All posts by Damo

The New Divan: Knowingly Willingly


Like I said last time out, every composition session is different. whereas last time I got two poems in one day, this weekend I got one poem over three days. It is called ‘Knowingly Willingly,’ & is the creation of a Turkish poet, Gonca Ozman, who quite unlike the majority of the Divan poets is actually younger than me – I’m 1976, she’s 1982. Anyway, without further ado, lets see my transcreation, based on the translation out of the Turkish by Maureen Freely & Ozge Calli Spike, & poeticized by Jo Shapcott. Mt transcraeyion has taken some effort, as the irregular-length couplets were difficult to formalize in regular quatrains, but the beast was eventually tamed!


GONCA OZMEN: Knowingly Willingly


Insane the shadows that I taste
& speak to, tho’ I promis’d not;
Love keep me from my home displac’d,
Especially its nights boycott!

Come & empty out my bottom
Drawer, the garden incinerate,
& then, just like the hick I am,
Fling me outside, without debate.

Your halls ancestral snow-tall climb,
As each into each other coils,
& into you, & into time,
Why stand so awkward with your spoils?

Forgive me love this very night,
Night most of all, when comes dusk’s shroud
To turn things dark, let me alight
Once more the dance-floor, blend with crowd.

My body is a gun, by flags
Of sorrow made, & aim’d at thee,
Tho’ trapp’d in your unwelcome snags
Tis naught to what once made me flee.

Love! Rescue! Save me! Hear my song,
Untether unpleasant morning,
Save me from both those tables long
& elegance rooms adorning.

Into the poison Marsh of Death,
You could take a swim most eely,
But you’d dive, in an instant’s breath,
Back into those morning’s freely.

When rose your mother’s fine cheekbone
Approving stomach’s rumbling,
My tights were full of holes, alone,
I pass through your breakfast stumbling!

VLUU L110  / Samsung L110


Love, to me listen, most of all
At night, when moondust lingers long,
When I can trust soft words to fall
Like wine draughts crooning on the tongue!

Unlike my voice each prickly thread,
Love lay me down within the night,
Destitute-distill’d your wine-bed,
Poverty-fed, is pour’d from fright.

Go to the garden, love, & tell,
The Jasmines & the Freesias,
About myself, night comes to dwell,
Absolve me to the Dervishes.



Love see a world in me, a grape
Peel’d delicately heavenly,
Let not outside your mind escape
Where spools spinning machinery.

Forget the pain that I maintain,
Pressing upon you, unallay’d,
Yes, let it rest, forget the pain,
Into the distance let it fade.

Go catch an apple & a burst
of street-jive, then a catcall clear,
A stream of conscience unrehears’d,
Exploding laughter in your ear.

You’ve ran like water thro’ my voice,
& what you drop don’t pockets blame,
More dust than one long-untouch’d vase
I’ve gathered, while I play your game.

In buttons undone there’s meaning,
Words slay their targets, well you know,
Love look at me, in me leaning,
You touch me but left long ago.

Even waters have no spare time
To flow with me, nobody cares,
To halt night’s sordid paradigm,
Allowing morning’s gloryglares.





1: Edinburgh Book Festival: The Divan Session

2: The New Divan: Genesis

3: Greenshoots

4: Final Greenshoots

5: The Song of the One Who Pours the Wine

6: Paradise on Earth / Ephesus Ghazal

7: Knowingly Willingly

8: Smoke

9: Electrocardigam / The Great Axe

The New Divan: Paradise on Earth / Ephesus Ghazal


Every composition session is different – there are many contributing factors which lead to a day’s creation in the genres of longer poem. I recall being on Rab Island in 2004, & creating 12 tryptychs worth of Axis & Allies in a single day – 240 lines. Keats, while scrambling about the Isle of White during Endymion managed 50. Thus, returning to The New Divan, I simply whistled through two poems as opposed to last week’s projection of one completed & several doodled at per session. The two are Paradise on Earth by Fadhil Al Azzawi, & Ephesus Ghazal by Jan Wagner. They are the last two poems in the collection, actually, & it was on hearing Robin Robertson’s translation of the Ephesus Ghazal, & his admittance that ‘he didnt really rhyme’ which started this whole project in the first place.

