Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Song of the Old Wanderer

As long as men have been in this land, So have I been:
Walking shores and hill-sides green,
Coming and going my own mysterious way,
The way of winds, and drifting foam,
Of bird-wing and flickering flame;
I have been since the beginning,
And none know my true name.
Where men's hands have shaped stone and wood
Or heated bronze and iron, so have I been:
I have kept watch over house and henge,
And ships sweeping from wave to wave;
I have given names to arrangements of stars
And by making song, gave names to every age.

I am master of the first magic, of air
And river and stream; of field and frost,
Of sunlight and moon and tree;
The oldest of things holds me and speaks
The Land's ancient gramarye.
With Old Gwydion I made chargers of dew
And greyhounds of vanishing mist;
At the side of the lord of sorcerers
I shaped fungus into gilded shields.
I helped deceive Pryderi and won away fair Goewin;
I was by Math's side when the rod of power
Shaped Gwydion into swine and deer,
And I saw Bleiddwn rise, and Hydwn and Hychdwn the tall:
I was watching as Arianrhod gave birth.

I was there on the lake-shore
When little Gwion son of Gwreang was taken
Into the house of Cerridwen;
I endured the torment of her cauldron,
I felt the fear of the shifting chase,
I rejoiced with the radiant-brow in his birth,
And to this day, I taste the three deadly drops.
I saw nine living herbs become a woman
Whose beauty could not be matched,
And I saw Llew the golden fall at Gronw's throw;
I saw him take flight as an eagle,
And I saw fair Blodeuwedd become an owl.
I saw the noble company of chieftains ride
Against foes from distant lands,
And I saw the decline of every golden hall
As the new darkness spread across the earth.

I have seen waves rising and washing away rock,
I have seen forests spread and laugh and fall,
I have seen the sky ablaze with color,
I have seen the treasures of knowledge and wit
Collected from every time of man and woman
Finally stored in a house of glass.
I have married the fairest who sat at feast
In courts beneath the hills by many farms,
And faithful have I been to those ageless women.
The muse appointed to me by the turning castle
Has borne me through danger and whispered lore to me.

I have seen the Sons of Don fight under banners
And the darkness of the land dispelled;
I have seen lightning arch on water,
Gleaming swords tinted red to their hilts,
And ships cast broken upon the shores.
I have seen the lives and deaths of many people,
And watched their homes fade into the soil.
In all this time, I have had only the sea
And the stones of the hillsides to speak with me;
They are my memory, and shall last
Until the sky falls to the sea and the land burns.
And I, too, shall remain until that day.
And then?

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