Christianity reached our shores, Halloween was known by the older, darker and altogether more mystical name of Samhain.

Samhain is the time when the sun is furthest south of the equator. Ancient Celts considered it to be the beginning of their new year and the death of the old. It was a time of celebration, to give thanks for the summer harvest and to ask a blessing for the coming months.

Samhain was not just about year’s end and the coming of winter. It was also the feast of the dead, the season of the earth’s decay when evil was held to wander the planet. The shield of the female warrior Skathcach was lowered, and the barrier between the two worlds faded. The forces of chaos invaded our globe, and the world of the living joined with the world of the dead

With so much evil pricking the night, man’s response was clear. Fire! Light! Illuminate the dark and cast out the shadows. Banish the witches and warlocks with ritual and rite. Druids built fires, disguising themselves in order to confuse and baffle the evil spirits. They scooped out turnips and fashioned them into skulls and placed them, lit, around their fire to keep evil at bay.

Water and apples were important to the ritual, evoking as they did the druid water rite of travelling across the worlds to the Celtic otherworld where the apple tree with magical fruit awaited – the passage to apple-land (Avalon).

Waiting at the periphery were the everyday Celts, who had put out their own fires in preparation and now awaited the pure, safe fire from the smoking embers of their druid’s consecrated pyre. When the ritual was complete, they crept forward and took home the new fire to re-light their own domestic hearths and gain safety for the coming year.

Hundreds of years later bonfires were still being lit to ward off evil spirits and appease the Gods. As late as the 19th century, villagers were lighting their bonfires in a ritual reminiscent of the ancient druids. In Braemar they fetched torches from the fire and circled the fields to ward off evil and ensure fertility during the coming year.

It is not just the lighting of bonfires that sounds vaguely familiar. Although the Church overlaid their own religious day on an existing pagan ceremony, they were not as successful as hoped in eradicating old rituals. They are still there, hidden beneath the ballyhoo of Halloween.

So the next time you go out guising, give a nod of remembrance to your disguised druidic ancestor. As you dook for apples, think of their ordeal by water and their journey to the apple-land. And as you light up your turnip (or pumpkin) lantern, dare a quick glance over your shoulder and check that the spirits are being kept at bay. Not that you believe in any of that old rubbish, oh no, but have a look all the same. Just in case.

Fast Facts:

Queen Victoria is known to have taken part in a fire ceremony in Balmoral, where villagers tossed an effigy of a witch known as the “Shandy Dan” into the fire to burn.

The word bonfire has two potential derivations:

= From bone-fire – when the bones of slaughtered animals were ritually burnt in fires

= Or Bon-fire – bon meaning holy and evoking the more Christian association of All Hallows Eve


HALLOWEEN – Robert Burns

Upon that night, when fairies light

On Cassilis Downans dance,

Or owre the lays, in splendid blaze,

On sprightly coursers prance;

Or for Colean the route is ta’en,

Beneath the moon’s pale beams;

There, up the cove, to stray and rove,

Among the rocks and streams

To sport that night.

Among the bonny winding banks,

Where Doon rins, wimplin’ clear,

Where Bruce ance ruled the martial ranks,

And shook his Carrick spear,

Some merry, friendly, country-folks,

Together did convene,

To burn their nits, and pou their stocks,

And haud their Halloween

Fu’ blithe that night.

The lasses feat, and cleanly neat,

Mair braw than when they’re fine;

Their faces blithe, fu’ sweetly kythe,

Hearts leal, and warm, and kin’;

The lads sae trig, wi’ wooer-babs,

Weel knotted on their garten,

Some unco blate, and some wi’ gabs,

Gar lasses’ hearts gang startin’

Whiles fast at night.

Then, first and foremost, through the kail,

Their stocks maun a’ be sought ance;

They steek their een, and graip and wale,

For muckle anes and straught anes.

Poor hav’rel Will fell aff the drift,

And wander’d through the bow-kail,

And pou’t, for want o’ better shift,

A runt was like a sow-tail,

Sae bow’t that night.

Then, staught or crooked, yird or nane,

They roar and cry a’ throu’ther;

The very wee things, todlin’, rin,

Wi’ stocks out owre their shouther;

And gif the custoc’s sweet or sour.

Wi’ joctelegs they taste them;

Syne cozily, aboon the door,

Wi cannie care, they’ve placed them

To lie that night.

The lasses staw frae ‘mang them a’

To pou their stalks of corn:

But Rab slips out, and jinks about,

Behint the muckle thorn:

He grippet Nelly hard and fast;

Loud skirl’d a’ the lasses;

But her tap-pickle maist was lost,

When kitlin’ in the fause-house

Wi’ him that night.

The auld guidwife’s well-hoordit nits,

Are round and round divided,

And monie lads’ and lasses’ fates

Are there that night decided:

Some kindle coothie, side by side,

And burn thegither trimly;

Some start awa, wi’ saucy pride,

And jump out-owre the chimlie

Fu’ high that night.

Jean slips in twa wi’ tentie ee;

Wha ’twas she wadna tell;

But this is Jock, and this is me,

She says in to hersel:

He bleezed owre her, and she owre him,

As they wad never mair part;

Till, fuff! he started up the lum,

And Jean had e’en a sair heart

To see’t that night.

Poor Willie, wi’ his bow-kail runt,

Was brunt wi’ primsie Mallie;

And Mallie, nae doubt, took the drunt,

To be compared to Willie;

Mall’s nit lap out wi’ pridefu’ fling,

And her ain fit it brunt it;

While Willie lap, and swore by jing,

‘Twas just the way he wanted

To be that night.

Nell had the fause-house in her min’,

She pits hersel and Rob in;

In loving bleeze they sweetly join,

Till white in ase they’re sobbin’;

Nell’s heart was dancin’ at the view,

She whisper’d Rob to leuk for’t:

Rob, stowlins, prie’d her bonny mou’,

Fu’ cozie in the neuk for’t,

Unseen that night.

But Merran sat behint their backs,

Her thoughts on Andrew Bell;

She lea’es them gashin’ at their cracks,

And slips out by hersel:

She through the yard the nearest taks,

And to the kiln goes then,

And darklins graipit for the bauks,

And in the blue-clue throws then,

Right fear’t that night.

And aye she win’t, and aye she swat,

I wat she made nae jaukin’,

Till something held within the pat,

Guid Lord! but she was quakin’!

But whether ‘was the deil himsel,

Or whether ’twas a bauk-en’,

Or whether it was Andrew Bell,

She didna wait on talkin’

To spier that night.

Wee Jennie to her grannie says,

“Will ye go wi’ me, grannie?

I’ll eat the apple at the glass

I gat frae Uncle Johnnie:”

She fuff’t her pipe wi’ sic a lunt,

In wrath she was sae vap’rin’,

She notice’t na, an aizle brunt

Her braw new worset apron

Out through that night.

“Ye little skelpie-limmer’s face!

I daur you try sic sportin’,

As seek the foul thief ony place,

For him to spae your fortune.

Nae doubt but ye may get a sight!

Great cause ye hae to fear it;

For mony a ane has gotten a fright,

And lived and died deleeret

On sic a night.

“Ae hairst afore the Sherramoor, –

I mind’t as weel’s yestreen,

I was a gilpey then, I’m sure

I wasna past fifteen;

The simmer had been cauld and wat,

And stuff was unco green;

And aye a rantin’ kirn we gat,

And just on Halloween

It fell that night.

“Our stibble-rig was Rab M’Graen,

A clever sturdy fallow:

His son gat Eppie Sim wi’ wean,

That lived in Achmacalla:

He gat hemp-seed, I mind it weel,

And he made unco light o’t;

But mony a day was by himsel,

He was sae sairly frighted

That very night.”

Then up gat fechtin’ Jamie Fleck,

And he swore by his conscience,

That he could saw hemp-seed a peck;

For it was a’ but nonsense.

The auld guidman raught down the pock,

And out a hanfu’ gied him;

Syne bade him slip frae ‘mang the folk,

Some time when nae ane see’d him,

And try’t that night.

He marches through amang the stacks,

Though he was something sturtin;

The graip he for a harrow taks.

And haurls it at his curpin;

And every now and then he says,

“Hemp-seed, I saw thee,

And her that is to be my lass,

Come after me, and draw thee

As fast this night.”

He whistled up Lord Lennox’ march

To keep his courage cheery;

Although his hair began to arch,

He was say fley’d and eerie:

Till presently he hears a squeak,

And then a grane and gruntle;

He by his shouther gae a keek,

And tumbled wi’ a wintle

Out-owre that night.

He roar’d a horrid murder-shout,

In dreadfu’ desperation!

And young and auld came runnin’ out

To hear the sad narration;

He swore ’twas hilchin Jean M’Craw,

Or crouchie Merran Humphie,

Till, stop! she trotted through them

And wha was it but grumphie

Asteer that night!

Meg fain wad to the barn hae gaen,

To win three wechts o’ naething;

But for to meet the deil her lane,

She pat but little faith in:

She gies the herd a pickle nits,

And two red-cheekit apples,

To watch, while for the barn she sets,

In hopes to see Tam Kipples

That very nicht.

She turns the key wi cannie thraw,

And owre the threshold ventures;

But first on Sawnie gies a ca’

Syne bauldly in she enters:

A ratton rattled up the wa’,

And she cried, Lord, preserve her!

And ran through midden-hole and a’,

And pray’d wi’ zeal and fervour,

Fu’ fast that night;

They hoy’t out Will wi’ sair advice;

They hecht him some fine braw ane;

It chanced the stack he faddom’d thrice

Was timmer-propt for thrawin’;

He taks a swirlie, auld moss-oak,

For some black grousome carlin;

And loot a winze, and drew a stroke,

Till skin in blypes cam haurlin’

Aff’s nieves that night.

A wanton widow Leezie was,

As canty as a kittlin;

But, och! that night amang the shaws,

She got a fearfu’ settlin’!

She through the whins, and by the cairn,

And owre the hill gaed scrievin,

Whare three lairds’ lands met at a burn

To dip her left sark-sleeve in,

Was bent that night.

Whyles owre a linn the burnie plays,

As through the glen it wimpl’t;

Whyles round a rocky scaur it strays;

Whyles in a wiel it dimpl’t;

Whyles glitter’d to the nightly rays,

Wi’ bickering, dancing dazzle;

Whyles cookit underneath the braes,

Below the spreading hazel,

Unseen that night.

Among the brackens, on the brae,

Between her and the moon,

The deil, or else an outler quey,

Gat up and gae a croon:

Poor Leezie’s heart maist lap the hool!

Near lav’rock-height she jumpit;

but mist a fit, and in the pool

Out-owre the lugs she plumpit,

Wi’ a plunge that night.

In order, on the clean hearth-stane,

The luggies three are ranged,

And every time great care is ta’en’,

To see them duly changed:

Auld Uncle John, wha wedlock joys

Sin’ Mar’s year did desire,

Because he gat the toom dish thrice,

He heaved them on the fire

In wrath that night.

Wi’ merry sangs, and friendly cracks,

I wat they didna weary;

And unco tales, and funny jokes,

Their sports were cheap and cheery;

Till butter’d so’ns, wi’ fragrant lunt,

Set a’ their gabs a-steerin’;

Syne, wi’ a social glass o’ strunt,

They parted aff careerin’

Fu’ blythe that night.