It was a perfectly delightful morning, Indian Summery almost, & Daisy was also enjoying an early morning strut. Today’s compositions took place in two places – the first was near a wind-farm as you top the Lammermuirs on the A68. The second was in a delightful spot on the Lauder-Stow road.  On that same road I filmed a Pendragon Post, talking about the New Divan – it seemd apt. After here we went to Stow for a bit, where I filmed Daisy for an idea I have about her presenting history shows to dubbed on voice overs, with the first one being called DAISY & THE SECRETS OF THE PICTISH KING LIST. Then, on the return via the Sutra Aisle road, I paused at the foresty place to dash off a poem from THE NEW TRUTH - my new & main poetical creation for the rest of 2019.  But I digress too far, & let us now enjoy – I hope – the second & third full poems of THE NEW DIVAN.




FADHIL AL-AZZAWI: Paradise on Earth

I see it as I leave the inn
The dark of night, an evil djinn
Pursues me close, each step I take,
These steps shall shudder as I shake
Dogs furious, a-bark behind
Like hunt-track wolves, outflung from mind,
I must drive this road’s solitude,
I must sing madly, loud & crude!
Dervish disguis’d as angel slips
Out from the mosque, threats on his lips,
Waving his stick thro’ air at me,
Hey, you are losing your life!” he
Screams, “You have lost your life,” Adam,
Did you not know its forbidden
In this world to drink Eden’s wine?
But in Paradise, hey, that’s fine!
Go drink that wine, its bountiful
& free, search for the beautiful
Eyes, bountiful houris, gratis.

Oh master of my days, where is
This place, lord tell me where we are.

He points his stick up to a star,
“There,” utters he, “Eternity,”
Twinkling… blazing… “Up there!” says he,
Fluttering as the falcons rise
Evanishing in splendid skies!

I do not move, stricken with doubt,
I dare not move, Hafiz steps out
Arriving as he always does
As of-a-sudden surprises,
“My friend!” he laughs, “Why worry so?
Their walls are high & you have no
Wings there to fly – no – let us make
This mortal rock an angels’ lake ,
Look at these mountains rising up,
For when the flood oerflows the cup,
These seas, these oceans, all aswirl
With fish & gorgeous whales which whirl
About this Godufactured Earth,
Where even serpents maintain worth,
We must remember to release
Snakes from their cages, whom, in peace,
Shall twine around those fine branches
Of our tree – happy, glorious -

What more will we need than that?



JAN WAGNER: Ephesus Ghazal

With tyrants who cavort like gods,
Our days cut-short at shortest odds,
Of these severe was one in faith,
His painters perpetrate a wraith,
With shaggy face & eyes like sleet,
Lads seven underneath his feet,
Prepar’d for freedom, so they hid
Themselves before Dawn lifts its lid.
Cavebound, the dog curl’d at their feet,
That loved them all with love complete,
While they first slept the Emperor
Gave rocks in cartloads the order,
‘Block up the entrance!’ Still they slept,
Dispersing trances, by them crept
Long centuries on centuries,
So deep that sleep it seems death is
Enmesh’d with slumbers – angel’s hand
As gentle as a grazing land,
Did turn them… dreadful, delicate;
Depending on which way the foot
Did point – to Heaven, down to Hell –
Limbs rolling as lads dreamlands dwell.

