Category Archives: Stuart France and Sue Vincent

Gate to the Land of Youth II…

*

… Within the walls of the white-washed house Fin, and his Merry-Men, found an old man lying bent on the edge of the hearth with a sheep tied to the wall alongside.

They sat at table and the old man raised his head and acknowledged them.

‘Little enough chance of sating our thirst and hunger in this hovel,’ thought Dermot.

Just then the old man called loudly for food and drink, and up from the floor below came a strapping young lass who wasted no time in setting the table with a feast fit for kings.

But no sooner had Fin and his Merry-Men put fork to food than the sheep which was tied to the wall broke its hempen rope and rushed toward the table sending the food and drink to the floor.

“By the Gods!” cried Conan, “look at the mess you have made of our supper, and we so badly in need of it.”

“Get up and tie the sheep, Conan,” said Fin.

So, Conan got up and, grabbing the sheep by the scruff of the neck, attempted to drag it back towards the wall.

Try as he might he was unable to do so.

“What’s this,” laughed Dermot along with all the other men, “Conan, the great warrior, defeated by a sheep.”

“I am more than happy to stand aside and let a better man have a go,” growled Conan.

“Get up and tie the sheep, Dermot,” said Fin.

So, up got Dermot and he too tried to drag the sheep to the wall but was unable.

Each of Fin’s men in turn attempted the task and failed until, eventually, Fin himself was forced to stand and tie the sheep but all to no avail.

That sheep was not for budging…

To be continued.

*

Gate to the Land of Youth…

*

Fin and his Merry-Men were hunting atop a hill.

All day they were there yet caught no glimpse of game.

As evening drew in, Fin spoke, “let’s turn for home, boys, there is naught for us on this dismal hill,” he said, “’twill be late when we get there and a hunger and thirst will be on us.”

“A hunger and thirst on us, already,” said Conan, and spat into the ground.

*

So Fin and his Merry-Men turned and set off down the hill-side.

Before long a Black Fog fell and they lost their way.

“No good ever came from a fog of this sort,” said Fin resignedly, “we’re out for the night now, boys, and no mistake!”

As the Merry-Men set too, assessing their predicament, Dermot spied a white-washed house in the gloom.

Whichever way he turned the house still loomed.

“This way for a home-stead,” cried Dermot, “maybe we’ll find food and drink this dreary night after all.”

So Fin and his Merry-Men followed Dermot to the white-washed house…

To be continued.

*

Old Stones…

*

Built by the sea

But not of the sea

These enclosing walls…

*

It is a ‘Celtic’ thing

The Spirit tied-to-tide

And it is still understood

By today’s Old Bones…

*

There they sit

Lining the sea-front

Huddled together

Under-sun

Within ear-shot

Of the waves

Which lap the shore

And withdraw

On the out-breath

In ceaseless rhythm

Which hints at beyond…

*

Built by the sea

But not of the sea

These enclosing walls.

*

Siesta…

rs-587*

Sweating hours.

Quiescence lies like a crime.

*

The crack of dry twigs underfoot…

startles!

A tumultuous green-flash

of thumping rampage.

Dog legs.

Baboon haunches.

A luminous ankh arrows away.

A way out to tree-stump.

To crook torso and tail.

And splay dripping

limbs akimbo.

*

A panting swastika

pulses suspended.

*

Mimicking leaf.

Balanced in bark.

Night  flecked.

*

Slowly stretching…

it twists

an ancient neck

to glare.

*

Eon empty eyes

Blink in

the sun.

Flames of the Fire-Drake…

flame3*

“All the elements can be used to ‘scry’,” smiled the instructor, “but fire is the most difficult because the flames flicker so quickly. To get you started we’ve freeze-framed a fire to give your vision the chance to keep up. Anybody want a go?” …

…”Don’t be shy, there’s no wrong or right with this science.”

“The central figure is St George,” said a reedy drawl from the back of the classroom, “he faces down a dragon which rears before him… Behind him another dragon waits to rear should he overcome the first…”

“Good! What happens to St George?”

“He burns.”

*

 

Bent-Black-Sun-Day…

 

*

“There is one thing that still troubles me,” said Wen who really seemed to have the ‘Rapunzel’ thing stuck in her craw.

“Yaas,” said Don, in his most irritating drawl.

“Shouldn’t the seasons be sisters?”

“On what grounds?”

“Well, I’m presuming that Mother Nature is an Enchantress precisely because of things like her ability to transform the world through her seasons.”

“This is true, Little Grub,” said Don with the kind of tired air which suggested he would not be around for very much longer, “but the seasons are really contrived in so far as they are useful for sustaining our life through crops. Agriculture is a technology. A very ancient technology but a technology nonetheless. In that sense the seasons are man made.”

“And that’s why we can have the debate over whether or not there are really three or four seasons,” said Wen.

“Or even two. In the four season year there are really only two pivotal points and their inverse or reflection.

Wen considered this idea for a bit and then pressed on with her original line of thought, “so the brothers are really alchemists?”

“The first alchemists, adding their art to nature, I like that, Little Grub, can I go to sleep now?”

“Only if you give me something to ponder while you’re gone.”

“You seem to be doing rather well in your pondering without me.”

“But it’s not the same.”

“Why, oh why, my Little Grub, would the day of the king’s death be now known to us as Bent-Black-Sun-Day?”

*

A short time later Don re-entered the temple room somewhat bleary-eyed.

“Better?” asked Wen doing a poor job of camouflaging her excitement.

“You have been grubbing,” stated Don by way of an answer.

“The bent twig of darkness grows the petals of the morning and shows to them the birds singing just behind the dawning.”

“Ah, Little Grub, ’tis music to my ears.”

*

Mountains White as Clouds…

rs-185*

… “As I see it,” continues Wen, “we have two possible identities for an Old Woman who tends a Herb Garden and can be described as an Enchantress, or an Ogress…”

“Only two?”

“She is either Mother Earth or she is Mother Nature.”

“The first is very old and the other is much, much older than the first.”

“The different versions may even be emphasising different roles.”

“Basile’s Ogre would be Mother Earth.”

“The Grimms’ Enchantress would be Mother Nature.”

“Or, we may be able to argue for a combination of both the roles in one character?”

“That’s what’s been bothering me so much,” says Wen, “I can’t help feeling there ought to be a third Mother.”

“Which would be Petrosinella or Rapunzel.”

“No names, you said.”

“Ah, so I did…”

“Perversely, I almost feel like the third role should be Mother Sun.”

“Why?”

“Because the Herb Child has sun rays for hair.”

“And the Prince would be?”

“The Prince would be Father Moon.

In the Grimm tale he visits at night and has his blindness banished by the Sun’s tears.” …

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