Thursday 12 December 2013

The Giant Albion's Nightmare

The Giant Albion:
Nose, chin, brow, craggy features face the great Atlantic
Back arched north to south, strong as mountains, green as April
His round belly a patchwork of heaths & fields, moors & marshes
Limbs great limbs of old stone drawn forth from the ocean's floor
Ancient, wise
No little mad;
He’ll test your senses, your sense of humour.

His eyes; lakes, pools reflect all light
Sun stars & moon
Meteors & rainbows
Becks & burns, streams & brooks his blood system
His muscles, glacial clay
His organs whole families of hills
His folded potent skin
Scarred & healed, scarred & healed,
Raddled gnarly with life!
& all form!
All existences imagined virid green as his energetic song signature.

Mystery forests are his crown, his beard his great hairy back
The small hairs on his arms & belly soft pastures
Of wild grasses & bread fields
All filled with movement, song & diversity of form;
Legged non legged many legged winged burrowing
Those that swim, those that crawl,
Those that dance in the morning, those who only awaken at night;
His countless children, the inhabitants of the circle of Britannia.

But forth comes Beelzebub
The horizon demon, the lover of straight lines
Who forged cruel wheels within his own heart
To strengthen the grip of his iron razor-thorn hands
A man of metal risen from the steaming deep
Where the mare-of-night suckles her brood on shale gas,
Where blind things feed upon one another until they explode.
He's heavy with the lead weight tyranny of his fears
Moaning, groaning, keening, roaring to control everything
Father of the horde who see only with their fingers;
Takers, tinkerers, the maniac engineers of reality
Who worship only gravity.

Forth comes Beelzebub, spewing reinforced concrete
Draught excluders, light excluders
Hazing sweet chemical perfumes to hide the plastic stink of the decay beneath
His company mountainous, rolling juggernauts of metal,
Robot armies of the machine
Who gather in the shadow of factory towers
Bellowing heat to bake & burn.

Forth comes Beelzebub clad in the armour of self righteousness
Deals a body blow to the Giant Albion;
Winds his limbs in chains of smoking steel
Stuns him with meaningless words of clever power
Opens a mouth like a mile wide cauldron
To swallow bright waters into a world of culverts, tanks & drains.
His machine shovel hands rake messy, tangled nature into tiny reservations
His designers take the ruler, the set square, the pixel grid to the axis of life
Feast fattening the parasites, too stupid to see the slaughter houses
Lined up on rails jetting hungry steam, sharpening blades.

But the Giant Albion is crazy wise
Great tears of oily rain he cries
& shakes with pain, longs for release
But knows that this will never cease
Unless he understands it.

& the Giant Albion is crazy wise
He sees the fear in his enemy’s eyes
& gently tests the power there
While in the forests of his hair
Birds still serenade the sun.

The Giant Albion is crazy wise
Not a single bird can fall or rise
Hatch or die that he does not know
He sees wherever they come & go
& loves them.

& the Giant Albion is crazy wise
& all his children of any size
Who number millions throughout the land
Can also come to understand
A deeper power rules.

Crazy wise Giant Albion & all his children raise up their voices & sing
& when they go to sleep they go to sleep & dream sweet
& when they wake up they wake up & raise up their voices & sing again
They sing together the song of ancient life,
That never had a beginning, nor can it end
They sing together the song of ancient life,
That love has always woven in our blood
From oceans long ago in the heart wood of giant trees
A state of innocence denied to no living thing
That all may know & celebrate, but soon forget
When they become afraid of fear or are hurt by pain.

It is only thought that drives the wheel of Beelzebub's
Iron cold heart of teeth upon teeth of endless revolution
A single spark ignites the inevitable fuel leak
& the Master of the World is just a black cloud on the horizon that hid the sun for a moment
The Ruler of the Regulations is caught out by his own cleverness, he lacked craft
The Lord of Limitations reduced to a distant smear upon a vast & stainless sky of sea
Not a monster, nor a demon but a memory
Of how things once were, & a warning of how they could become.

The Giant Albion shakes off his chains & shouts thunder storms & dawn choruses of joy
His healing is in every step, his peace in every moment
His lake pond puddle eyes reflect the endlessness of space
His rocky highland shores make a smile upon his face
His hairy tummy had a good harvest of oats, wheat, barley & rye
His beard is inhabited by beavers.