Eroded rocks, awoke hungry,
Thinking new morn was what they see
Just one night old; so sent to town
Their youngest, keenest, skills a crown,
Who found a bakers where once stood
The court, the baker’s face of blood
Drain’d white, straining for friends, in fear –
The proffer’d coin engrav’d, a clear
Depicted face, some king long dead,
“He was the emperor,” someone said,
A whole town came to gawp & glare
At this young marvel standing there,
Whose uncles & great-grandchildren
Were lang syne dust, distant aeon
In which he tried to grow a beard,
The townsfolk thought this very weird,
Tho’ simmering their pots were set,
They shrank Ephesus’ parapet,
To distant dots, even before
The millet cook’d; they wanted more
To see the cave, & when they did,
The other six no longer hid,
A clan of seven spread from death,
Who’d somehow shar’d eternal breath!



1: Edinburgh Book Festival: The Divan Session

2: The New Divan: Genesis

3: Greenshoots

4: Final Greenshoots

5: The Song of the One Who Pours the Wine

6: Paradise on Earth / Ephesus Ghazal

7: Knowingly Willingly

8: Smoke

9: Electrocardigam / The Great Axe

The New Divan: The Song of the One Who Pours the Wine


Here is my first full transcreation of A New Divan into The New Divan.  I decided to do it as altho the project is noble, what has been presented to the public is lacking distinctly in the art which both Goethe & Hafiz would have appreciated. Instead we have what appears to the naked eye as field notes in free verse. In its current form it is accessible to the vast majority of the English-speaking world, which is something I would like to redress thro’ the creation of a natural synthesis of all the parts into an octosyllabic, rhyming harmony. Borrowing a car for the day I headed out from Edinburgh with Daisy the dog for my whistlestop tour of the Borders. I mean, its great down there, I don’t know why folk are determined on driving seven hours to Skye, the scenery is just as resplendent & the drive is better for the Carbon footprint.  After traversing the Lammermuirs we skirted Duns, paused at Hume Castle,  & popped into Kelso for an hour. This is where the Teviot meets the Tweed & the riverside walk is a wide, cerebral, link-like stretch. As for the town itself, its a fine affair with a massive square & a genial atmosphere of the highest quality.


From Kelso we drove towards Morebattle, skirted it & headed through a romantic glen towards, through & beyond the house-huddle of Hownam (pronounced Hoonam). Just at the point where we hit Dere Street – the old Roman road between York & Scotland – I found myself at the foot of Woden Law, a climb of whose steep slopes afforded a windy yet spectacular view. Daisy kept up & was intrigued to watch the 6 or 7 crows/ravens hovering over sections of shale. It was a superb sensation to stumble on the defenses of the iron age hillfort, & that it had Roman additions, is situated so close to Deer Street, & of course that it was named after Cunedda’s father (see the last post) set my naturally inquisitive mind a-racing.


From Woden Law we popped into Morebattle, having a couple of coffees in a church that is in the middle of being converted into a pilgrim center for walkers of St Cuthbert’s Way between Melrose & Lindisfarne. Pilgrims had been complaining that there were not more spiritual experiences on the route, plus the coffee was really good. The priest – an Episcopalian named Margaret Pederson – came for a chat & I showed her The New Divan. She said she was familiar with Hafiz for his spiritual insight, & providing a cue for me to waffle on a bit about what I was doing with the project as I tossed off a few more lines.


Morebattle itself was a fine village, with a community shop & its own John Clare-Rabbie Burns hybrid, the peasant poet Robert Davidson. He was a farm labourer who published three volumes of his own poetry during his lifetime. He also wrote a short autobiography to accompany his third and final book of poems. This makes Davidson one of the first working men anywhere to have published an account of their lives. Given his circumstances, his achievement is a considerable one. Given his circumstances, the insight he provides into such lives and times is an invaluable one. Davidson never to have once left the Morebattle district, the small corner of the Scottish Borders in which he was born, lived and died. Davidson was a ‘day labourer’ and sometime ‘hind’ and like others from his station in life, his wages were low and somewhat uncertain. He lived his life in poverty and often on the edge of destitution. His is the authentic voice of the rural poor.