Féile na Marbh soon…

Monday Morning…

Mist is low over the area today. Grey, very grey. Cut back all my Salvias last night, in fear of frost. Now I have a huge pile of cuttings. Moved all the cold sensitive plants into the garage as well.

Watched Constantine last night. If you don’t suffer from Catholic Guilt before you see this film, you may be infected with it after. All those Demonic Possessions! So many bodies, so little time! Aiyeee! Actually I like the story alot, but I think you need to have read the Illustrated book to catch who some of the characters are….

Getting ready for Samhain….

Keep Warm!



On the Menu


The Links

Féile na Marbh/Samhain

Poetry: Taliesin – O Radiant Brow!


On The Music Box: StellaMara – Star of The Sea…

Highly recommended…!

Find them at Magnatunes

an excerpt about them…

“Stellamara originated in 1994 creating evocative soundscapes that are now considered a new model in contemporary world music. At its core is vocalist/producer Sonja Drakulich and multi- instrumentalist Gari Hegedus. Their music incorporates medieval European, Persian, Arabic, Indian, Turkish and Balkan with subtle electronic textures. The result is a sublime new level of mystery, beauty and depth.

Sonja Drakulich was introduced to Eastern European singing as a teenager and began performing Balkan, Medieval Music and her own compositions at the age of 18. Being of Serbian and Hungarian decent, discovering the songs of Eastern Europe was for her a homecoming. Her continuous interest and study ranges from Medieval European and Persian voice to Turkish, Arabic and Greek and Balkan singing.

Gari Hegedus began devoting his life to music 25 years ago with the study of Early European, Celtic and Bretagne music. From there he was led east into the intense practice and performance of Turkish classical and Mevlevi ceremonial music.


The Links

More on Stellamara…

Neandertal Gene Study Reveals Early Split With Humans

Agatha Christie mystery solved at last

‘Tower of Babel’ translator made


Féile na Marbh/Samhain

The Samhain celebrations have survived in several guises as a festival dedicated to the harvest and the dead. In Ireland and Scotland, the Féile na Marbh, the “festival of the dead” took place on Samhain.

Samhain Eve, in Irish and Scots Gaelic, Oidhche Shamhna, is one of the principal festivals of the Celtic calendar, and is thought to fall on or around the 31st of October. It represents the final harvest. In modern Ireland and Scotland, the name by which Halloween is known in the Gaelic language is still “Oíche/Oidhche Shamhna”. It is still the custom in some areas to set a place for the dead at the Samhain feast, and to tell tales of the ancestors on that night.

Traditionally, Samhain was time to take stock of the herds and grain supplies, and decide which animals would need to be slaughtered in order for the people and livestock to survive the winter. This custom is still observed by many who farm and raise livestock.

Bonfires played a large part in the festivities celebrated down through the last several centuries, and up through the present day in some rural areas of the Celtic nations and the diaspora. Villagers were said to have cast the bones of the slaughtered cattle upon the flames, cattle having a prominent place in the pre-Christian Gaelic world. Victorian sources claimed the English word ‘bonfire’ derives from these “bone fires” but the Gaelic has no such parallel. With the bonfire ablaze, the villagers extinguished all other fires. Each family then solemnly lit its hearth from the common flame, thus bonding the families of the village together. Often two bonfires would be built side by side, and the people would walk between the fires as a ritual of purification. Sometimes the cattle and other livestock would be driven between the fires, as well.

Divination, usually involving apples and nuts, is a common folkloric practice that has also survived in rural areas. The most common uses were to determine the name of one’s future spouse, and the location of one’s future home. Children would also chase crows and divine some of these things from the direction the birds flew.

In parts of western Brittany, Samhain is still heralded by the baking of kornigou, cakes baked in the shape of antlers to commemorate the god of winter shedding his “cuckold” horns as he returns to his kingdom in the Otherworld. The Romans identified Samhain with their own feast of the dead, the Lemuria. This, however, was observed in the days leading up to May 13. With Christianization, the festival in November (not the Roman festival in May) became All Hallows’ Day on November 1st followed by All Souls’ Day, on November 2nd. Over time, the night of October 31 came to be called All Hallow’s Eve, and the remnants festival dedicated to the dead eventually morphed into the secular holiday known as Halloween.



Poetry: Taliesin – O Radiant Brow!

“Fair Elphin, cease to lament!

Let no one be dissatisfied with his own,

To despair will bring no advantage.

No man sees what supports him;

The prayer of Cynllo will not be in vain;

God will not violate his promise.

Never in Gwyddno’s weir

Was there such good luck as this night.

Fair Elphin, dry thy cheeks!

Being too sad will not avail,

Although thou thinkest thou hast no gain

Too much grief will bring thee no good;

Nor doubt the miracles of the Allmighty:

Although I am but little, I am highly gifted.

From seas, and from mountains,

And from the depths of rivers,

God brings wealth to the fortunate man.

Elphin of lively qualities,

Thy resolution is unmanly;

Thou must not be over sorrowful:

Better to trust in God than to forbode ill.

Weak and small as I am,

On the foaming beach of the ocean,

In the day of trouble I shall be

Of more service to thee than three hundred salmon.

EIphin of notable qualities,

Be not displeased at thy misfortune:

Although reclined thus weak in my bag,

There lies a virtue in my tongue.

While I continue thy protector

Thou hast not much to fear;

Remembering the names of the Trinity,

None shall be able to harm thee.”


A Poem for the Wind

Guess who it is.

Created before the Flood.

A creature strong,

without flesh, without bone,

without veins, without blood,

without head and without feet.

It will not be older, it will not be younger,

than it was in the beginning.

There will not come from his design

fear or death.

He has no wants

from creatures.

Great God! the sea whitens

when it comes from the beginning.

Great his beauties,

the one that made him.

He in the field, he in the wood,

without hand and without foot.

Without old age, without age.

Without the most jealous destiny

and he is coeval

with the five periods of the five ages.

And also is older,

though there be five hundred thousand years.

And he is as wide

as the face of the earth,

and he was not born,

and he has not been seen.

He on sea, he on land,

he sees not, he is not seen.

He is not sincere,

he will not come when it is wished.

He on land, he on sea,

he is indispensable,

he is unconfined,

he is unequal.

He from four regions,

he will not be according to counsel.

He commences his journey

from above the stone of marble.

He is loud-voiced, he is mute.

He is uncourteous.

He is vehement, he is bold,

when he glances over the land.

He is mute, he is loud-voiced.

He is blustering.

Greatest his banner

on the face of the earth.

He is good, he is bad,

he is not bright,

he is not manifest,

for the sight does not see him.

He is bad, he is good.

He is yonder, he is here,

he will disorder.

He will not repair what he does

and be sinless.

He is wet, he is dry,

he comes frequently

from the heat of the sun and the coldness of the moon.


The Spoils Of Annwfn

I praise the Lord, the Sovereign of the royal realm,

Who has extended his sway over the tract of the world.

Gwair’s prison in Caer Siddi was in order

Throughout the course of the story concerning Pwyll and Pryderi.

No-one before him went into it –

Into the heavy grey chain which was restraining the loyal youth.

And on account of the spoils of Annwfn he was singing bitterly

And our (own) poetic invocation shall continue until Judgement(-Day).

We went, three full loads of Prydwen, into it;

Apart from seven, none came back up from Caer Siddi.

I am one who is splendid in (making) fame: the song was heard

In the four-turreted fort, fully revolving.

It was concerning the cauldron that my first utterance was spoken:

It [ie the cauldron] was kindled by the breath of nine maidens.

The cauldron of the Chieftain of Annwfn: what is its faculty?

– Dark (ornament) and pearls around its rim –

Hanes Taliesin

“Primary chief bard am I to Elphin,

And my original country is the region of the summer stars;

Idno and Heinin called me Merddin,

At length every king will call me Taliesin.

I was with my Lord in the highest sphere,

On the fall of Lucifer into the depth of hell

I have borne a banner before Alexander;

I know the names of the stars from north to the south;

I have been on the Galaxy at the throne of the Distributor;

I was in Canaan when Absalom was slain;

I conveyed Awen [the Divine Spirit] to the level of the vale of Hebron

I was in the court of Dôn before the birth of Gwydion.

I was instructor to Eli and Enoch;

I have been winged by the genius of the splendid crozier;

I have been loquacious prior to being gifted with speech;

I was at the place of the crucifixion of the merciful son of God;

I have been three periods in the prison of Arianrhod;

I have been the chief director of the work of the tower of Nimrod;

I am a wonder whose origin is not known.

I have been in Asia with Noah in the Ark,

I have witnessed the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah;

I have been in India when Rome was built;

I am now come here to the remnant of Troia.

I have been with my Lord in the manger of the ass;

I strenghtened Moses through the waters of Jordan;

I have been in the firmament with Mary Magdalene;

I have obtained the muse from the Cauldron of Caridwen;

I have been bard of the harp to Lleon of Lochlin.

I have been on the White Hill, in the court of Cynvelyn,

For a year and a day in stocks and fetters,

I have suffered hunger for the Son of the Virgin,

I have been fostered in the land of the Deity,

I have been teacher to all intelligences,

I am able to instruct the whole universe.

I shall be until the day of doom on the face of the earth;

And it is not known if my body is flesh or fish.

Then I was for nine months

In the womb of the hag Caridwen;

I was originally little Gwion,

And at length I am Taliesin.”


Weekend Catch-Up…

On The Music Box: Sunny Afternoon – The Kinks

Amnesty International calls for bloggers to stand up for freedom

So… with that in mind I would like to announce the reawakening of Morgan Miller/F.N. Brill’s Blog-a-suarus – F.N. Brill’s Blog

There you’ll find many inferiorating new posts but also occluding a stunning array of the greatest FN communicational hits from the Web 1.2 brand “Skookum Talk” web-blog…

Yes, all the bad jokes, human-cephalopod porn, libertarian, socialism, oregon provincialism, industrial unionism, obscure inter- racial trade-language discussion and four-brained humo(u)r you’ve come to put up with from me and FN will now be available in fabulous Web 2.0 – with videos and movies, mp3s for downlowd and all sorts of the cool Web 2.0 things that only you cool Web 2.0 folks will know about with all Morgan’s culture tastes that you are so unsure of. It is a tasty mix you can be insured.


Drums in the Hills

Saturday: Quiet day here in P-Town… Hanging out, cleaning and repairing the gutters before the storms arrive. Rowan came home last night from counselling at camp. He fell asleep on the couch after dinner and we couldn’t wake him up… exhausted! Tried to get a Turf out… kept on falling off the horse.

Sunday:Day Light Savings Time… Is this silly or what? Why are we still under the dictats of this system which wasn’t so bright in the first place?

Went to Zell’s for Breakfast with Mary & Rowan, then up to the Hawthorne. Scored on 2 DVD’s; “From Hell” (6.00 unused with bonus disc!) and “Constantine” (as well for 5.00.) Rowan was induced to pick out some Trews at Buffalo Gap… He is in a bit of a dither over costumes for Samhain…

Weather is fading between sun and rain. Lovely, with clouds of leaves coming down. Samhain soon, and the coming of the Celtic New Year….

On The Menu

The Links

Miss Penelope

Have You Seen Your Mother Baby?

