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Golden in the starlight, moon carved mountains and valleys, taut the skin, treacherous to the touch.  Heavy he is, glowing. He and his children. We carry them to the dark beneath the trees. Locate the secret, sacred place. Dig deep, bury him with the hoard.
We all know the place. Have measured it with footsteps. None will reveal it. Not under torture. Rather our lives than darkness eternal.
My mother limps beside me. Back-bent and broken. A crone in the moonlight. She’s been here before. Much too often. That’s how she bore me. Caught by the heathen. Captured and taken and twenty times taken.
Me, the blond son. Son of sea-raiders. Not black like my brothers. But never forsaken.
Head of the household, her man rejected her. Called for the Druids with mistletoe and magic, herbs and fragrance, scourging their medicine.
She would not drink them. Said she would keep me. Her biggest baby. Blond. To take vengeance.
Behind us, the villa in flames, there in the distance. Smoke rises heavenwards. Blots out the stars. “We should have fought,” my brothers say. “You would be dead,” my mother replies.
Brân, the white crow. King Arthur revenant. I fly the land, my brothers behind me. Black-haired, black-feathered. Strong as the crow flies. We travel at night. Fast now and furious.
My long bow penetrates. Shatters oak shields. Kills at a distance. None can withstand it. Daylight finds us grouped in the forest. Close to the place where the dragon lies buried. Close to my mother, the place where she sleeps.
Oh yes, they hunt us. But they don’t dare find us. Swift is their fate if they come close. Frightened they are, feared by the finding, wordless and dumb at the swift ending.

Comment: It’s an ill-wind, they say, blows nobody any good. So, ipso facto, some good must come from even the worst of things. Maybe, like Charles Dickens, I should write: ‘These were the worst of times, these were the best of times.’ The worst, because we have been under lock down, first voluntary, then involuntary, and now voluntary again, for 83 days. The worst, because we know that many people are dying and that many, many more are suffering. The worst, because we see some people, who think they are above the law, flouting the law and getting away with it while putting other innocent people at risk. The best, because we have seen extraordinary sacrifices made by the humblest people, many of whom, shop clerks, garbage collectors, street cleaners, bus drivers, taxi drivers, nurses, care-workers, house cleaners, were seen, if they were seen at all, as cheap labor to be exploited. However, thanks to CV, we now see them for what they are: the keys to making our lives and our economies function. The best, because where precautions have been taken the death toll has dropped and so have the infections. The best, because once again, we are free to move around so much more. However, many of us, after so long, no longer want to.

For me, safely distanced among the trees in my ivory tower, these have also been the best of times. I have made many new friends online. I have restructured the ordering of my acquaintances. I have gone into my computer files and found things that I cannot even remember having written. One such is Brân, the white crow, who is said to be King Arthur, still alive, and flying everywhere, ready to protect his from the evils that beset them. I do not know when I wrote this piece. Nor do I remember where the ideas came from. In what secret fold of the mind were they born? I do not know. But I do know that I have seventeen manuscripts, many of them rediscovered during this Dickensian ‘best of times / worst of times’, and all of them awaiting publication. This one is from a 67 page manuscript called A Cambrian Chronicle. 67 pages … and I don’t remember writing any of them.

11 thoughts on “Brân

  1. Brand. Lovely. It was always easy for me to lose myself in Arthurian legend, or post-Sarum English times. Well done, Chuck

    On Thu., May 28, 2020, 10:58 a.m. rogermoorepoet, wrote:

    > rogermoorepoet posted: ” Brân Golden in the starlight, moon carved > mountains and valleys, taut the skin, treacherous to the touch. Heavy he > is, glowing. He and his children. We carry them to the dark beneath the > trees. Locate the secret, sacred place. Dig deep, bury him with ” >

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have also found poems I don’t remember writing. What does that mean? If I adjust it now do I plagiarize? If I wrote a poem on the same theme now, from scratch, would it be anything like the forgotten poem. I like Bran, thinking it points out how, black or white or tan, we are all connected.

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    • On a more serious note, you raise some very serious philosophical questions, Jane. In my case, I usually leave the old poems as they are since they express a ‘former state of mind’ that I wished to preserve. Antono Machado and T. S. Eliot have both written about this and Eliot talks about ‘a thing I no longer wish to say written in a way I no longer wish to write it’. That said, some poms can be updated as they express something that still needs saying, in a slightly different way and in a slightly different set of circumstances. Here the revisions often improve the poem as we have, over the years, sharpened our insights. With the volume of writing that you and I do, we would need photographic memories to remember every little thing. And I certainly cannot do that. So, some of the surprises are pleasant and some are not so pleasant. The big thing is that we now know how to differentiate. In our earlier careers, we probably didn’t! I hope that makes sense!


      • Yes, I can see definite improvements in my writing and style over the years. On the other hand, I once had a spacing and indenting thing going with my poetry, something I can no longer express or capture!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I think that often happens when we mingle poetry and prose. The sentence and line divisions become more prosaic and it is harder to think in ‘pure metaphor’ rather than ‘logical thought’. Alas: as we age, we start to realize just how much we cannot capture. Luckily, we also realize some of the implications of what we have seized when we actually get it right.

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