From Morebattle it was just a wee drive in the direction of Coldstream to Branxton & the fabulous Flodden battlefield. It wasn’t that fabolous for the Scottish king, James IV, who finding himself tactically outflanked by a forced English march, left his secure position on the Flodden Ridge & turned about face to meet the English from the top of Branxton Hill who were now between him & home. Obsessed with attacking in the Swiss echelon styles, & losing the artillery battle with his massive seige cannon which couldn’t handle the new elevation in time, he ordered his men to leave the relative safety of the hill summit just as the Scots would do againts Cromwell at Doon Hill, & march downslopes to attack the English. Unfortunately they wandered into uscouted  marshy ground & the momentum halted, allowing the dense mass of Scots & their unwieldy pikes to be targeted by arrowstorms or hacked to pieces by the shorter but nimbler English bills. There died on the field the flower of Scottish nobility,  among whom was the Scottish king himself. This is a poem I wrote about the visit penned when I got back to the ranche.

Sonnet: Upon Seeing the Merits in a Second Referendum

I go to Flodden in these bareback times,
How sad the phantoms in this sodden field,
Lamenting not them dying by their King,
But how no Scotsman dares to thrust his pike
Against the machinations of the South,
These days, when Scotia knows herself once more.

Before, I wished an island to remain,
But now, I sense a nation full reborn,
Transcending quibblings of a Quisling House
Descending into spittle-threats and farce,
For whom would want to member with a gang
Determined on a dead-end in the dark?

My song’s for Independence to redress
Those crimes ‘No’ voted for, this time I’m ‘Yes!’


It was on the field of Flodden that I also finished my first full poem for The New Divan. Its path to my pen began with Clara Janés’ Canto del Escanciador, or ‘The Song of the One Who Pours the Wine.’  Clara is a Spanish poet, & a distinguishd translator of several central & Eastern European languages, so you can see her credentials. Next up was Lavinia Greenlaw, a winner of the TS. Eliot, Forward and Whitbread Poetry Prizes, and the Prix du Premier Roman Etranger – again quite a high-ranking poet in the current Ancien Régime. The full poem reads as follows;

Clara Janés
Clara Janés

The Song of the One Who Pours the Wine

As Shiraz roses sheer upclimb
These pages thro’, so hear the chime
Sung by the Holy Fool that stands
Beside the well at dusk – these hands
Reveal the decorated cup,
As if, from it, Jamshid did sup,
Containing worlds within wine-pools
Where ripple stars, submerging jewels,
Revealing patterns unimpair’d
By fauna & by flora shar’d,
A human heart or pulseless stone?
Upon a palm leaf focus hone
In some garden botanica,
Such as the one in Padua,
When famously illustrated
The metamorph you’ll see outspread!

As formula, in chimes, upswells
From caravans & tiny bells;
All things must change, all time must pass,
But even so, as higher class
Of thinker contemplates these things,
All fixed must be in place on strings –
Prayer beads of love & science.

Pour me another cup forth-hence,
Permitting detailed inspection
Of all that swims in reflection,
I’ll read the Cosmos as a sacred text,
Accepting what I’ll see I must acknowledge next.

Keeping electrons in a trance,
By atom procharge made to dance,
Like the limitless extension
Of the waves in curv’d connexion;
Deep secrets of this circuitrie
Reveals the links twyx atomie,
When object & subject between
Sees space collapsing mezzanine.

All this is held by such perfume
Exhaled by Shiraz rose in bloom,
Love is the scent-sway, & does etch
The first & best alphabet, which
Declaring in Persopolis,
This Human grace forever is!

Yet, falls the dusk, the Holy Fool
Sings by the well’s radiant pool,
The poet plucks from blazing flames
A flicker of all things, all names,
That brand my hands, together we
Repeat his arcane sorcery;

Nature, my one joy is to connect!