Poetry: Oscar Wilde

Art: Aubrey Beardsley

Have a great one… walk in beauty!



The Links:

Scientists Are Turning to Ancient Tales to Discover New Geological Hotspots

BattleStar Republicon…

Chernobyl haunts the Norwegian uplands

Newburyport witch escaped hangman’s noose

Secrets in the stone


Miss Penelope…

Good Friend and Companion of our buds Tom n Cheryl exited to the Western Lands this past week. She was a bit of a 2 person cat, extremely loyal to T n C.

She left behind Henry, her feline bud, who has not been the same since she left. She was 14 years of age…. Tom n Cheryl are in the middle of relocating to Arizona, so this has come at a sad juncture.

Our thoughts go out to T n C.

A goodbye to Miss Penelope….


Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby? A wander down the path of yesteryear, but still a giggle to see the energy….


Poetry: Oscar Wilde


Lily -Girl, not made for this world’s pain,

With brown, soft hair close braided by her ears,

And longing eyes half veiled by slumberous tears

Like bluest water seen through mists of rain:

Pale cheeks whereon no love hath left its stain,

Red underlip drawn in for fear of love,

And white throat, whiter than the silvered dove,

Through whose wan marble creeps one purple vein.

Yet, though my lips shall praise her without cease,

Even to kiss her feet I am not bold,

Being o’ershadowed by the wings of awe,

Like Dante, when he stood with Beatrice

Beneath the flaming Lion’s breast, and saw

The seventh Crystal, and the Stair of Gold.


My limbs are wasted with a flame,

My feet are sore with travelling,

For, calling on my Lady’s name,

My lips have now forgot to sing.

O Linnet in the wild-rose brake

Strain for my Love thy melody,

O Lark sing louder for love’s sake,

My gentle Lady passeth by.

She is too fair for any man

To see or hold his heart’s delight,

Fairer than Queen or courtesan

Or moonlit water in the night.

Her hair is bound with myrtle leaves,

(Green leaves upon her golden hair!)

Green grasses through the yellow sheaves

Of autumn corn are not more fair.

Her little lips, more made to kiss

Than to cry bitterly for pain,

Are tremulous as brook-water is,

Or roses after evening rain.

Her neck is like white melilote

Flushing for pleasure of the sun,

The throbbing of the linnet’s throat

Is not so sweet to look upon.

As a pomegranate, cut in twain,

White-seeded, is her crimson mouth,

Her cheeks are as the fading stain

Where the peach reddens to the south.

O twining hands! O delicate

White body made for love and pain!

O House of love! O desolate

Pale flower beaten by the rain!


O outer senses there is peace,

A dreamy peace on either hand,

Deep silence in the shadowy land,

Deep silence where the shadows cease.

Save for a cry that echoes shrill

From some lone bird disconsolate;

A corncrake calling to its mate;

The answer from the misty hill.

And suddenly the moon withdraws

Her sickle from the lightening skies,

And to her sombre cavern flies,

Wrapped in a veil of yellow gauze.


Harvest Night…the Birth of Bacchus!

From The Edonians, by Aeschylus

One on the fair-turned pipe fulfils

His song, with the warble of fingered trills

The soul to frenzy awakening.

From another the brazen cymbals ring.

The shawm blares out, but beneath is the moan

Of the bull-voiced mimes, unseen, unknown,

And in deep diapason the shuddering sound

Of drums, like thunder, beneath the ground.

On The Menu:

The Links

Obiwan’s Used Car

Bacchus Is Born…..!

Ainu Tales: The Man who Married the Bear-Goddess

Wine Poetry

All photos Gwyllm & Mary…

Bright Blessings…. Gotta hop. Have a great weekend!


The Links!

<a href="

“>Congratulations to Vanessa &amp; Chris for the arrival of Miss Amanita!

Stay The Course… With “The Google”

Cyber Sapiens


Obiwan’s Used Car…


Bacchus Is Born…..!

Here we are at the FOG Crush Party… bringing in the grapes… part of the ancient ceremony that one can still find if they are lucky. Friends gathering to pay their homage to Bacchus/Dionysus in the proper way!

Some of Glens’ barrels…

Sarah &amp; Glen having a giggle….

Glen &amp; Sarah, Phillip, Paul &amp; Antonia, Ed &amp; Janice, and

Scott and Lisa, Mary &amp; Gwyllm… all together at the FOG (friends of Glen) Crush Party…

Ed and Paul had gone up into central Washington to bring the grapes… Lisa, Sarah, &amp; Janice provided food… and all participated in sorting the grapes, and getting them into the crusher…

The Kids helped as well, but didn’t make this photo: Nate, Carissa and Seneca

Mary sorting out the grapes… getting rid of grape leaves…

Paul putting the grapes into the crusher…..

Seneca (Sarah’s daughter) was a very big help. She has to be the most dynamic 4 year old that I have ever known!

Scott was an enthusiastic worker, being everywhere as he was needed….

Janice and Antonia talking about this harvest. Antonia does some amazing label designing, and Janice &amp; Ed have long been supporters of Glen…

End of the evening… I had tried to get a good shot of the vat all evening, but Mary finally got this one of yours truly contemplating it all…..

The Pressing Party will be in a couple of weeks… more to follow!!


Ainu Tales: The Man who Married the Bear-Goddess

There was a very populous village. It was a village having both plenty of fish and plenty of venison. It was a place lacking no kind of food. Nevertheless, once upon a time, a famine set in. There was no food, no venison, no fish, nothing to eat at all; there was a famine. So in that populous village all the people died.

Now the village chief was a man who had two children, a boy and a girl. After a time, only those two children remained alive. Now the girl was the older of the two, and the boy was the younger. The girl spoke thus: “As for me, it does not matter even if I do die, since I am a girl. But you, being a boy, can, if you like, take up our father’s inheritance. So you should take these things with you, use them to buy food with, eat it, and live.” So spoke the girl, and took out a bag made of cloth, and gave it to him.

Then the boy went out on to the sand, and walked along the seashore. When he had walked on the sand for a long time, he saw a pretty little home a short way inland. Near it was lying the carcase of a large whale. The boy went to the house, and after a time entered it. On looking around, he saw a man of divine appearance. The man’s wife, too, looked like a goddess, and was dressed altogether in black raiment. The man was dressed altogether in speckled raiment. The boy went in, and stood by the door. The man said to him: “Welcome to you, whencesoever you may have come,” Afterwards a lot of the whale’s flesh was boiled, and the boy was feasted on it. But the woman never looked towards him. Then the boy went out and fetched his parcel, which he had left outside. He brought in the bag made of cloth which had been given to him by his sister, and opened its mouth. On taking out and looking at the things inside it, they were found to be very precious treasures. “I will give you these treasures in payment for the food,” said the boy, and gave them to that divine-looking man-of-the-house. The god, having looked at them, said: “They are very beautiful treasures.” He said again: “You need not have paid me for the food. But I will take these treasures of yours, carry them to my [other] house, and bring you my own treasures in exchange for them. As for this whale’s flesh, you can eat as much of it as you like, witnout payment.” Having said this, he went off with the lad’s treasures.

Then the lad and the woman remained together. After a time the woman turned to the lad, and said: “You lad! listen to me when I speak. I am the bear-goddess. This husband of mine is the dragon-god. There is no one so jealous as he is. Therefore did I not look towards you, because I knew that he would be jealous if I looked towards you. Those treasures of yours are treasures which even the gods do not possess. It is because he is delighted to get them that he has taken them with him to counterfeit them and bring you mock treasures. So when he shall have brought those treasures and shall display them, you must speak thus: ‘We need not exchange treasures. I wish to buy the woman!’ If you speak thus, he will go angrily away, because he is such a jealous man. Then afterwards we can marry each other, which will be very pleasant. That is how you must speak.” That was what the woman said.

Then, after a certain time, the man of divine appearance came back grinning. He came bringing two sets of treasures, the treasures which were treasures and his own other treasures. The god spoke thus: “You, lad! As I have brought the treasures which are your treasures, it will be well to exchange them for my treasures.” The boy spoke thus: “Though I should like to have treasures also, I want your wife even more than I want the treasures; so please give me your wife instead of the treasures.” Thus spoke the lad.

He had no sooner uttered the words than he was stunned by a clap of thunder above the house. On looking around him, the house was gone, and only he and the goddess were left together. He came to his senses. The treasures were there also. Then the woman spoke thus: “What has happened is that my dragon-husband has gone away in a rage, and has therefore made this noise, because you and I wish to be together. Now we can live together.” Thus spoke the goddess. Afterwards they lived together. This is why the bear is a creature half like a human being.

—(Translated literally. Told by Ishanashte, 9th November, 1886.)


Wine Poetry…


Wine comes in at the mouth

And love comes in at the eye;

That’s all we shall know for truth

Before we grow old and die.

I lift the glass to my mouth,

I look at you, and I sigh.

Sonnet 17 – John Milton

Lawrence of virtuous father virtuous son,

Now that the fields are dank, and ways are mire,

Where shall we sometimes meet, and by the fire

Help waste a sullen day; what may be won

From the hard season gaining: time will run

On smoother till Favonius reinspire

The frozen earth; and clothe in fresh attire

The lily and rose, that neither sowed nor spun.

What neat repast shall feast us, light and choice,

Of Attic taste, with wine, whence we may rise

To hear the lute well touched, or artful voice

Warble immortal notes and tuskan air?

He who of those delights can judge, and spare

To interpose them oft, is not unwise.

The Spirit of Wine – W.E. Henley

I am beauty and love;

I am friendship, the comforter;

I am that which forgives and forgets.

The Spirit of Wine.

Feast on Wine – G.K. Chesterton

Feast on wine or fast on water,

And your honor shall stand sure

If an angel out of heaven

Brings you something else to drink,

Thank him for his kind attentions,

Go and pour it down the sink.

I Sought the Tavern at the Break of Day – Hafiz

With last night’s wine still singing in my head,

I sought the tavern at the break of day,

Though half the world was still asleep in bed;

The harp and flute were up and in full swing,

And a most pleasant morning sound made they;

Already was the wine-cup on the wing.

“Reason,” I said, “it’s past the time to start,

If you would reach your daily destination,

The Holy City of Intoxication.”

So did I pack him off, to then depart

With a stout flask for fellow-traveler.

Left to myself, the tavern-wench I spied,

And sought to win her love by speaking fair;

Alas! she turned upon me, scornful-eyed,

And mocked my foolish hopes of winning her.

Said she, her arching eyebrows like a bow:

“You mark for all the shafts of evil tongues!

You shall not round my middle clasp me so,

Snugly like my belt —not for all your songs!—

So long as you in all created things

See but yourself the center and the end.

Go spread your dainty nets for other wings—

Too high the Anca’s nest for you, my friend.”

Then I took shelter from that stormy sea

In the good ark of wine; yet, woe is me!

Saki and comrade and minstrel, all by turns,

She is of maidens the compendium

Who my poor heart in such a fashion spurns.

Self, Hafiz, self! That must you overcome!

Turn to the wisdom of the tavern-daughter!

Vain little baggage—well, upon my word!

You fairy figment made of clay and water,

As busy with your beauty as a bird.

Well, Hafiz, Life’s a riddle—give it up:

There is no answer to it but this cup.

