Gelli Fach

Gelli Fach

I'm a cell, I'm fragmented, I change my form;
I'm a repository of song, I'm a dynamic state.
I love a wooded slope and a snug shelter,
and a creative poet who doesn't buy his advancement.

Wyf kell, wyf dellt, wyf datweirllet;
wyf llogell kerd, wyf lle ynnyet.
Karaf-y gorwyd a goreil clyt,
a bard a bryt ny pryn y ret.

From: Legendary Poems from the Book of Taliesin, edited and translated by Marged Haycock

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Callanish Haibun

The Callanish Stones: a haibun by Noragh Jones

On the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides an old woman tells me tales of the Callanish Stones dancing on Midsummer Eve. In the white nights of the far north the great circle of stone beings awakes and honours the ancestors entombed in these red moss bogs. As midnight nears, the giant stones shift and stir for one short night of celebration. Before dawn they are back in their ancient places, for on Midsummer Day they guide the rising sun down their stone road to light up the innermost heart of the stone circle.

watched by mild-eyed cows
the lurching stones
do their highland fling

* * *

A fine drizzle is falling. In the midsummer glow that is neither sunlight nor moonlight I enter the stone circle and walk around aimlessly, wondering where to take my place and wait for the witching hour. I watch myself keeping to the edge and avoiding the tall centre stone. Tribal memories of human sacrifice? In the end I prop myself against what I hope is an unassuming stone outside the main circle. I drink coffee from my Thermos flask. I take deep breaths and try to meditate, but the pull of the awakening stones is too strong. I look skywards. A lively south westerly has risen and is chasing the clouds across the darkened moon.

shifting shadows
stone beings hunkered
on the black bog

Five minutes to midnight. I feel the hairs on the back of my neck prickling. Soon I’m shivering all over. The stone ones don’t want me here on this night of all nights. And I don’t want to be here either. If I will myself to stay I’ll be a madwoman by dawn? Well, maybe only the hair turning white overnight? Who knows?

Fingers numb, I pack my rucksack and make for the road. My feet sink in the gripping bog. The wind tears at me, forcing me back with every step forward. The light that is neither day nor night deceives me. Are the stones really dancing there across the red moss? And what if I joined them? Teeth chattering, I drag my puny self away from the power of the circle, till I am more or less an ordinary human being again.

Such loss, such gain…

When I look back from the safety of the tarmac the familiar moor has already gone. And in its place?

reeling planets
the dancing stones
are juggling sun and moon

From Stone Circles: Haiku and Haiku Prose by Noragh Jones

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