The Giant Albion has forests for hair & he is crazy wise
His children share his appetite for the ridiculous & the sublime
We sing & dance in merry glades & await the sun to rise
& everyone who lives & moves, can learn the song, keep the time.

Sometimes we circle from right to left, heart to heart & hand in hand
To follow the sun & the seasons in their play
Sometimes we circle from left to right a spiral across the land
To place our feet on the ancient track, a hidden, hollow way.

The Giant Albion has forests for hair & he is crazy wise
His children share his appetite for the ridiculous & the sublime
We raise our voices together in a multitude of cries
Nature is a our rhythm & nature is our rhyme.

He’s our father & our brother, granddad, neighbour
Always been there & he'll never go away
So let’s honour old Albion in our love & our labour
Get out of the house, away from walls & await the coming day.

Saturday 14 September 2013

Horn Dance 2013

We awaken to Autumn’s fog
low light, dripping trees,
quiet roads through rolling land
September morning.

In the North, far hills
slowly emerge
from cloud-hidden sleeps
& something stirs.

Something stirs that can only stir
as Summer ends
robins begin to sing;
quietly, almost to themselves, they mark the change.

Starlings make their Winter-chatter
in the pylon, while on the wire
swallows, restless,
gossip of Africa, stretch their wings.

We gather in St. Nicholas’;
horn-home; low & dark among the trees
tangled tine-tips just visible in a row
laid at the vicar’s feet for blessing.

The antler-roots of the kin-tree
that weave & bob that ancient dance
that ties us together, dancers & faithful followers
as if our breath were synchronised.

As if we’d always walked these roads,
& as if we were meant to be here
by some greater design;
summoned by the sun’s steepening climb.

Summoned by berries & bird-song;
leaves turning pale on the trees’ faces,
giant bales on lorries’ backs,
kids in new school uniforms.

Rising to greet the sunlit window,
with a thousand years of limb-strength
six men shoulder their yearly burden
of village luck.

Of land-luck
born on the back
of road-revolving horns;
the tourney horse, the archer, the maid, the fool.

Down the little lane
the day’s dancing lies ahead of us now,
first song notes
near the whirligig green.

The heart opens;
this must be said!
there is a blessing smile
on everyone’s faces.

Sun will come & cakes & ale
the community of follower-friends
& dancers make their way
all round the houses.

Today we will flee dark clouds
of roaring, bubbling rain
into pub rooms
back gardens, bus stops, sheds.

& Abbots Bromley
will be full;
we’ll line the streets
with our hurrahs.

But for now, as the dancers pass
through morning lanes;
in the rain soaked hedge,
all the leaves are listening.

Wednesday 22 May 2013

Coventry's Nightblue Fruit

An excellent video of Coventry's Nightblue Fruit Poets performing in Playwrights Cafe in May 2013. My performances start at 16:48 but all the poets are outstanding, watch it all.

Tuesday 30 April 2013


Watch a video of my reading this poem at Earlsdon May Festival Poetry Night in Kendall's Delicatessen here

Thursday 18 April 2013

World Drum at Cae Mabon

Flesh & bone, earth & stone
Blood water, the flood curd
Time's airs proven rhythm voice
World-Drum at Cae Mabon.

Our story threads all drawn in
By the brown skin shuttle
Of marbled hide
The string, the frame, the voice vein;

The flight case
For flying in,
The branch of a tree
For beating onto it.

Smoke-woman, crouched & croaking
Makes the song gift,
An ageless grandmother circle
Held in her reindeer stomach,

Belches greeting, winds greet river
To roar & wave;
Dance with shadows
Of underworld strength.

World awakening, awoken
To the black bone tree stem
In the time chamber
Where I played my pipe & cried.

Bryn Celli Ddu, green with ancient life force
Where the ancestral faces look out at us,
I saw them catch the light,
One said: "We will die

"But they will not forget us,
"Listen!" She said,
"You can hear them singing
In the future,

"This place of remembrance
Holds the dark circle,
It will be a sacred place
Until the end of the world."

"Listen!" She said,
"You can hear them drumming
For the future
Of the Earth, wind-wide."

The hearts in the ring are still singing.
Hand to hand,
The spiral dance cannot
Be defeated by words.

The World Drum is a deer hide drum from Norway, which travels all over the world taking part in ceremonies & public events for peace & earth healing.

Find out more here:  or visit the Facebook page, which has up to date information.