Down to the Sea…

Flags on Tuesday

So Mary and yours truly went off to the seaside for a couple of days… this is a view landward down the bay on Tuesday mid afternoon. We picked a quiet sleepy town not overrun entirely with the machinations of the developers and the second householders… but a village still rundown, no Starbucks, no mall, not even a resturant. Lots of quiet though, lots of that. The bay was 50 yards from our porch. The sound of the gulls and the roar of the distant waves were ever present….

Diogenes of the Beach…

This gentleman, sat on the beach in the same position from the day we arrived to the day we left. From what I could tell he was contemplating the sea. When a rain cloud would come up, he would pull a drop cloth over his head. When it left, off it went. From what I heard he was very talkative and of a philosophical bent…..

Entertaining Sophie…

We found that Sophie likes nothing better than a long walk, and a tossed ball… for hours. To the point of being a maniac, but a good natured one. Really though, she had a great time, playing in and out of the water, with a giant dog smile all the time. She was the best of companions, and a good giggle rolled into one….

Hopefully our next time down will be for longer. ah…. it was a delight!

On the Menu

The Links

The Sea Maiden

Sea Poetry

All Photos: Gwyllm/Mary


The Links

Delusions of faith as a science

Q: Will listening to Mozart make your kid smart?


Invisible poisonous skyfish fly at 300 km/h all around us


The Sea-Maiden

There was once a poor old fisherman, and one year he was not getting much fish. On a day of days, while he was fishing, there rose a sea-maiden at the side of his boat, and she asked him, “Are you getting much fish?” The old man answered and said, “Not I.” “What reward would you give me for sending plenty of fish to you? “Ach!” said the old man, “I have not much to spare.” “Will you give me the first son you have?” said she. “I would give ye that, were I to have a son,” said he. “Then go home, and remember me when your son is twenty years of age, and you yourself will get plenty of fish after this.” Everything happened as the sea-maiden said, and he himself got plenty of fish; but when the end of the twenty years was nearing, the old man was growing more and more sorrowful and heavy hearted, while he counted each day as it came.

He had rest neither day nor night. The son asked his father one day, “Is any one troubling you?” The old man said, “Some one is, but that’s nought to do with you nor any one else.” The lad said, “I must know what it is.” His father told him at last how the matter was with him and the sea-maiden. “Let not that put you in any trouble,” said the son; “I will not oppose you.” “You shall not; you shall not go, my son, though I never get fish any more.” “If you will not let me go with you, go to the smithy, and let the smith make me a great strong sword, and I will go seek my fortune.”

His father went to the smithy, and the smith made a doughty sword for him. His father came home with the sword. The lad grasped it and gave it a shake or two, and it flew into a hundred splinters. He asked his father to go to the smithy and get him another sword in which there should be twice as much weight; and so his father did, and so likewise it happened to the next sword–it broke in two halves. Back went the old man to the smithy; and the smith made a great sword, its like he never made before. “There’s thy sword for thee,” said the smith, “and the fist must be good that plays this blade.” The old man gave the sword to his son; he gave it a shake or two. “This will do,” said he; “it’s high time now to travel on my way.”

On the next morning he put a saddle on a black horse that his father had, and he took the world for his pillow. When he went on a bit, he fell in with the carcass of a sheep beside the road. And there were a great black dog, a falcon, and an otter, and they were quarrelling over the spoil. So they asked him to divide it for them. He came down off the horse, and he divided the carcass amongst the three. Three shares to the dog, two shares to the otter, and a share to the falcon. “For this,” said the dog, “if swiftness of foot or sharpness of tooth will give thee aid, mind me, and I will be at thy side.” Said the otter, “If the swimming of foot on the ground of a pool will loose thee, mind me, and I will be at thy side.” Said the falcon, “If hardship comes on thee, where swiftness of wing or crook of a claw will do good, mind me, and I will be at thy side.”

On this he went onward till he reached a king’s house, and he took service to be a herd, and his wages were to be according to the milk of the cattle. He went away with the cattle, and the grazing was but bare. In the evening when he took them home they had not much milk, the place was so bare, and his meat and drink was but spare that night.

On the next day he went on further with them; and at Last he came to a place exceedingly grassy, in a green glen, of which he never saw the like.

But about the time when he should drive the cattle homewards, who should he see coming but a great giant with his sword in his hand? “HI! HO!! HOGARACH! ” says the giant. “Those cattle are mine; they are on my land, and a dead man art thou.”

“I say not that,” says the herd; “there is no knowing, but that may be easier to say than to do.”

He drew the great clean-sweeping sword, and he neared the giant. The herd drew back his sword, and the head was off the giant in a twinkling. He leaped on the black horse, and he went to look for the giant’s house. In went the herd, and that’s the place where there was money in plenty, and dresses of each kind in the wardrobe with gold and silver, and each thing finer than the other. At the mouth of night he took himself to the king’s house, but he took not a thing from the giant’s house. And when the cattle were milked this night there was milk. He got good feeding this night, meat and drink without stint, and the king was hugely pleased that he had caught such a herd. He went on for a time in this way, but at last the glen grew bare of grass, and the grazing was not so good.

So he thought he would go a little further forward in on the giant’s land; and he sees a great park of grass. He returned for the cattle, and he put them into the park.

They were but a short time grazing in the park when a great wild giant came full of rage and madness. “HI! HAW!! HOGARAICH!!!” said the giant. “It is a drink of thy blood that will quench my thirst this night.” “There is no knowing,” said the herd, “but that’s easier to say than to do.” And at each other went the men. There was shaking of blades! At length and at last it seemed as if the giant would get the victory over the herd. Then he called on the dog, and with one spring the black dog caught the giant by the neck, and swiftly the herd struck off his head.

He went home very tired this night, but it’s a wonder if the king’s cattle had not milk. The whole family was delighted that they had got such a herd.

Next day he betakes himself to the castle. When he reached the door, a little flattering carlin met him standing in the door. “All hail and good luck to thee, fisher’s son; ’tis I myself am pleased to see thee; great is the honour for this kingdom, for thy like to be come into it–thy coming in is fame for this little bothy; go in first; honour to the gentles; go on, and take breath.”

“In before me, thou crone; I like not flattery out of doors; go in and let’s hear thy speech.” In went the crone, and when her back was to him he drew his sword and whips her head off; but the sword flew out of his hand. And swift the crone gripped her head with both hands, and puts it on her neck as it was before. The dog sprung on the crone, and she struck the generous dog with the club of magic; and there he lay. But the herd struggled for a hold of the club of magic, and with one blow on the top of the head she was on earth in the twinkling of an eye. He went forward, up a little, and there was spoil! Gold and silver, and each thing more precious than another, in the crone’s castle. He went back to the king’s house, and then there was rejoicing.

He followed herding in this way for a time; but one night after he came home, instead of getting “All hail” and “Good luck” from the dairymaid, all were at crying and woe.

He asked what cause of woe there was that night. The dairymaid said “There is a great beast with three heads in the loch, and it must get some one every year, and the lot had come this year on the king’s daughter, and at midday tomorrow she is to meet the Laidly Beast at the upper end of the loch, but there is a great suitor yonder who is going to rescue her.”

“What suitor is that?” said the herd. “Oh, he is a great General of arms,” said the daiyymaid, “and when he kills the beast, he will marry the king’s daughter, for the king has said that he who could save his daughter should get her to marry.”

But on the morrow, when the time grew near, the king’s daughter and this hero of arms went to give a meeting to the beast, and they reached the black rock, at the upper end of the loch. They were but a short time there when the beast stirred in the midst of the loch;

but when the General saw this terror of a beast with three heads, he took fright, and he slunk away, and he hid himself. And the king’s daughter was under fear and under trembling, with no one at all to save her. Suddenly she sees a doughty handsome youth, riding a black horse, and coming where she was. He was marvellously arrayed and full armed, and his black dog moved after him. “There is gloom on your face, girl,” said the youth; “what do you here?”

“Oh! that’s no matter,” said the king’s daughter. “It’s not long I’ll be here, at all events.”

“I say not that,” said he.

“A champion fled as likely as you, and not long since,” said she.

“He is a champion who stands the war,” said the youth. And to meet the beast he went with his sword and his dog. But there was a spluttering and a splashing between himself and the beast! The dog kept doing all he might, and the king’s daughter was palsied by fear of the noise of the beast! One of them would now be under, and now above. But at last he cut one of the heads off it. It gave one roar, and the son of earth, echo of the rocks, called to its screech, and it drove the loch in spindrift from end to end, and in a twinkling it went out of sight.

“Good luck and victory follow you, lad!” said the king’s daughter. “I am safe for one night, but the beast will come again and again, until the other two heads come off it.” He caught the beast’s head, and he drew a knot through it, and he told her to bring it with her there tomorrow. She gave him a gold ring, and went home with the head on her shoulder, and the herd betook himself to the cows. But she had not gone far when this great General saw her, and he said to her, “I will kill you if you do not say that ’twas I took the head off the beast.” “Oh!” says she, ” ’tis I will say it; who else took the head off the beast but you! ” They reached the king’s house, and the head was on the General’s shoulder. But here was rejoicing, that she should come home alive and whole, and this great captain with the beast’s head full of blood in his hand. On the morrow they went away, and there was no question at all but that this hero would save the king’s daughter.

They reached the same place, and they were not long there when the fearful Laidly Beast stirred in the midst of the loch, and the hero slunk away as he did on yesterday, but it was not long after this when the man of the black horse came, with another dress on. No matter; she knew that it was the very same lad. “It is I am pleased to see you,” said she. “I am in hopes you will handle your great sword to-day as you did yesterday. Come up and take breath.” But they were not long there when they saw the beast steaming in the midst of the loch.

At once he went to meet the beast, but there was Cloopersteich and Claperstich, spluttering, splashing, raving, and roaring on the beast! They kept at it thus for a long time, and about the mouth of night he cut another head off the beast. He put it on the knot and gave it to her. She gave him one of her earrings, and he leaped on the black horse, and he betook himself to the herding. The king’s daughter went home with the heads. The General met her, and took the heads from her, and he said to her, that she must tell that it was he who took the head off the beast this time also. “Who else took the head off the beast but you?” said she. They reached the king’s house with the heads. Then there was joy and gladness.

About the same time on the morrow, the two went away. The officer hid himself as he usually did. The king’s daughter betook herself to the bank of the loch. The hero of the black horse came, and if roaring and raving were on the beast on the days that were passed, this day it was horrible. But no matter, he took the third head off the beast, and drew it through the knot, and gave it to her. She gave him her other earring, and then she went home with the heads. When they reached the king’s house, all were full of smiles, and the General was to marry the king’s daughter the next day. The wedding was going on,

and every one about the castle longing till the priest should come. But when the priest came, she would marry only the one who could take the heads off the knot without cutting it. “Who should take the heads off the knot but the man that put the heads on?” said the king.

The General tried them, but he could not loose them and at last there was no one about the house but had tried to take the heads off the knot, but they could not. The king asked if there were any one else about the house that would try to take the heads off the knot. They said that the herd had not tried them yet. Word went for the herd; and he was not long throwing them hither and thither. “But stop a bit, my lad,” said the king’s daughter; “the man that took the heads off the beast, he has my ring and my two earrings.” The herd put his hand in his pocket, and he threw them on the board. “Thou art my man,” said the king’s daughter. The king was not so pleased when he saw that it was a herd who was to marry his daughter, but he ordered that he should be put in a better dress; but his daughter spoke, and she said that he had a dress as fine as any that ever was in his castle; and thus it happened. The herd put on the giant’s golden dress, and they married that same day.

