Wednesday, 15 August 2012


 Hello lovely readers! Well here we are in mid-August and the rain's beating a tattoo on the roof of Old Moon Tower, so, undeterred by the weather, I thought I'd pay tribute to the great pagan festival that's just passed - Lammas, also known as Lughnasadh. 'Tis the time of harvest, of the cutting of the corn, of the plenty of summer.
by Brian Froud

Inspired by The Runes Of Elfland, a wonderful book by Ari Berk and Brian Froud, sometime ago I wrote a poem telling a tale of Lugh the Celtic god of light...


The son of the Sun went walking abroad,
Whilst his father rode high in the sky.
He strode to the gates of the city,
Where the king, it was feared, soon would die.

The king lay a-bed with a most grievous wound,
Dealt by invidious hand.
So the cityfolk gathered in vigil to pray for their king,
But as well for their land.

The priests and physicians had strove for his health,
But no easement or cure hence came.
Scant hope to be had then for king or for land,
As their fates are as one, and the same.

Those without the gates could ne'er to come into
The city by dread proclamation,
Lest they brought with them skills that could succour the king,
Or further his court's reputation.

Spear in fist, at the threshold, Sowelu he stood.
The Sun lit his mane like a blaze.
The guard 'pon the rampart called down to the youth,
With a snort and disparaging gaze.

"Profession?" he bellowed, all welcomes eschewed.
Of politeness and charm he had none.
He squinted his eye at the Sun in the sky.
Squinted down at the son of the Sun.

"A wood-wright am I," the young lord replied,
"Working boards with renowned skill & grace."
"We have one within." snapped the impudent guard,
With an unimpressed sneer on his face.
"I am also a smith." the lord claimed with a smile,
"A master of alloys & ores."
The guard said "
Our smith is famed wide & far,
With abilities finer than yours."

"My skill on the tourney field few can surpass.
A great bull of battle is me!"
"Sir, your words can be halted;
All our knights are exalted full-unto the power of three."

"You have not heard my lines," he said,
Clearing his throat, and deftly arranging his hair.
"O bother ye not!" cried the guard with a laugh.
"We have wag-tongues & poets to spare!"
"We have one."
"Teacher of lore?"
"Of tutors & libraries we've many."

"Ten priests could be conjured away & we'd have twenty more.
Don't need any."

"In a city so great," said Sowelu,
someone must fend for your king?
A warrior I, of miraculous feats,
And a long arm with spear and with sling."

"Our walls are well-watched, and our roads are most safe.
O how hollow the ring of your words!"

"Not more doctors!"
"Oh please!
Now away. Flap your lips at the birds."

"Good guard one more moment," Sowelu bawled up,
"Before writing me off as a dunce.
You have many skilled fellows within your high walls,
But I have all those skills at once."

With this final pronouncement, the guard he did pause,
From heel to heel shifted his weight.
"Wait here please!" he said to the son of the Sun,
And rushed with his news from the gate.

So it was that the youth was invited at last,
To proceed with due haste to the court.
He hefted his spear and he went to the hall,
To garner the honours he sought.

Sowelu was asked to perform then a task,
As he stood in the midst of the hall;
Could he lift up a flagstone the size of ten bulls,
Then fling it up over the wall?
A curious need.
But small work indeed for Sowelu, the son of the Sun.
He let the stone fly with a flick of his wrist,
And grinned at a good job well done.

"One more task my young lord." came a pain-haunted voice.
"Take up that harp there and sing.
Warble a song of such beauty,
As to cheer up a care-weary king."

Of all of his talents, harp and song were his best,
And he smiled as he started to play.
The king and the court, they cheered and they wept,
As their hearts were full-clean swept away.
The stars were a-rising. The song reached its end.
He basked in the king's smiling gaze.
"Come mighty lord! Come sit 'pon my throne,
And rule there for thirteen long days."

Sowelu accepted.
For two weeks less a day, his rule was dynamic & true.
Great folk of all manner, they flocked to his banner,
And his fame, through the wide world it flew.

He embarked 'pon a life of adventures and charms,
And many fair prizes he won.
At the last, when he died (some say before time),
He was laid 'neath the Hill of the Sun. 


 All illustrations copyright their respective owners

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