Despite snatching at several of the poems during the day, & getting a few decent lines for each, it was Clara’s that I saw to the finish-line. I quite like the process actually, its quite demanding mentally to enter someone’s poetry & to make it sound satisfactorily better in both sound & sense, while adhering to the general form system I have universally imposed. It felt only natural that whenever I hit a brick wall of transcreation, after a stanza or so, I could leap like a flea to another poem & start with a fresh impulse. Why waste one’s energies trying to find the perfect line when that moment is clearly not the one intended to find it. Poetry, remember, the true essence of poetry, is a collection of the best moments. It definitely feels the right way to proceed, its the same method I used to get the openings to all 24 poems down first. I also enjoyed making a day of it, out in the field absorbing poesis, writing poetry as I went. So I hope to repeat it in the future, of which there will be 23 more days of composition!




1: Edinburgh Book Festival: The Divan Session

2: The New Divan: Genesis

3: Greenshoots

4: Final Greenshoots

5: The Song of the One Who Pours the Wine

6: Paradise on Earth / Ephesus Ghazal

7: Knowingly Willingly

 8: Smoke

9: Electrocardigam / The Great Axe


The New Divan: Final Greenshoots


69243169_370526970310014_4520528661874475008_nYesterday I completed the final few openings to The New Divan. Earlier in the day I went to the outside auction in Leith to see what poetry had popped up. It was a bumper day actually, & I got all the above ones for a fiver. Its an interesting experience. They auction starts at 11, but at at 10 they put the books out. This brings a gaggle of the city’s booksellers to have a look, & there seems a tacit agreement among them to carve up the spoils, very rarely bidding against each other. Luckily theres not that much money in poetry books (old & new) so I can make my own pretty pile & no bothers me, maybe someone takes a book out & places it n their own pile – you’re allowed to bid for them separately. For example yesterday, I noticed Percy’s Reliques in a guy’s pile, so I took them out to bid separetely. The guy was great tho, & said don’t worry about it & put it in my pile, chit-chatting about a poetry a little & gaurding them fastiduously from predatary sellers. In the end those three books are worth about £40 on their own, but I’m there to study them not sell them.


Another of the books I picked up had a wonderful effect on the day’s transcreation. It was a litttle book of Robert Louis Stevenson’s, whose ‘children’s poetry’ were both octosyllabic & rhyming, & emotive as love! absolutely brilliant transportational abilities & I’ll be doing a Pendragon poetry post on them soon! Reading the poems absorbed the measured music into my mind, & when I sat down with A New Divan, I found very much the whole process of transcreation easier than previously. Having him board has made me realise that the English poets & Scottish Makars & of course the Welsh bards shiould be involved somewhere in The New Divan. To facilitate this idea I shall take me with me on my composition sessions a poet or two from a pantheon, whose words I can bounce off when lacking inspiration, whose music I can draw on to mould a proper mindset. 24 poems to go…



Knew everybody since childhood,
He’d dreamt he was a shaft of wood
By axehead topp’d, his foes to fight
To chop off heads & branches smite!



NUJOOM ALGHANEM: The Crimson Shades

If Venus e’er should act a thief
Of hearts once sworn our destiny
Or if Lord Jupiter’s mischief
Would draw upon us furtively
Should ever come to pass these odds
Let us refuse their rudest guiles
Bestow, instead, on Fates & Gods
The Rose of Hope that grows in smiles!



Each runic bottle teaches me
Beseeching pure humility
If every god can be seduced
By the carafe, & thus reduced,
How fine a drop am I?

Intoxicating, misty dream
I sip between my lips, & seem
Made larger & more eloquent.




Words you have grasp’d all on your own
I cannot utter unto you
Without inflicting ills to groan
Or causing harm, send thought askew.

I can’t go on, I do not care
To wound or flatter, so I stay
Within my family, to share
Encircled warmth, tho cool as May.

So words be good, be gone into
The silence of a summit bird
My voice it plummets low for you
So much you cannot hear a word.