Thursday 21 March 2013

The Journey to Merely Clear

Primal urgification rocks & roars @ 21 beats per line, lines in groups of three to shake the pole to drink the wind to harvest thunder before the end of the movie & shout.

A hundred hand waves lining streets to point at the sky to jab at clouds to groove with the picts & snack on paintings, shake weapons of creation hurl balls of bosonic stretch mark through windows of war illusion.

Dancing & stamping & blowing through tubes shooting coloured streamers into the drains, eating rain soaked loaves of disbelief & fainting in shock when we discovered that we were all actually pooing out rainbows.

Having seen how secular trust
Is based on illusion;
Humans have always thrown their rubbish
Over the wall
& kept an eye out
For opportune-vulnerability;
Having seen how
Our efforts to
Be virtuous lack good roots
We decided to leave you;
To make a journey
To Merely Clear.
We are not young
We are not old
We need not succeed
We cannot fail
We looked you in the eye
& we smiled
To see
How afraid you are
That such things
Might be
& that asking the question
Could set us free.

Merely Clear means that no-one saw it but a vista of radiant possibility came out to sense's infinite system, the wide open door, the toppled prison wall, the road ahead confounding all doubt.

Merely Clear means finding freedom, no safe havens, love songs, medals, epaulettes, or badges, no privacy, no property, no privilege, no petrol to throw on the fire to light the map-cobble of maze strength's illusion.

No-one knows where to find it but sick of sitting in your interview room, our songs & rooftop shouts, our secret dancing cascade of drum beat commitment has raised your roof scattering tile-flashed lies all on the ground.

Library letters
Clatter chatter of
Black monkey marks
Scratched tallies
Of wisdom
& folly
The five thousand year burden
Of orthodoxy & belief
Apocalyptically set free as
The energy that dances within-hidden
& its bright & empty Nature
All present & correct.
Name's delusions
Weight-righted name
Written on the surface
Of a mountain stream
Lope-looped over the
High mossed heath
Singing sand-light over the page
Of ancient powers
To name, be named
Escape naming,
To be un-nameable
As if that were important.

Fossil root young green spark of bird cry-out the thorn bush, dandelion swing & sway-wind drove us over league tables of century sutra the lists the lists the lists, the lusts the lusts the lusts,  lust for results.

Old song sounds fresh yet, the Invincible Three shine forth over the pistil-seat, word pistol shot to head of the matter of day-night Winter light Summer dim assembly point for confusion-time karma, matter came second place in the face-race.

No kind of self consciousness congratulation fed the potency of day-stars' tornado track out back in the channel some kind of pink luminous circulation of events & meanings lost to the rag-tattered vagrancy of non-news from telescope city's fever dream tapestry.

We went everywhere
Seeking to hold
The hidden hand
But the hand cannot hold itself
Fist grab fails to hold
No-one has wings
There must be some other kind
Of way out
Out of the
Dining car
Of the Trans-Samsaric Express.
Light ray shout
At black mountains
Prehistoric trumpet chorus
Dorje Chang
The sixth of five
Justified Presence
Merely Clear
Floats above us
But does not
Can not darken the sky
Transparent as a rainbow
Sun blaze eye.

Dorje Chang
Merely Clear is a not place-person but a way of being simple gesture made with the mind a song the heart sings a last sigh a shout of shock a blood-bond illumination of timeless ineffable necessity when everything & nothing reach their climax together.

Space-blue, bell ringing, big as Cardiff Cathedral, big as Bodhanath Stupa, mountain big feather light lotus seat at about twenty feet, head a hundred a thousand a million a storm cloud filled with lightning in the state of Great Perfection.

Some people saw a mother ship, some a figure from an early medieval soap-opera, some saw their father their mother a queen or a king or a celestial rock star finally ejaculating the ultimate riff into the womb of space-time where we all imagined we existed as apes.

In the Pure Land
The love of
All existences
Is made plain
In every moment
As heritage innocence
The first & simplest
Made clear
Merely laughs
So gentle.
The rucksack
Was set down
Wind & river floods took it
He remained naked
On a Welsh hillside
For five hundred years
No-one could see
Or hear him
Because they
Went back

Thursday 7 March 2013

The Art of Conversation with the Genius Loci

Good news! The revised second edition of The Art of Conversation with the Genius Loci is now available from Capall Bann Publications price £13.95.

I have corrected some errors & edited some of the chapters, appendices & contact information. I have also added a new foreword entitled Ten Years On. Thanks to Jon & Julia for supporting my work!

