Wednesday, 17 August 2011


She walks through the gateway into the forest.  Overhead the trees move, swaying to the caresse of the winds. She hears them whisper; talking softly to themselves of countless cycles of moon and stars.  Beneath, the ground is thick with green moss.  It spreads like a cloak, flung from the shoulders of dryads to fall in soft emeralds at her feet.  Here there is no time save that of the trees themselves, ancient and deep in their knowledge.  Each step takes her further from the hard bright human world, and into the embrace of the forest kin.  They call to her in day-dreams and sing to her at night:  

“Little sister, step lightly to us, we miss your shadow-dances. Join, once more, with us beneath the bough-halls of our realm”.

She longs to return to her kin, yet she was, this time, born in the thick human flesh of mortals, a mistake, a curse. No longer does the wave of her hand create light in the dark or the breath from her lips swell the winds among the hills.  Deeper into the hallowed halls of her kind she steps, searching, longing for a way to shed this skin of the hard, bright chrome world. 
Moonlight slants between branches, the air is sweet with the flowers scattered like blessings in the luminous pools where it falls. Placing a hand here, there, each trunk she passes holds the memories of a hundred years and more, moving with slow sap, keeping the secrets of this woodland world.  The feathered folk who dwell here call from the air, to their children who lie in their nests, lined with the hair of squirrel and soft rabbit. 
She raises her arms in the glade, eyes closing as she tilts back her head. With that smile on her face, she goes through the old steps. Slowly at first, for each time feels harder than the last as if learning the dance anew.  She plucks her long skirts where they trail the dark earth, and she dips and turns.  Here between the shade of the leaves and the moonbeams with their bright motes she dances.  Her hair streams out as she spins, laughing, whirling. Here is her communion. 

And soon between the arching giants, in glimpses of what might have been, she sees beyond the veil of human eyes, sees her kin. They are smiling shyly at her, softly, sadly, the sister they have lost. Yet wanting not to call her to them for fear of her bringing the mortal world too close they turn and slip away... sad in their ken that she is lost to them, but not for all time.
The colours and magick she weaves in her shadow-dance spin out, fine filaments, glitter and cobwebs between the trees, a weir between worlds. Her dances work a bridge between fae and mortal realms, sending love to her kin and their thoughts to her. Suddenly she stops, and falls, breathless, to the loam, she lies back and watches the branches criss-cross overhead, a frail and perfect lace against the velvet dark sky.  The smile stays on her lips, though, satisfied, replete.  She has felt her kin reach out and soothe her mind. She is not alone, never alone, and she is loved.

Daily Haiku

With the weather turning back to a sodden grey sky and the forest drenched, my inspiration seems to have waned... 

No sunshine today!
How empty is my mind’s eye
Devoid of bright things

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Annarr Hrafnsmál

Today I've been listening to Sigur Ros' fantastic Odin's Raven Magic soundscape/song cycle, recorded at the Barbican, London in 2002.  It's been inspiring my current retracing of Norse myth as has an old poem I learned in school, 'The Twa Corbies'.  I've been thinking long and hard about my frustrating issues I have in comprehensively and satisfactorily writing dialogue, so in this conversation I'm attempting to explore character voices and their differing cadences and patterns.  I've utilised my two favourite feathered friends (Huginn and Muninn) outside their usual mythological remit, but I hope they can intercede between the realms of Old Norse, Auld Scots and modern English. This is their Ravensong.

Corwen: I think I’m hungry again.
Bran: I can’t remember a time when you weren’t.
Corwen: Where shall we dine today, then?
Bran: What of the old man? He'll miss us.
Corwen: I think he’ll turn a blind eye. He’ll be anxious about me, but he’ll miss you more anyway...
Bran: As long as we bring him back something juicy...
Corwen: Like an eye?
Bran: No, you grotesque gargoyle, like some gossip.
Corwen: Oh. What, again? If he got off his backside and out of that chair...
Bran: He can’t what with all the trouble with the wife, of late.
Corwen: So, about lunch...
Bran: Hmmm, now, where’s good eating near here? Let me think...
Corwen: You’re no good at thinking...
Bran: I remember when you used to compliment me on my thinking.
Corwen: That was before you had a mind to do all the remembering...
Bran: Well then, do you recall that, um, ‘heated discussion’ betwixt those two chaps we overheard the other day?
Corwen: What, you mean the argument by the bank? The pretty boy and the bearded giant? Whee! That was a good’un, eh?
Bran: Well, it was more of a fight, but yes...
Corwen: I reckon it was that woman wot started it. I think she liked the big, bearded one more.
Bran: There’s no accounting for taste. Sad it didn’t end well for the blonde chap.
Corwen: His dog got in a few good bites, though.
Bran: Yes; shame his horse ran off. Scared by all the blood I expect.
Corwen: Bah, little bit o’ red like that?
Bran: That or all the sword-waving and shouting.
Corwen: Aye, so what of it?
Bran: Well, he’s still there, ain’t he? Behind the wall.
Corwen: Who?
Bran: Who? For Odin’s sake, you dolt! The blonde chap; the loser.
Corwen: What? He hung about all this time? Crying I expect, is he?
Bran: Not exactly. Perhaps I should say ‘beyond the veil’.
Corwen: Crikey! What, he’s... you know, dead?
Bran: No-one could survive a mace to the head like that, so yes - deceased, expired, nevermore. Off to meet the horn-helmed ladies...
Corwen: And he’s just laying there? All this time?
Bran: I expect so.
Corwen: All ripe and bloated and stuff?
Bran: Probably.
Corwen: Cor!
Bran: You know I reckon this’d qualify as news for the old man.
Corwen: You’d think so, wouldn’t you? It’d be wrong of us not to check it out then.
Bran: As long as you don’t make that awful popping sound when you peck his eyes out.
Corwen: I’m offended. It’s traditional. Do you think there’ll be brain?
Bran: Beardy certainly put a lot of swing into the blow; s’probably pretty messy up-top.
Corwen: Top-notch!
Bran: It is indeed...
Corwen: Well, what are we waiting for? Let’s go! I get his liver this time, remember?
Bran: I thought you’d say that.