Sunday, April 3, 2011

Ceridwen




Ceridwen



She sat in the shadows
her green eyes wide, white wind in her hair
like a rustling of leaves


She chased him
as he sucked his burned fingers,
too wise to stop.

When he was a hare
winding through the grass,
she was a hound.

When he was a fish
flickering in the shallows,
she was an otter.

When he hid,
still and small in the corn,
she devoured him.

He was her mirror,
her face dotting his iris, a small parasite
he carried everywhere.

There was a rose behind her ear
and a stone
in his hand.

Then one day
blowing in autumn’s smoke,
she curled away home.

The cauldron was
boiling over,
the child laughed in the dawn.




April 2011





Posted for One Shoot Sunday at the inimitable OneStopPoetry

  
Ceridwen in Welsh legend was an enchantress, said to possess the cauldron of poetic inspiration. The myth portrays her as swallowing her servant Gwion Bach, who inadvertently allowed some of the liquid to fall on him, and was then reborn through her as the legendary Welsh bard, Taliesin.

 

Photo : Heather Nelson, by India Hobson,
courtesy OneStopPoetry 


 

27 comments:

  1. My dear, this time you are poignant, yet completely open. I enjoyed the dance of text in relative to our cross gender interaction. "When he was a hare, winding through the grass, she was the hound." Forgive me as I blush at your lines.

    -Pounds

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  2. Love these tales of the ancients and their powers. They could certainly shapeshift with the slightest of ease and change other things into whatever they chose unless liquid got upon them. Would that be water and why was water so breaking a spell from the cauldron fires. All hail water!

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  3. I think the crooked interpretation of Ceridwen influences my judgment when reading your poem, JA. Your lines make me think of reincarnation, as well as the cruelty of a devious craft so to speak. Excellent poetry. always a delight to read your work.

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  4. I love the whole thing, but especially these lines:

    "Then one day
    blowing in autumn’s smoke,
    she curled away home."

    She curled away home. I adore that.

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  5. What fantastic stories bubble to the surface of your cauldron.

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  6. damn. those last two stanzas took me from longing to play to crumpled in the floor...why are they laughing at my torment...

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  7. I so love your writing, Joy! This is one of my faves.....like Fireblossom, I so love "curled away home" and, especially, the child who laughed in the dawn. Love the images of pursuit, the rose behind her ear, the stone in his hand. Magnificent work.

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  8. Then one day
    blowing in autumn’s smoke,
    she curled away home.

    What a beatiful image...

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  9. She's an enchantress. She can do that. ;_)

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  10. A very unexpected take on the image. It's astounding how different eyes perceive such varied yet intense possibilities in the same prompt. Having only recently left Wales I really warmed to your take on the legend. Your language here is very evocative and beautifully constructed. Well done!

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  11. Poor Gwydion (Gwion Bach); all he wanted was Knowledge, but he had to steal it from the caudlron Cerridwen was cooking for her own ugly child's benefit. Is there any knowledge not stolen, or not have a price - remember those golden delish apples in Eden? Our boy thought he gave chase through all the magic transformations allowed him through that Knowledge, but C. had the last laugh, turning into a bird when he turned into a seed: sorry, Charlie, Scissors cuts Paper. Love the latter transaction which generalize the quandary that of all lovers -- we all digest something of the other. And the final transformation after Cerridwen takes flight (issue), leaving the foster-child Taleissin (I assume that's him, and not C' original child) at the place where it started. Nice button. (I also like the version of the tale where the seed Gwydion is placed by C. in a leather sack and thrown onto the waters; eight months later, on Samhain, the bag is fished out of the waters and Taleissin emerges. Maybe you just condensed that version neatly. Cropping the photo allows you to narrow onto your Theme -- the Mythographer/Poet/Photographer now out of the frame, speaking into it ... Brendan

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  12. "White wind in her hair" gave me goosebumps.

    BEAUTIFUL post.

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  13. Thanks all, and thanks for coming by and taking the time to comment.

    @Brendan I didn't try to tell the whole story, just a snapshot, as you say cropping it a bit as I cropped the pic(apologies to the photographer!) Indeed no knowledge comes without a price, but also, after we're broke, we still have the knowledge. (The part I liked best I didn't write except very obliquely; it comes in the section you reference about the leather sack, when the child is born and he is too beautiful to destroy, even by a witch with a rather vengeful heart.The poet, the poem, the poetry, whatever, will live even when the intent of the author seems deflected. We hear no more of the ugly child, but Taliesin becomes one of the Five Great Bards)

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  14. I am SO unfamiliar with this story. I will have to look it up and come back here to fully enjoy al the nuances! Do you have a favorite version of this legend?

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  15. I love it! I'm not familiar with this myth; so I only have the Hedgewitchian version, which is fine indeed.

    I like the subtle shift from the opening in which she sits passively to the rest of the piece in which she is active and chasing the poor, reluctant bard. I feel for him, sometimes that muse is all-devouring, demanding her way with us, and as you suggest, rather than the hound we are the hare, stewing in the cauldron for breakfast.

    Love this:

    "He was her mirror,
    her face dotting his iris"

    As BKM suggests, the way gender roles and subject/object relations get switched about is intriguing.

    Great offering, Hedge!

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  16. my favorite line "her face dotting his iris" the image imprinted into his mind, and (when he was a hare, ... she was a hound) the forst comes to life and I love the forest...bkm

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  17. Wonderul story, told wonderfully well. And we're laughing with that child. Well done!

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  18. Enchantress's run rampant on this blog...

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  19. What a beautiful poem, made all the more beautiful when i learned of the legend.

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  20. He was her mirror,
    her face dotting his iris, a small parasite
    he carried everywhere.

    ..such a fabulous stanza, especially, "a small parasite/ he carried everywhere." Once again, you amaze in your ability to spin such
    a vivid, seamless tale in such a concise way~

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  21. Something very special here--I looked "Ceridwen" up before reading, because "I KNOW youse guys"

    How magnificent a line, when she 'curled' away home--loved it! And I could see his face embedded in her iris. Oh, well, I'm tripping over myself.
    PEACE!

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  22. The tale of Ceridwen may be where the saying of don't stir the pot came from. Though it worked out in the end for the poet still that was an awful lot of running from a sorceress. Once the legend is known this became a great accounting of it.

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  23. "He was her mirror,
    her face dotting his iris, a small parasite
    he carried everywhere."

    I find that delightfully creepy.

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  24. I loved this. It was quiet and calm, like the smoke...

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  25. Somehow I missed this one yesterday. Great re-telling of the myth. Lately, I'm surrounded by Welsh legends. My son and I just finished Jenny Nimmo's _Magician's Trilogy_. Fun stuff.

    My favorite images are corn field, the smoke, and the cauldron boiling over.

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  26. oooo I like it and the mystery that lingers just up the hill, in the smoke behind the calderon ( on the edge of the cliff...)

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  27. wonderful, vivid imagery with the flow gathering power until it explodes at the end ~

    "the child laughed in the dawn."

    LOVE this! ♥ dani

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