See the page link above for more information. 

NB Capall Bann say that overseas customers can also order the book from their web page.

Remember that as of today, 7th March, the new edition is hot from the printers - you'll get the old, first edition, even a second hand one elsewhere.

Wednesday 27 February 2013

The Ringses.

The Sung Version, 2009.

The curve of the path
The light on the hillside
The pines upon the ridge against the sky
The rush of wind & the sound that they make
The breath in his body as he climbs.

His song in the air
His hope, his fear
His muscles working hard at the hill
His memory of having been here before
Childhood like a flavour.

Sunlight, early in the morning,
Daily miracle of millenia
Blesses his passing
To the wide open hilltop
With moor scent sweet upon the wind

The view is as vast as his intention
To recognise that ancient mind
To reveal that world of adventure
& if you're open to the mystery
You never know what you'll find

Hills that are gathered like shadows
Laid hard & grey against the sky
Rounded by unthinkable time
Speak of a depth which we do not remember
Hills are Relatives.

Fell Sandstone
Ruin of ancient mountains
Bare flat platforms of stone
& back there in the prehistoric solar mangrove
Someone's playing a trumpet on the river bank.

So he comes all the way up from there
Through a thousand forests
Some revisited underground
Over fossilized ripples in the sand
Revealed by a later generation of waves.

Up through the old pine woods
That lead from the seacliffs to the hills
On paths beneath gorse & buckthorn
& winter bird swarms coiling
Like smoke in the sky.

He can hear the ancestors sing the songs of life
Living presence within the land
We dream of them
& they dream of us, we say:
They have their ways, live closer to the Root.

They are leaving ghostly finger marks
Visionary ripples, rings & cups
They slowly pecked out the forms
Of the mystery
Waiting to be revealed.

Circles & spirals of song
Like fruit on the branches of a tree
Constellations of pits
Covered by lichens & leaves
Messages from so long ago.

His own fingers have found them
& his wonder is a deep stone well
He need no explanation
Of their art, for it is art:
Maybe the highest of all.

The Ringses.
Perfection in a moment of knowing
The oneness of the ancient & the young,
The immanence of the wave that carries us all along
Patterns: a stone, a hill, a tree, a human hand.

A version of this poem can be found in my book, The Art of Conversation with the Genius Loci .  

Capall Bann Publications   tell me that the new revised edition will be ready by next week.

Other news! You may also be interested to know that my long poem Buddha of the Carboniferous,  has been sent to the printers this week.

Tuesday 19 February 2013

The Power of the Elements is Ageless.

photos by anne patterson

You're a
Ragged ogre
Jagged dark
A blade-crumb
Ash-flechette blanket,
Stream & rain dissected,
Bathed in fume,
Rearing troll-dark
From the bank
Huffing steam
Like a lung engine.

You're a
Lonely pillar,
Of the black strand,
Basalt columns
Hand cut by the
Frosty sea giant
With his wave-cleaver,
Home to the company
Of fulmariners.

You're the
Of merging
& separation,
Voice rainbow
Of the cliff division,
Blessing of
Primal waters,
Milk of the earth-cow,
Of the thunderer.

You are a
Of earth-force
Leaping forth
Into sunlit
Air of day,
Of the deep
& ancient world,
Birthed out
As an infant ray.

You're the
Green chorus,
Sun-mother's veil
Of mountainside shout,
The flicker feast
Of the flux line,
Luminous eminence,
Light pillar,
Pointing down at us.
Iceland 2013

Wednesday 6 February 2013

Welcome Home!

Original photo by Rainbow

Welcome Home! The gate-keeper says
To Druid-Town, to the bender ring
Where the mad, the awesome & the beautiful,
The feral children of Albion's rocky shore
Share their blood music & ancient lore;
Their stories & wisdom, their skills & their strength
Their tears & their cups of tea.

So here we stand, a druid tribe
In song-wave ringing, heart to hand
Face-light caught by the season's ray
Eye story life lines,
Warp & weft of Awen's mandala,
We come from all over the wondrous world,
Come in through the oak-leaf door.

The ash-bottle archive testifies
To the Dance of Life, to the hug circle,
To Earth's Blessing, to every kind of weather;
Countless small acts of kindness & love,
Rhythm of songs, pregnancy of silence,
Ritual power as we face the Mystery;
The Mystery of magic & of mirth.