They were now married, and everything went on well. But one day, and it was the namesake of the day when his father had promised him to the sea-maiden, they were sauntering by the side of the loch, and lo and behold! she came and took him away to the loch without leave or asking. The king’s daughter was now mournful, tearful, blind-sorrowful for her married man; she was always with her eye on the loch. An old soothsayer met her, and she told how it had befallen her married mate. Then he told her the thing to do to save her mate, and that she did.

She took her harp to the sea-shore, and sat and played; and the sea-maiden came up to listen, for sea-maidens are fonder of music than all other creatures. But when the wife saw the sea-maiden she stopped. The sea-maiden said, “Play on!” but the princess said, “No, not till I see my man again.” So the sea-maiden put up his head out of the loch. Then the princess played again, and stopped till the sea-maiden put him up to the waist. Then the princess played and stopped again, and this time the sea-maiden put him all out of the loch, and he called on the falcon and became one and flew on shore. But the sea-maiden took the princess, his wife.

Sorrowful was each one that was in the town on this night. Her man was mournful, tearful, wandering down and up about the banks of the loch, by day and night. The old soothsayer met him. The soothsayer told him that there was no way of killing the sea-maiden but the one way, and this is it–”In the island that is in the midst of the loch is the white-footed hind of the slenderest legs and the swiftest step, and though she he caught, there will spring a hoodie out of her, and though the hoodie should be caught, there will spring a trout out of her, but there is an egg in the mouth of the trout, and the soul of the sea-maiden is in the egg, and if the egg breaks, she is dead.”

Now, there was no way of getting to this island, for the sea-maiden would sink each boat and raft that would go on the loch. He thought he would try to leap the strait with the black horse, and even so he did. The black horse leaped the strait. He saw the hind, and he let the black dog after her, but when he was on one side of the island, the hind would he on the other side. “Oh! would the black dog of the carcass of flesh were here!” No sooner spoke he the word than the grateful dog was at his side; and after the hind he went, and they were not long in bringing her to earth. But he no sooner caught her than a hoodie sprang out of her. “Would that the falcon grey, of sharpest eye and swiftest wing, were here!” No sooner said he this than the falcon was after the hoodie, and she was not long putting her to earth; and as the hoodie fell on the bank of the loch, out of her jumps the trout. “Oh! that thou wert by me now, oh otter!” No sooner said than the otter was at his side, and out on the loch she leaped, and brings the trout from the midst of the loch; but no sooner was the otter on shore with the trout than the egg came from his mouth. He sprang and he put his foot on it. ‘Twas then the sea-maiden appeared, and she said, “Break not the egg, and you shall get all you ask.” “Deliver to me my wife!” In the wink of an eye she was by his side. When he got hold of her hand in both his hands, he let his foot down on the egg, and the sea-maiden died.


Sea Poetry

A Sea Dirge

by Lewis Carroll

There are certain things – as, a spider, a ghost,

The income-tax, gout, an umbrella for three –

That I hate, but the thing that I hate the most

Is a thing they call the Sea.

Pour some salt water over the floor –

Ugly I’m sure you’ll allow it to be:

Suppose it extended a mile or more,

THAT’S very like the Sea.

Beat a dog till it howls outright –

Cruel, but all very well for a spree:

Suppose that he did so day and night,

THAT would be like the Sea.

I had a vision of nursery-maids;

Tens of thousands passed by me –

All leading children with wooden spades,

And this was by the Sea.

Who invented those spades of wood?

Who was it cut them out of the tree?

None, I think, but an idiot could –

Or one that loved the Sea.

It is pleasant and dreamy, no doubt, to float

With ‘thoughts as boundless, and souls as free’:

But, suppose you are very unwell in the boat,

How do you like the Sea?

There is an insect that people avoid

(Whence is derived the verb ‘to flee’).

Where have you been by it most annoyed?

In lodgings by the Sea.

If you like your coffee with sand for dregs,

A decided hint of salt in your tea,

And a fishy taste in the very eggs –

By all means choose the Sea.

And if, with these dainties to drink and eat,

You prefer not a vestige of grass or tree,

And a chronic state of wet in your feet,

Then – I recommend the Sea.

For I have friends who dwell by the coast –

Pleasant friends they are to me!

It is when I am with them I wonder most

That anyone likes the Sea.

They take me a walk: though tired and stiff,

To climb the heights I madly agree;

And, after a tumble or so from the cliff,

They kindly suggest the Sea.

I try the rocks, and I think it cool

That they laugh with such an excess of glee,

As I heavily slip into every pool

That skirts the cold cold Sea.


Sea Fever

by John Masefield

I must go down to the seas again,

to the lonely sea and the sky,

And all I ask is a tall ship

and a star to steer her by,

And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song

and the white sail’s shaking,

And a grey mist on the sea’s face

and a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again,

for the call of the running tide

Is a wild call and a clear call

that may not be denied;

And all I ask is a windy day

with the white clouds flying,

And the flung spray and the blown spume,

and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again

to the vagrant gypsy life,

To the gull’s way and the whale’s way

where the wind’s like a whetted knife;

And all I ask is a merry yarn

from a laughing fellow rover,

And quiet sleep and a sweet dream

when the long trick’s over.

Down By The Bay….

Chesapeake Mornings

By Chris Kleinfelter

Standing in the driveway by the trash cans

My mind wanders southward, a hundred miles

And more, to where herons feed in clear water

While boats swing restlessly in tidal streams.

I measure all of my daybreaks at home

Against the Chesapeake mornings I have known,

Anchored in the stillness of emerging light,

Waiting for dawn to open my shadowed eyes.

I hear the wind singing in the clothes-line,

Moaning in the roadside telephone wires.

And I know that it is the same wind that

Frolics far away in drum-tight rigging.

A grove of tall masts is tracing circles

In the sky as restless keels and unmanned rudders

Stain the blue water with rippling patterns:

Brush strokes from the steady hand of god.

Cape Lookout…

Looking down Cape Lookout. Wonderous place. Black Bears, Hang-Gliders, Silence….

The Friends of The People of Faery…W.B. Yeats Part 2

Our second visit with Mr. Yeats. I like to visit him when I can, and especially with the beauty of Autumn around us.. I often consider Yeats a nature poet, and then a metaphysical one as well. His love of country and land sings through his works.

The man had a great gift, and I think we can all share in it, if but for a short time…




THOSE that see the people of faery most often, and so have the most of their wisdom, are often very poor, but often, too, they are thought to have a strength beyond that of man, as though one came, when one has passed the threshold of trance, to those sweet waters where Maeldun saw the dishevelled eagles bathe and become young again.

There was an old Martin Roland, who lived near a bog a little out of Gort, who saw them often from his young days, and always towards the end of his life, though I would hardly call him their friend. He told me a few months before his death that ‘they’ would not let him sleep at night with crying things at him in Irish, and with playing their pipes. He had asked a friend of his what he should do, and the friend had told him to buy a flute, and play on it when they began to shout or to play on their pipes, and maybe they would give up annoying him; and he did, and they always went out into the field when he began to play. He showed me the pipe, and blew through it, and made a noise, but he did not know how to play; and then he showed me where he had pulled his chimney down, because one of them used to sit up on it and play on the pipes. A friend of his and mine went to see him a little time ago, for she heard that ‘three of them’ had told him he was to die. He said they had gone away after warning him, and that the children (children they had ‘taken,’ I suppose) who used to come with them, and play about the house with them, had ‘gone to some other place,’ because ‘they found the house too cold for them, maybe’; and he died a week after he had said these things.

His neighbours were not certain that he really saw anything in his old age, but they were all certain that he saw things when he was a young man. His brother said, ‘Old he is, and it’s all in his brain the things he sees. If he was a young man we might believe in him.’ But he was improvident, and never got on with his brothers. A neighbour said, ‘The poor man, they say they are mostly in his head now, but sure he was a fine fresh man twenty years ago the night he saw them linked in two lots, like young slips of girls walking together. It was the night they took away Fallon’s little girl.’ And she told how Fallon’s little girl had met a woman ‘with red hair that was as bright as silver,’ who took her away. Another neighbour, who was herself ‘clouted over the ear’ by one of them for going into a fort where they were, said, ‘I believe it’s mostly in his head they are; and when he stood in the door last night I said, “The wind does be always in my ears, and the sound of it never stops,” to make him think it was the same with him; but he says, “I hear them singing and making music all the time, and one of them is after bringing out a little flute, and it’s on it he’s playing to them.” And this I know, that when he pulled down the chimney where he said the piper used to be sitting and playing, he lifted up stones, and he an old man, that I could not have lifted when I was young and strong.’

A friend has sent me from Ulster an account of one who was on terms of true friendship with the people of faery. It has been taken down accurately, for my friend, who had heard the old woman’s story some time before I heard of it, got her to tell it over again, and wrote it out at once. She began by telling the old woman that she did not like being in the house alone because of the ghosts and fairies; and the old woman said, ‘There’s nothing to be frightened about in faeries, miss. Many’s the time I talked to a woman myself that was a faery, or something of the sort, and no less and more than mortal anyhow. She used to come about your grandfather’s house–your mother’s grandfather, that is–in my young days. But you’ll have heard all about her.’ My friend said that she had heard about her, but a long time before, and she wanted to hear about her again; and the old woman went on, ‘Well dear, the very first time ever I heard word of her coming about was when your uncle–that is, your mother’s uncle–Joseph married, and building a house for his wife, for he brought her first to his father’s, up at the house by the Lough. My father and us were living nigh hand to where the new house was to be built, to overlook the men at their work. My father was a weaver, and brought his looms and all there into a cottage that was close by. The foundations were marked out, and the building stones lying about, but the masons had not come yet; and one day I was standing with my mother foment the house, when we sees a smart wee woman coming up the field over the burn to us. I was a bit of a girl at the time, playing about and sporting myself, but I mind her as well as if I saw her there now!’ My friend asked how the woman was dressed, and the old woman said, ‘It was a gray cloak she had on, with a green cashmere skirt and a black silk handkercher tied round her head, like the country women did use to wear in them times.’ My friend asked, ‘How wee was she?’ And the old woman said, ‘Well now, she wasn’t wee at all when I think of it, for all we called her the Wee Woman. She was bigger than many a one, and yet not tall as you would say. She was like a woman about thirty, brown-haired and round in the face. She was like Miss Betty, your grandmother’s sister, and Betty was like none of the rest, not like your grandmother, nor any of them. She was round and fresh in the face, and she never was married, and she never would take any man; and we used to say that the Wee Woman–her being like Betty–was, maybe, one of their own people that had been took off before she grew to her full height, and for that she was always following us and warning and foretelling. This time she walks straight over to where my mother was standing. “Go over to the Lough this minute!”–ordering her like that–”Go over to the Lough, and tell Joseph that he must change the foundation of this house to where I’ll show you fornent the thornbush. That is where it is to be built, if he is to have luck and prosperity, so do what I’m telling ye this minute.” The house was being built on “the path” I suppose–the path used by the people of faery in their journeys, and my mother brings Joseph down and shows him, and he changes the foundations, the way he was bid, but didn’t bring it exactly to where was pointed, and the end of that was, when he come to the house, his own wife lost her life with an accident that come to a horse that hadn’t room to turn right wiith a harrow between the bush and the wall. The Wee Woman was queer and angry when next she come, and says to us, “He didn’t do as I bid him, but he’ll see what he’ll see.”‘ My friend asked where the woman came from this time, and if she was dressed as before, and the woman said, ‘Always the same way, up the field beyant the burn. It was a thin sort of shawl she had about her in summer, and a cloak about her in winter; and many and many a time she came, and always it was good advice she was giving to my mother, and warning her what not to do if she would have good luck. There was none of the other children of us ever seen her unless me; but I used to be glad when I seen her coming up the burn, and would run out and catch her by the hand and the cloak, and call to my mother, “Here’s the Wee Woman!” No man body ever seen her. My father used to be wanting to, and was angry with my mother and me, thinking we were telling lies and talking foolish like. And so one day when she had come, and was sitting by the fireside talking to my mother, I slips out to the field where he was digging. “Come up,” says I, “if ye want to see her. She’s sitting at the fireside now, talking to mother.” So in he comes with me and looks round angry like and sees nothing, and he up with a broom that was near hand and hits me a crig with it. “Take that now!” says he, “for making a fool of me!” and away with him as fast as he could, and queer and angry with me. The Wee Woman says to me then, “Ye got that now for bringing people to see me. No man body ever seen me, and none ever will.”