MOURID BARGHOUTI: The Obedience of Water

Nights of art & erudition
Sacrifice & hesitation
At little, or at great expense,
Must pass, how many, since or hence
Need you to cleverly invent,
A simple gadget’s supplement,
When all we need for tyranny
Are single bendings of one knee!



Goethe, Goethe, poet master
From the furthest lands a-wester
Of the East, I have sung in praise
Of that peace goblet you did raise
To happiness, under the vines,
To goodness dressing all designs.



Cunedda, son of Woden… King of Picts

Breth son of Buthut
Vipoig namet
Wradech uecla
Talore son of Achivir
Drust son of Erp
Talore son of Aniel (PKL)

These are the names of the sons of Cunedda, whose number was nine: Tybion, the firstborn, who died in the region called Manaw Gododdin and did not come hither with his father and his aforesaid brothers. Meirion, his son, divided his possessions among his brothers. 2, Ysfael, 3. Rhufon, 4. Dunod, 5. Ceredig, 6, Afloeg, 7. Einion Yrth, 8. Dogfael, 9. Edern Harleian 3859 (pedigree 32)

Maelgwyn, the great king, was reigning among the Britons in the region of Gwynedd, for his ancestor, Cunedag, with his sons, whose number was eight, had come previously from the northern part, that is from the region which is called Manaw Gododdin, one hundred and forty-six years before Maelgwn reigned. And with great slaughter they drove out from those regions the Scotti who never returned again to inhabit them.’ (NEN)


The first extract is from the Pictish King List. Only a handful of these lists that survived the rigors of time, but they all contain pretty much the same sequence of kings (tho’ spelt differently) to which are attached reign-lengths (which differ between recensions) and on rare occasions a piece of biographical information. The second extract refers to one of the first recorded monarchs of Britain, & a babel-chain between Cunedda & the PKL’s Canutulahina is both easy to create & to support, for the names of Cantaluhina’s immediate successors in the PKL have chispological correspondnaces in the Harleian MS, where Wradech transchispers into Ceretic, Dorornauch becomes Dunaut. We also have the chispological connections between the Historia Brittonum’s Cunedag variant for Cunedda, & the PKL’s Canutulachama variant.

We now fast-forward in time to the reign of Maelgwyn Gwynned, whose death in 547 is recorded by the Annales Cambraie as, ‘The great death [plague] in which Maelgwn, king of Gwynedd died. Thus they say ‘The long sleep of Maelgwn in the court of Rhos’.  It is through a passage in Nennius that we can link Cunedda to Maelgwyn;
Maelgwn, the great king, was reigning among the Britons in the region of Gwynedd, for his ancestor, Cunedag, with his sons, whose number was eight, had come previously from the northern part, that is from the region which is called Manaw Gododdin, one hundred and forty-six years before Maelgwn reigned. And with great slaughter they drove out from those regions the Scotti who never returned again to inhabit them.

If we say that it was 20 years after his reign as the King of Picts that Cunedda left Scotland for Wales as given in Nennius, & that Maelgwyn had also been ruling for 20 years before he died, then the 146 years as given by Nennius gives us a tentative date of 361 for Cunedda.


We may infer from Nennius that Cunedda had taken took up a position of power in the eastern central Belt of Scotland, the approximate area of Manaw Gododdin. That this region is was connected to his Pictish monarchy is remembered in the Pentland Hills, which were originally known as the ‘Pehtland’ Hills, after a variant name for the Picts also found in the Pentland Firth which seperate the Orkneys from the Scottish mainland. In East Lothian, at Traprain Law, a massive double-linked Silver Chain of the Early Christian period was discovered in 1938, a tangible hallmark of Pictish nobility.