The green & pleasant root-mother
Feeds & waters the family at her table
Ancestral hills, ancestral wood,
Ancestral presence in everything,
Ancestral dream-field; the ancestral word
Which we dare to utter so melodiously
Beneath the ancestral sky.

The druids of the ancient world
Who sang to bone & star, to stone & sun
Met beneath leaves to whisper triads there
Merged their blessings into Britain's Land
May they bless protect & guide us in the visioning of their art
To hold & be held, a sacred guardianship;
The love of all existences!

Original photo by Laura Cooper.

This was written during OBOD's Imbolc Camp 2013; now known as White Horse Camps at a session dedicated to the discussion of archives & photographs & the sharing of stories from the history of camp so far.

Friday 25 January 2013

Genius Loci Book on Facebook

I've made a page for The Art of Conversation on Facebook. Since hearing that Capall Bann are going to print the updated version I am feeling enthusiastic! I also realised that some of my friends, co-workers, tribe  & all haven't heard about it or read it.

What is interesting are the old friends who are being so supportive. Thanks folks!

When I wrote it, two forces combined to make it happen.

First of all, at the Treespirit Moot in 1990 we did a number of informal self organised workshops. Someone requested one about working with nature spirits. It was well attended & ended up being a fascinating experience. Two of us present, myself & Leslie from Leicester, had put in a lot of personal practice but most people didn't even know how to start. (The answer is of course, to walk out of your front door!) Originally Treespirit were going to compile an anthology of writings, the booklet would have been my contribution, but I was the only one who bothered.

This brings me to the second factor. Then, as now the Pagan scene was pretty well dominated by ritual magicians of various kinds & mythographers poring over fragments of medieval literature, folk tales & the encyclopedic if flawed musings of Edwardian writers like James Frazer. Not to mention Graves, Campbell et al. I was getting bored with this. It seemed to be so self-referential, based on dodgy scholarship & overly romanticised.

My booklet was a conscious attempt to subvert the dominance of old fashioned ritual magic (Pagans starting their rituals with banishments in Hebrew?) & over excited amateur intellectualism. I worked with folks from London Wildlife Trust doing urban conservation projects. I found myself thinking: "Some of these guys are more Pagan than the Pagans. What is going on?" the world has changed since then, of course. It might be hard for younger members of our community, to imagine that this is true. Maybe I could be accused of the wisdom of hindsight, but it's true.

What my friends & I did back then, "Get out in the woods & bang your drum," was somewhat looked down upon by many of the old guard. We called it "Shamanic" at the time, but that word soon lost its meaning as herds of New Age professionals started using the term to mean anything vaguely ethnic or earthy, involving percussion or Native American bits.

You know, I feel the same today, even more strongly! This has lead me to drift away from the general Pagan scene. This tendency has also been empowered & encouraged by the writing, speaking & company of the very wonderful Professor Ronald Hutton. It is clear that there are those who feel that once he scents blood, Ronald is a compulsive debunker & that he is trying to pull the carpet away. I feel that this is unfair. Our actual history is more wonderful, more mysterious & yes, more empowering than a Yeats, Tolkien or Zimmer-Bradley dream loosely based on a manuscript from the 12th century. Even though they are inspiring, wonderful writers.

So let's all walk out from our front door. Walk down the street. Explore. Find local places which fascinate us. Places of power. Places where we can feel something. The land is speaking, singing, calling to us. Are we listening?

Wednesday 23 January 2013

Yet, again looking for a free customisable blog

Looking for a platform that I can customise & use with my existing URL. I'm on Blogger now. It used to be Blogspot. It's now owned by Google. Hmm. So far it has proved quite easy to customise. It's looking pretty much the way that I want it to. Wondering about small print concerning copyright etc.

Some of our Services allow you to submit content. You retain ownership of any intellectual property rights that you hold in that content. In short, what belongs to you stays yours.
Ok. Sounds good.

When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content.

You feckin' whaaat?Well opinions are divided on this issue. Some say, "Yeah this is Google giving itself carte blanche to do what it wants with your content (or any files you upload to their cloud, too) forever." Others are more sanguine & point out that most of this is  probably necessary to provide the service. So...

I must say that this was quick & easy to set up & to customise. I might give it a go. Maybe it's time to move away from paying for web hosting services of which I use only a small fraction to the more dynamic, interactive & contemporary feel of a blog.