‘There was one day, though, she gave him a queer fright anyway, whether he had seen her or not. He was in among the cattle when it happened, and he comes up to the house all trembling like. “Don’t let me hear you say another word of your Wee Woman. I have got enough of her

this time.” Another time, all the same, he was up Gortin to sell horses, and before he went off, in steps the Wee Woman and says she to my mother, holding out a sort of a weed, “Your man is gone up by Gortin, and there’s a bad fright waiting him coming home, but take this and sew it in his coat, and he’ll get no harm by it.” My mother takes the herb, but thinks to herself, “Sure there’s nothing in it,” and throws it on the floor, and lo and behold, and sure enough! coming home from Gortin, my father got as bad a fright as ever he got in his life. What it was I don’t right mind, but anyway he was badly damaged by it. My mother was in a queer way, frightened of the Wee Woman, after what she done, and sure enough the next time she was angry. “Ye didn’t believe me,” she said, “and ye threw the herb I gave ye in the fire, and I went far enough for it.” There was another time she came and told how William Hearne was dead in America. “Go over,” she says, “to the Lough, and say that William is dead, and he died happy, and this was the last Bible chapter ever he read,” and with that she gave the verse and chapter. “Go,” she says, “and tell them to read them at the next class meeting, and that I held his head while he died.” And sure enough word came after that how William had died on the day she named. And, doing as she did about the chapter and hymn, they never had such a prayer-meeting as that. One day she and me and my mother was standing talking, and she was warning her about something, when she says of a sudden, “Here comes Miss Letty in all her finery, and it’s time for me to be off.” And with that she gave a swirl round on her feet, and raises up in the air, and round and round she goes, and up and up, as if it was a winding stairs she went up, only far swifter. She went up and up, till she was no bigger than a bird up against the clouds, singing and singing the whole time the loveliest music I ever heard in my life from that day to this. It wasn’t a hymn she was singing, but poetry, lovely poetry, and me and my mother stands gaping up, and all of a tremble. “What is she at all, mother?” says I. “Is it an angel she is, or a faery woman, or what?” With that up come Miss Letty, that was your grandmother, dear, but Miss Letty she was then, and no word of her being anything else, and she wondered to see us gaping up that way, till me and my mother told her of it. She went on gay-dressed then, and was lovely looking. She was up the lane where none of us could see her coming forward when the Wee Woman rose up in that queer way, saying, “Here comes Miss Letty in all her finery.” Who knows to what far country she went, or to see whom dying?

‘It was never after dark she came, but daylight always, as far as I mind, but wanst, and that was on a Hallow Eve night. My mother was by the fire, making ready the supper; she had a duck down and some apples. In slips the Wee Woman, “I’m come to pass my Hallow Eve with you,” says she. “That’s right,” says my mother, and thinks to herself, “I can give her her supper nicely.” Down she sits by the fire a while. “Now I’ll tell you where you’ll bring my supper,” says she. “In the room beyond there beside the loom–set a chair in and a plate.” “When ye’re spending the night, mayn’t ye as well sit by the table and eat with the rest of us?” “Do what you’re bid, and set whatever you give me in the room beyant. I’ll eat there and nowhere else.” So my mother sets her a plate of duck and some apples, whatever was going, in where she bid, and we got to our supper and she to hers; and when we rose I went in, and there, lo and behold ye, was her supper-plate a bit ate of each portion, and she clean gone!’



I DREAMED that I stood in a valley, and amid sighs,

For happy lovers passed two by two where I stood;

And I dreamed my lost love came stealthily out of the wood

With her cloud-pale eyelids falling on dream-dimmed eyes:

I cried in my dream, O women, bid the young men lay

Their heads on your knees, and drown their eyes with your hair,

Or remembering hers they will find no other face fair

Till all the valleys of the world have been withered away.



THE Powers whose name and shape no living creature knows

Have pulled the Immortal Rose;

And though the Seven Lights bowed in their dance and wept,

The Polar Dragon slept,

His heavy rings uncoiled from glimmering deep to deep:

When will he wake from sleep?

Great Powers of falling wave and wind and windy fire,

With your harmonious choir

Encircle her I love and sing her into peace,

That my old care may cease;

Unfold your flaming wings and cover out of sight

The nets of day and night. p. 43

Dim Powers of drowsy thought, let her no longer be

Like the pale cup of the sea,

When winds have gathered and sun and moon burned dim

Above its cloudy rim;

But let a gentle silence wrought with music flow

Whither her footsteps go.


O CLOUD-PALE eyelids, dream-dimmed eyes,

The poets labouring all their days

To build a perfect beauty in rhyme

Are overthrown by a woman’s gaze

And by the unlabouring brood of the skies:

And therefore my heart will bow, when dew

Is dropping sleep, until God burn time,

Before the unlabouring stars and you.

Perhaps my favourite poem of Yeats….


I WENT out to the hazel wood,

Because a fire was in my head,

And cut and peeled a hazel wand,

And hooked a berry to a thread;

And when white moths were on the wing,

And moth-like stars were flickering out,

I dropped the berry in a stream

And caught a little silver trout.

When I had laid it on the floor

I went to blow the fire a-flame,

But something rustled on the floor,

And some one called me by my name:

It had become a glimmering girl

With apple blossom in her hair

Who called me by my name and ran

And faded through the brightening air.

Though I am old with wandering

Through hollow lands and hilly lands,

I will find out where she has gone,

And kiss her lips and take her hands;

And walk among long dappled grass,

And pluck till time and times are done

The silver apples of the moon,

The golden apples of the sun.


Nothing like a bit of William Butler Yeats to clear the head and to restore the spirit. Yeats has been a constant companion of mine since my teens, and he still whispers in my ear to this day.

The power of poetry, the power of love, who among you can doubt these basic elements of life?

Happy Reading,


(thanks to Robert Venosa for the wonderful art!)


(Robert Venosa – Garden of Delights)



LAST summer, whenever I had finished my day’s work, I used to go wandering in certain roomy woods, and there I would often meet an old countryman, and talk to him about his work and about the woods, and once or twice a friend came with me to whom he would open his heart more readily than to me, He had spent all his life lopping away the witch elm and the hazel and the privet and the hornbeam from the paths, and had thought much about the natural and supernatural creatures of the wood. He has heard the hedgehog–’grainne oge,’ he calls him–’grunting like a Christian,’ and is certain that he steals apples by rolling about under an apple tree until there is an apple sticking to every quill. He is certain too that the cats, of whom there are many in the woods, have a language of their own–some kind of old Irish. He says, ‘Cats were serpents, and they were made into cats at the time of some great change in the world. That is why they are hard to kill, and why it is dangerous to meddle with them. If you annoy a cat it might claw or bite you in a way that would put poison in you, and that would be the serpent’s tooth.’ Sometimes he thinks they change into wild cats, and then a nail grows on the end of their tails; but these wild cats are not the same as the marten cats, who have been always in the woods. The foxes were once tame, as the cats are now, but they ran away and became wild. He talks of all wild creatures except squirrels–whom he hates–with what seems an affectionate interest, though at times his eyes will twinkle with pleasure as he remembers how he made hedgehogs unroll themselves when he was a boy, by putting a wisp of burning straw under them.

I am not certain that he distinguishes between the natural and supernatural very clearly. He told me the other day that foxes and cats like, above all, to be in the ‘forths’ and lisses after nightfall; and he will certainly pass from some story about a fox to a story about a spirit with less change of voice than when he is going to speak about a marten cat–a rare beast now-a-days. Many years ago he used to work in the garden, and once they put him to sleep in a garden-house where there was a loft full of apples, and all night he could hear people rattling plates and knives and forks over his head in the loft. Once, at any rate, be has seen an unearthly sight in the woods. He says, ‘One time I was out cutting timber over in Inchy, and about eight o’clock one morning when I got there I saw a girl picking nuts, with her hair hanging down over her shoulders, brown hair, and she had a good, clean face, and she was tall and nothing on her head, and her dress no way gaudy but simple, and when she felt me coming she gathered herself up and was gone as if the earth had swallowed her up. And I followed her and looked for her, but I never could see her again from that day to this, never again.’ He used the word clean as we would use words like fresh or comely.

Others too have seen spirits in the Enchanted Woods. A labourer told us of what a friend of his had seen in a part of the woods that is called Shanwalla, from some old village that was before the weed. He said, ‘One evening I parted from Lawrence Mangan in the yard, and he went away through the path in Shanwalla, an’ bid me goodnight. And two hours after, there he was back again in the yard, an’ bid me light a candle that was in the stable. An’ he told me that when he got into Shanwalla, a little fellow about as high as his knee, but having a head as big as a man’s body, came beside him and led him out of the path an’ round about, and at last it brought him to the lime-kiln, and then it vanished and left him.’ A woman told me of a sight that she and others had seen by a certain deep pool in the river. She said, ‘I came over the stile from the chapel, and others along with me; and a great blast of wind came and two trees were bent and broken and fell into the river, and the splash of water out of it went up to the skies. And those that were with me saw many figures, but myself I only saw one, sitting there by the bank where the trees fell. Dark clothes he had on, and he was headless.’

A man told me that one day, when he was a boy, he and another boy went to catch a horse in a certain field, full of boulders and bushes of hazel and creeping juniper and rock-roses, that is where the lake side is for a little clear of the woods. He said to the boy that was with him, ‘I bet a button that if I fling a pebble on to that bush it will stay on it,’ meaning that the bush was so matted the pebble would not be able to go through it. So he took up ‘a pebble of cow-dung, and as soon as it hit the bush there came out of it the most beautiful music that ever was heard.’ They ran away, and when they had gone about two hundred yards they looked back and saw a woman dressed in white, walking round and round the bush. ‘First it had the form of a woman, and then of a man, and it was going round the bush.’


