(from The Dream of Macsen Wledig)
Bridge Maker, hear my song.
Fly to me along the Dream-Paths.
Air – hot – wet. The man sucks in dampness, lungs screaming.
The hart springs away again, defying gravity.
‘Aagh!’ he cries and stumbles in pursuit.
Upwards, always upwards. His men follow lamely.
Air – hot – wet. The waterfall laughs, tumbling over his head.
Through the rainbow the man visions the hart,
Standing now upon the rock, waiting.
Upwards, always upwards. His men lag behind him.
Air – hot – wet. The great tree stands alone in the cleft
Like a dragon’s claw tearing through the rocks.
The hart is gone, laughing, his job done.
The man tumbles to the floor
Curls in leaf-mould, a hedgehog sleeping.
His men come, raise his shield above their sleeping king
Perched on spear-points, a drunken cromlech.
Asclepios’ temple for Sovereignty’s dreams.
Faster now and faster he flies,
Skimming mountain tops, breathing cloud-breath,
He swoops down green valleys limned with oak and pine.
Bears call him from within the groves.
Salmon leap beneath him in the silver rivers.
Wolves howl to him from icy tops.
Hare points the moon-path before him.
Sun rims the world in light.
A grove of spear points transforms before his eyes
Becomes a ship, masts reaching for the skies.
Upon the silvery water.
Standing on firm ground the man finds his feet.
The ivory bridge shimmers in the sun,
A prism to the light.
It beckons, he crosses to the waiting ship
Upon a solid rainbow.
His feet touch and the ship beneath him shivers.
Wind breathes the sails,
Waves push him outwards into the empty sea.
The man, waits, watching.
Blue and silver mountains rise before him.
The ship gamely climbs the waves,
Stands a moment at the crest,
Rushes downwards into the green-cleft water.
A cloud, a dragon’s claw, scratches the sea-beast’s hide.
Days, moments, aeons and a shadow shows itself at the edge of the world.
Closer now and closer, the shadow darkens,
Takes on form, shows itself a shining monster whiteness.
A mountain rises, shakes his shaggy head above the sea.
Westering sun dazzles on the brightness.
Peering with darkened vision through the light
The man sees towers reaching upwards,
Sunlight points pinnacles on castle roof.
Sliding gracefully beside the quay the ship stops, rocking gently.
A white bridge calls him out from off the ship,
He comes to land on black earth.
A red carpet leads him forward.
Oak doors part before him.
Gold glimmers in the darkness of the hall.
Two boys play Gwyddbwyll,
The game of the Land,
Golden pieces passing hand to hand.
And further in the old man sits alone.
Gold before him, tools in hand,
Carving men to walk the Land.
And deeper still She sits all alone,
The Lady of the Land upon a golden throne
Waiting, watching, weaving, pulling threads.
Her fish is landed, Salmon coming home.
He walks into her open, outstretched arms,
Receives three kisses, wishes, wonders,
Lifts his eyes to heaven and sees the Earth.
‘You will go home now, Macsen, love,’ she says.
‘Send out your men, you will not find me,
Without you go back home.
Home is the place of your dreaming, Macsen,
A year and a day will come and go.
And when due time has passed why then,
You’ll find me. Come again. Come home.’
Light fractured, split the world,
And all fell in upon him,
Shield and spears tumbled all amok.
His men drag him out from under,
Pull him from the broken cromlech,
‘I had a dream!’ he cried.
Wise men came, advising,
He followed their good words
And nothing found, nothing gained.
Then one day he went back to the place,
The place of dragon’s claw and
Standing where the gods had stamped their mark
The vision came again. He saw the way.
Following her threads, he comes home,
Stands before her on the bottom step,
Then climbing up and up
He walks into her outstretched, open arms.
She gifts him kisses three.
The old man leads the way up to the bed.
‘Take her well’ he said.
With rising sun she asks him,
‘Give to me, the cowyll,
Give me the morning gift.
Land for Eudaf, father. And for me
Three towers, castles, strongholds would I see.
One here at Caer Seint for the hearth and home,
One at Caerleon for the lion son.
And one for he who brings the king to come,
At Myrddin’s mountain build me tower strong.
He builds the towers strong to hold the Land.
She weaves the ways between them, spinning song
And dream, to make the ways,
Weaving threads throughout the Land.
Pathways falling from her gentle hand.
A hundred times the moon shone down on them
And then there came the call.
‘Another has thy throne and holds thy land,’ they told him,
‘Coming from the city, once your own.’
‘My brothers have the means’ she tells him.
‘Go with them and lead the Silver Hosts.’
He saw her eyes bright for his future.
She watched him go with tears inside her heart.
‘Fare thee well, King of the Great Year,’
She sings him through the wind
That takes his sails, and him, away from her.
A strange coming he had of it. Victory and death.
The lands came to his hand and then,
Coming to the eagle’s place, another stood.
The king, the gift of god, stood in his way,
Moved not. And Macsen fell.
The Lady of the Land, hears his call,
Sees his spirit, winged horse,
Rise up out his neck
Beside the blood which spurts.
Sees his dark head roll in the dust.
‘Come Bridge Maker, hear my song!’ she calls him home.
‘Fly to me along the Dream-Paths.’
And he flies to her
Along the dream-paths, over sea and land.
No longer needing ship for now, before him,
Flies the silent Owl, cupping air.