I often entangle myself in argument more complicated than even those paths of Inchy as to what is the true nature of apparitions, but at other times I say as Socrates said when they told him a learned opinion about a nymph of the Illissus, ‘The common opinion is enough for me.’ I believe when I am in the mood that all nature is full of people whom we cannot see, and that some of these are ugly or grotesque, and some wicked or foolish, but very many beautiful beyond any onewe have ever seen, and that these are not far away when we are walking in pleasant and quiet places. Even when I was a boy I could never walk in a wood without feeling that at any moment I might find before me somebody or something I had long looked for without knowing what I looked for. And now I will at times explore every little nook of some poor coppice with almost anxious footsteps, so deep a hold has this imagination upon me. You too meet with a like imagination, doubtless, somewhere, wherever your ruling stars will have it, Saturn driving you to the woods, or the Moon, it may be, to the edges of the sea. I will not of a certainty believe that there is nothing in the sunset, where our forefathers imagined the dead following their shepherd the sun, or nothing but some vague presence as little moving as nothing. If beauty is not a gateway out of the net we were taken in at our birth, it will not long be beauty, and we will find it better to sit at home by the fire and fatten a lazybody or to run hither and thither in some foolish sport than to look at the finest show that light and shadow ever made among green leaves. I say to myself, when I am well out of that thicket of argument, that they are surely there, the divine people, for only we who have neither simplicity nor wisdom have denied them, and the simple of all times and the wise men of ancient times have seen them and even spoken to them. They live out their passionate lives not far off, as I think, and we shall be among them when we die if we but keep our natures simple and passionate. May it not even be that death shall unite us to all romance, and that some day we shall fight dragons among blue hills, or come to that whereof all romance is but

‘Foreshadowings mingled with the images

Of man’s misdeeds in greater days than these,’

as the old men thought in The Earthly Paradise when they were in good spirits.



WHEN my arms wrap you round I press

My heart upon the loveliness

That has long faded from the world;

The jewelled crowns that kings have hurled

In shadowy pools, when armies fled;

The love-tales wrought with silken thread

By dreaming ladies upon cloth

That has made fat the murderous moth;

The roses that of old time were

Woven by ladies in their hair,

The dew-cold lilies ladies bore

Through many a sacred corridor

Where such grey clouds of incense rose

That only the gods’ eyes did not close:

For that pale breast and lingering hand

Come from a more dream-heavy land,

A more dream-heavy hour than this;

And when you sigh from kiss to kiss

I hear white Beauty sighing, too,

For hours when all must fade like dew,

But flame on flame, and deep on deep,

Throne over throne where in half sleep,

Their swords upon their iron knees,

Brood her high lonely mysteries.



THE jester walked in the garden:

The garden had fallen still;

He bade his soul rise upward

And stand on her window-sill.

It rose in a straight blue garment,

When owls began to call:

It had grown wise-tongued by thinking

Of a quiet and light footfall;

But the young queen would not listen;

She rose in her pale night gown;

She drew in the heavy casement

And pushed the latches down.

He bade his heart go to her,

When the owls called out no more;

In a red and quivering garment

It sang to her through the door.

It had grown sweet-tongued by dreaming,

Of a flutter of flower-like hair;

But she took up her fan from the table

And waved it off on the air. p. 26

“I have cap and bells,” he pondered,

“I will send them to her and die”;

And when the morning whitened

He left them where she went by.

She laid them upon her bosom,

Under a cloud of her hair,

And her red lips sang them a love-song:

Till stars grew out of the air.

She opened her door and her window,

And the heart and the soul came through,

To her right hand came the red one,

To her left hand came the blue.

They set up a noise like crickets,

A chattering wise and sweet,

And her hair was a folded flower

And the quiet of love in her feet.

(Robert Venosa – Crystal Tree)

Surfs’ Up!

On the Music Box Boozoo Bajou – Satta (catch the grooooooove)

Rowan heading off to be a Camp Counsellor for Outdoor School on Sunday morning. This is his third semester as a counsellor, and he plans to do three more. He really enjoys it… Outdoor School is for 6th graders, open to all students across Oregon. An excellent program, that takes kids out to the wilderness for nature studies and relationship building with fellow students. It had really touched Rowan when he had gone; he felt the drive to pass it along. He has received some nice commendations for his mentoring and teaching skills.

Makes me very happy, indeed it does….

A small entry today and tomorrow, scaling back and taking a rest.



Here ya go…

On The Menu

Oregon Coast…

The Links

Hafiz of Course…


Why I live here… besides all the great people.



The Pat Robertson and Friends Coloring Book

Pot Grown in a PC…

History Warns Us to Withdraw

Sunken Forest at Winchelsea Beach


Hafiz of Course…

Like The Morning Breeze

Like the morning breeze, if you bring to the morning good deeds,

The rose of our desire will open and bloom.

Go forward, and make advances down this road of love;

In forward motion, the pain is great.

To beg at the door of the Winehouse is a wonderful alchemy.

If you practice this, soon you will be converting dust into gold.

O heart, if only once you experience the light of purity,

Like a laughing candle, you can abandon the life you live in your head.

But if you are still yearning for cheap wine and a beautiful face,

Don’t go out looking for an enlightened job.

Hafiz, if you are listening to this good advice,

The road of Love and its enrichment are right around the curve.


No More Leaving


Some point

Your relationship

With God


Become like this:

Next time you meet Him in the forest

Or on a crowded city street

There won’t be anymore


That is,

God will climb into

Your pocket.

You will simply just take



We Might Have To Medicate You

Resist your temptation to lie

By speaking of separation from God,


We might have to medicate


In the ocean

A lot goes on beneath your eyes.


They have clinics there too

For the insane

Who persist in saying things like:

“I am independent from the


God is not always around


Pressing against

My body.”

From the Large Jug, Drink

From the large jug, drink the wine of Unity,

So that from your heart you can wash away the futility of life’s grief.

But like this large jug, still keep the heart expansive.

Why would you want to keep the heart captive, like an unopened bottle

of wine?

With your mouth full of wine, you are selfless

And will never boast of your own abilities again.

Be like the humble stone at your feet rather than striving to be like a

Sublime cloud: the more you mix colors of deceit, the more colorless

your ragged wet coat will get.

Connect the heart to the wine, so that it has body,

Then cut off the neck of hypocrisy and piety of this new man.

Be like Hafiz: Get up and make an effort. Don’t lie around like a bum.

He who throws himself at the Beloved’s feet is like a workhorse and will

be rewarded with boundless pastures and eternal rest.


Have A Good Day!

Three Poets…

(David Roberts – The Ghawazee of Cairo)


An Entry for the Weekend… Hope ya enjoy!


On the Menu

Rachid Taha – Mick Jones!

The Links

Three Poets

Orientalist Artist….

(Rachid Taha – Mick Jones)


The Links:


Science is a method, not a position – time for Randi to pay up?

Whistleblower dies in suspicious circumstances on stage at UFO conference

Vaudevillian’s trick baffled Stauntonians


Three Poets…

(Charles Sprague Pearce – The Arab Jeweller)

A Monkey at the Window – Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi


The little boy, playing in bed

while his wounded mother cooks,

is throwing little words and circles

out of the window.

She smiles

(the whole world lights up)

he chatters excitedly – What can he see?

There’s a monkey at the window –

behind the door!

But he is falling

into darkness.

And though he never raises a cry

he holds up his claws – this dark




She never taught him how to cry, only how to sing.

Happy in herself – just as she wished to be –

she taught him endless space and vastness,

and she calls him: Open-hearted.

Behind him, a mountain of metaphors,

in front, a river, a mouthful of night,

and a train of caravans calling him away.

(Where is that thread

that fire

the skill?)


Running – down an alleyway

he splashes cooking oil all over his shorts, this boy!

He wets himself

with laughter

running through Eternity –

through this alleyway

this pack of dogs,

the conspiracies of fate!


The solid front door remembers the hand that made it –

You are the key –

and the creak of the universe — it’s your sole secret

You lean your dreams and future against it.

For its sake you endure the woodworms

gnawing through your heart,

the reek of damp,

the hammering of enemies and relatives.

(Long is the absence of light

that paints things awake –

Long is the presence of paint!)

You come home exhausted — from wherever you’ve been,

the wind at your side — just as you wished,

toyed with by traumas.

Once he made necklaces from seashells,

colouring them with his own fairytales,

once he made friends with strange frogs

– and all the while she’s watching him

from behind the door /from out the window

(when she runs to pick him up,

he will not raise

a cry!)


In the forest the lonely one knows all the voices

beckoned by the eyes of loved ones

their songs are luring her

with their tender fingers

and her own translucent solitude.

She sits in silence

close to every thing

brewing tea,

stirring the porridge.

In the garden

of a strange home, her home,

she welcomes the pots and pans

to the sounds of morning.

Scrubbing everything, in its proper place,

one eye on the radio

that calls her to those distant sands,

the desert.

But her colour flow like a river

so she can sing….

And that boy?

………. ………….

In a green forest

or a red forest

or a desert

now who calls her to Eternity?

Poet Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi is one of the leading poets writing in Arabic today. He has gained a wide audience in his native Sudan for his intensely imaginative appraoch to poetry and for the delicacy and emotional frankness of his lyrics. Saddiq was born in 1969 and grew up in Omdurman, Khartoum, where he still lives. His first poetry collection, Songs of Solitude, was published in 1996 (Second Edition 1999). He also published The Sultan’s Labyrinth( 1996) and The Far Reaches of the Screen… (1999 &amp; 2000). One of the six poets taking part in the PTC’s World Poets’ Tour in October 2005, Saddiq received a rapturous response from audiences in the UK. In March 2006 returned to the UK and gave a moving reading at the Poetry Cafe, as part of their occasional series ‘In Town Tonight’ featuring important international poets visiting London. ‘Poem of the Nile’ was recently published in The London Review of Books, one of the rare occasions the LRB has published poetry translated from Arabic, and the first time they’ve featured the work of an African poet. This is a real indication of Saddiq’s growing status as an important international poet.


Our Old Bed – Abdullah al Ryami

I wait for you in a bright shadow

lit by matches struck from the tree

under whose branches we said goodbye

When you arrive

fluids purl along my veins

the way clouds arise from the sea

And I stumble between your thighs

towards the cure

for this unstaunchable wound

Our bed is of sand

formed from ancient sediments

soft as a rumour

Together on this silk

desire fills our voices like flocking birds

like a new friendship filling the night

You and I are a late-night conversation

in a tavern by the sea

at the fount of the horizon

Nurtured by longing

we come to this shore

to teach the dawn new tricks

And we go to the forest

to gather wood from new trees

Stone gives birth to stone

and I will wait for you forever

knowing that nothing can stop the earth

rolling down the mountain of life

“Born on July 11 1965 in Cairo, where his father had taken refuge from the British-backed suppression of the Omani uprising, Al Ryami has lived for many years as an outsider. His first collection of poems was published in 1992. He helped to found the avant-garde theatre group A’Shams, working as dramatist and artistic director, and Najma Publications, specialising in modern poetry, novels and works in translation, before moving to Oman in 2000. There he worked as a theatrical director, journalist and cultural commentator.

Mohamed Al Harthi, a fellow poet and friend of Al Ryami, suggests that Al Ryami’s time living outside Oman has had a clear influence on his poetry. “Abdullah al Ryami’s poetry is solitude poetry,” he says. “His economical sentences surprise you with their philosophical depth, building in simple, deceptively gentle phrases towards harsh images.”

Al Ryami’s background in experimental theatre has also played a major role in shaping his poetry, according to one of his translators, Hafiz Kheir. In the carefully composed work that Kheir has seen, “he often manages to create imaginary spaces of inner worlds, while retaining a restrained language that resists the temptation of ‘freewheeling lyricism’ that renders a lot of his contemporaries’ works either too vague or in some cases clearly ostentatious”.

Kheir places Al Ryami within contemporary Arabic Free Verse, a wide and diverse body of poetic endeavours which emerged in the early 1960s and helped to free modern Arab poets from the limitations of traditional forms.

“After the earlier pioneering poets, such as Nazik Al Malayka and Badr Shakir Al-Sayab, rebelled against the classic forms that dictated both ‘ideal’ subjects and ‘approved’ musical structures, Free Verse poets seemed to leap further into the unknown, with more radical ideas that employed prose, reflective thought, and narrative techniques, as well as invoking the rich heritage of Sufi mystic writing styles,” says Kheir.

Kheir is struck by Al Ryami’s avoidance of “perfect metaphors and high lyricism”, the pride of the classic Arab poet. “This feature is shared among most new Free Verse poets,” says Kheir, “but I find it very important in his case because it takes a very confrontational form. It is as if Al Ryami says ‘here is a potentially perfect metaphor that will impress you’ and then changes his mind and completes it very differently. So it is a bit absurd, somewhat surprising, and yet still has a poetic feel.”


Sorrows of the Black City – Muhammad al-Fayturi

When night casts its net of shadows over the streets of the city

shrouding it in grief,

you can still see them —

slumped in silence, staring at the cracks.

And you think they are calm,

but you’re wrong — they’re on fire!

When darkness raises its statues of marble

on the streets of the city

then smashes them in fury

then the city will lead all the people

down the spiral staircase of the night

into the deep distant past.

The past with its ambergris shores

is dreaming of memories

too deeply to be roused.

And inside everyone something begins to stir —

a fresh wall made of clay,

stuck with diamonds and desires.

When night sleeps and day wakes

raising its candles in the dark

peace ebbs back to its home in the grave.

At that, the heart of the city

turns futile and wretched —

it is an oven at noon, a lamp for the blind.

Like ancient Africa, the city is truly

an old woman veiled in frankincense,

a great pit of fire, the horn of a ram,

an amulet of old prayers, a night full of mirrors,

the dance of black women, naked,

shouting their black joy.

This coma of sins was kept alive by the master,

ships filled with slave girls,

with musk, ivory and saffron —

gifts, all without joy, despatched by the winds of all ages

to the white man of our time

to the master of all time.

A plantation stretches out in imagination

to clothe the naked, to loosen their clothes,

flowing like its ancestors through the veins of life,

dyeing the water, and dyeing God’s face,

its sorrows on every mouth

breeding tyrants and iron and slaves,

breeding chains, every day breeding some new horror….

And yet, on the streets of the city,

when night constructs

its barriers of black stone — they stretch out their hands,

in silence, to the balconies of the future.

They are locked-up cries

in a locked-up land.

Their memories are stab-wounds.

Their faces are sad, like the faces of the blind.

Look, there they are,

heads slumped in silence. And you think they are calm.

But you’re wrong. Truth is, they’re on fire….

Muhammad al-Fayturi was born in Sudan — he does not know the year of his birth — in Al-Janina, on the western border of Sudan. His father was a Sufi sheikh of Libyan Bedouin extraction, while his mother was from a Gulf tribe which traced its lineage back to the Prophet Muhammad.

Soon after his birth, his family moved to Alexandria, where he spent his childhood, except for a brief spell during the Second World War when the family fled to the Egyptian countryside to escape the German bombing. He attended Al-Azhar University in Cairo until 1953 where he studied the Islamic sciences, philosophy and history, then attended Cairo University where he studied literature for two years. In 1953 he published his first collection of poems, entitled ‘Songs of Africa.’

Since then Al-Fayturi has published a number of other collections, including ‘Sunrise and Moonset’ and ‘Lover from Africa’. He has also lived and worked as a journalist and writer in a variety of different countries, including Lebanon, Libya, and Sudan itself. His poetry particularly draws on his experience as an African living amongst Arabs, dealing as it does with issues of race, class and colonialism, and it is also influenced to some extent by Sufi philosophy.

(Frederick Arthur Bridgman – The Rug Merchants)

The Faint Glimmers..

Friday Morning: I get the Faint Glimmers… almost like a humming of the eyes. I get the dreams and the hopes, telegraphing into my mind, my body, my soul. Though I am often weary of the world, I get the faint glimmers that we are still in the middle of a great change, and no one, no one, can truly know where we are going.

Faint Glimmers… incremental and massive change. Here is to the times we live in, the loves we share, and to the little ones emerging.

Have a good weekend…!



On The Menu

C’est le bonheur – Les Paris Bamako – (Amadou et Mariam jamming away!)

The Links

Flower Shower

The Quotes

I in the Triangle: Robert Anton Wilson

Poetry: Sitting With Master Master Hsu Yun


C’est le bonheur – Les Paris Bamako



Who really sailed the ocean blue in 1492?

Sheriff’s Department Uses Google Earth to Pinpoint Marijuana Fields

Neve Shalom – Wahat Al-Salam

Marijuana Consumption Drops in U.K. Despite Liberalized Laws


Flower Shower

Subhuti was Buddha’s disciple. He was able to understand the potency of emptiness, the viewpoint that nothing exists except in its relationship of subjectivity and objectivity.

One day Subhuti, in a mood of sublime emptiness, was sitting under a tree. Flowers began to fall about him.

“We are praising you for your discourse on emptiness,” the gods whispered to him.

“But I have not spoken of emptiness,” said Subhuti.

“You have not spoken of emptiness, we have not heard emptiness,” responded the gods. “This is the true emptiness.” And blossoms showered upon Subhuti as rain.


The Quotes:

“It has always been the prerogative of children and half-wits to point out that the emperor has no clothes. But the half-wit remains a half-wit, and the emperor remains an emperor.” “

The difference between a violin and a viola is that a viola burns longer.”

“Historians are like deaf people who go on answering questions that no one has asked them.”

“I’ll be more enthusiastic about encouraging thinking outside the box when there’s evidence of any thinking going on inside it.”

“Never have children, only grandchildren.”

“Now and then an innocent man is sent to the legislature.”


I in the Triangle: Robert Anton Wilson- Pt.3


Poetry: Sitting With Master Master Hsu Yun

In Response to Layman Ma Guanyuan for a Special Verse

I don’t carry a gentleman’s lute

Or own a longevity crane.

I’m as undistinguished as smoke

And casual as sunset clouds.

Scattered and low.

Scattered and low.

Sometimes I roam along Bilu Peak

Or lounge around Maitreya’s Court.

Who needs seven hundred lifetimes?

Who needs to be the houseguest of an Immortal?

You can measure what’s empty or catch hold of the wind;

But the hardships of an ascetic monk are beyond reckoning.

You can move an entire mountain or shrink a great distance;

But nobody can plumb the depths of spiritual emptiness.

In the space of just a single thought

A thousand years can be speeded up or stopped.

But the distance light travels in those thousand years

Wouldn’t reach the limits of a monk’s travails.

I could have been a deckhand

And traveled all the seas;

Or else a simple laborer,

A porter with a pole.

What if I had been born noble and wealthy?

Shakya was; but he rejected that

And so would I. Ah. Ah.

So I don’t carry a gentleman’s lute

Or walk around with longevity cranes.

I just go, scattered and low, scattered and low.

As obscure as smoke and casual as those sunset clouds.


For Mr. He Jingtian, a Layman of Great Compassion

Once, he competed for reputation,

And struggled for advantage in the world

As the Chu and the Han chased each other through the Gates of Qin.

Yet, in a nap, no longer than it takes to cook millet,

In a brief dream, he entered that peerless realm of emptiness.

This hero who solved the riddle of the world!

This man who sleeps as well on featherbed or grass!

Who copes with all the world’s events

And doesn’t calculate priorities.

With empty hand does he command the yin and yang of time.

It’s so hard for the Buddha to save us!

We take a wrong turn a thousand times.

Those who truly crave liberation

Must quickly take advantage of their time.

The Buddha’s words will shine like the white moon,

Illuminating the path that’s otherwise unlit.

The Temple Bell will awaken the sincere but sleeping…

Dong… Dong… again, again, it calls.

Think about the chances! Born as human beings!

Intelligent and strong! But our minds are seared with troubles

And we’re desperate for refuge from ourselves.

I’ve learned the teachings of the Dharma

And store that knowledge in my heart.

Guarding it keeps me safely here at home.

I know that what seems to exist came out of nowhere.

And what seems to disappear, never went away.

Appearing and vanishing – the illusions of coming and going.

Another illusion, a sadder one, is that we two human beings

Can ever stay together long.

For Mr. Hua Yenjing at Fenglin Temple: An Admonishment Against

Feeling Upset Over A Monk’s Broken Porcelain Bowl

I’ve got a piece of porcelain.

I value it at more than a hundred billion yen.

When I show it, its brightness fills all space.

When I put it away, it leaves not a trace.

At night it’s the light within books.

Open or closed, the books contain that shining.

My porcelain can’t be burned by raging fire.

The greatest flood can’t sweep it off or drown it.

The smartest thief can’t steal it and

The cleverest of ghosts can’t spirit it away.

My porcelain is the Dragon Maiden’s Pearl

More valuable than several cities’ worth of Jade.

It might be fit to display in Maitreya’s Hall

Or on a pedestal in front of Duobao Pagoda.

Inside my porcelain bowl there’s dazzling light

Outside there’s just the luster of the bright clear moon

No less than the famous Pearl of Mani

It can shine through a crack and fill the Empty Realm.

There are too many details to explain.

If your tray is too full you can’t carry it.

As well as I’m able, I’ve tried to direct you.

When you grasp this yourself, you’ll know what I mean.

Years Months Days Hours

One year and then another.

Appearances gradually change.

Bone marrow shrivels.

Eyebrows thin away.

This time-limited body is like a mound of slurry.

In the Triple World, earth, air, fire and water mingle and change.

This is all our emotions allow us to notice

And their sight obstructs our view of Heaven.

One month and then another.

The light and dark pass like melting snow.

No part can be kept for long.

Only the Dharma does not come or go.

The lacquer bowl suddenly breaks.

You are like the Dragon of Heaven – born to be lively and free.

A roc can’t live in a crane’s nest.

A little jiaoliao bird needs to stay near mosquito ponds.

One day and then another.

They never wear themselves out.

Give up your judgments about everything.

It’s all insubstantial in the end.

All things under the sun come to an end and dissolve.

Spend what time you have in honest simplicity.

Just one breath of the Eternal

Admits you to the Great Chamber.

One hour and then another.

Inexorably march, step by step.

Whenever I meet you, we each smile.

But who is it who drags your corpse around?

Steadfast and unchangeable

Always mindful of this or that.

You’re young and strong. Exert yourself!

Don’t wait… oh please don’t wait

Until you’re much too old and weak.