Nennius tells us that in the 4th century, Cunedda & his sons travelled from Scotland to North Wales, where they fought & defeated the ‘Scotti’ – the same Irish tribe that would eventually establish itself further north in Dalriada – & established the Kingdom of Gwynedd. The approximate 361 dates for Cunedda is significant, for in 367 we have historical evidence for the Scotti, & others, attacking Britain.  Known as ‘The Barbarian Conspiracy,’ it was eventually put down the following year by the Roman general, Flavius Theodosius.  The Roman historian, Ammianus Marcellinus, has all the details;

At that time the Picts, divided into two tribes, called Dicalydones and Verturiones, as well as the Attacotti, a warlike race of men, and the Scots, were ranging widely and causing great devastation; while the Gallic regions, wherever anyone could break in by land or by sea, were harassed by the Franks and their neighbours, the Saxons, with cruel robbery, fire, and the murder of all who were taken prisoners.

When the Batavi, Heruli, Jovii, and Victores, who followed {Flavius Theodosius}, had arrived, troops confident in their strength, he began his march and came to the old town of Lundinium, which later times called Augusta. There he divided his troops into many parts and attacked the predatory bands of the enemy, which were ranging about and were laden with heavy packs; quickly routing those who were driving along prisoners and cattle, he wrested from them the booty which the wretched tribute-paying people had lost. And when all this had been restored to them, except for a small part which was allotted to the wearied soldiers, he entered the city, which had previously been plunged into the greatest difficulties, but had been restored more quickly than rescue could have been expected, rejoicing and as if celebrating an ovation.

While he lingered there, encouraged by the successful outcome to dare greater deeds, he carefully considered what plans would be safe; and he was in doubt about his future course, since he learned from the confessions of the captives and the reports of deserters that the widely scattered enemy, a mob of various natives and frightfully savage, could be overcome only by secret craft and unforeseen attacks. 10 Finally, he issued proclamations, and under promise of pardon summoned the deserters to return to service, as well as many others who were wandering about in various places on furlough. In consequence of this demand and strongly moved by his offer, most returned


 We here see Roman Britain continuing in a state of reconciliation. Was Cunedda part of the attacking force & later redeemed, or did he stay put in Lothian all the while & remain loyal to Rome while the Barbarians hordes ravaged Britain. We know the Attacotti members of the Barbarian Conspiracy were absorbed into the legions, so Cunedda may have experienced the same treatment. It is imposible to say at this juncture, but the timing of his move against the Irish in North Wales in all likelihood seems connected to the Roman restoration of its Britannic power base after 368.


Returning to the genealogy of Cunedda, I would like to show that he was the son of a human figure deified with some majesty by the Nordic & Teutonic races. The god was Woden, or Odin, but the man was given as either Edern (Jesus College MS20) or Aeturn (Harleian MS 3859). Aeturn-Waeturn-Woden is an easy babel-chain, but of course we need support.  We begin with Harleian MS 3859, which tells us how Tybion was Cunedda’s first-born son. This gives us a possible Woden-Cunedda-Tybion lineage, which has a mirror in the royal Anglo-Saxon genealogies of East Anglia. Here Caser would be Cunedda, with the name either corrupted from ‘Cune,’ or perhaps even Ceasar, which is a lofty rank similar to Cunedda’s ‘Guledig’ epithet.

Woden – (Aeturn)

Caser / Casser – (Cunedda Gwledig)

Titmon  / Tẏtiman / Titinon – (Tybion)


 We should also examine Cunedda’s grandfather & great-grandfather, who appear in Jesus & Harleain as Tegyth/Tacit and Padarn Beisrud/Patern Pesrut. These names translate into Latin as Tacitus & Paternus, with the latter’s epithet meaning ‘of the red robe’, indicating a high rank in the Roman administration. A link to Rome is suggested by the Scandinavian record of Woden/Odin as recorded by the medieval chronicler, Snorri Sturluson, who places him in the Trojan region of NW Turkey, beside the Dardanelles. This region was a part of the Roman province of Asia, which seems to be the etymological route of the Aesir.



In the middle of the world was built a city called Troy. This is in the land of Turkey. Twelve kingdoms were there and one high King. In this city there were twelve languages. The twelve rulers were better than any human in all the world. One king was called Munon or Mennon. His son was called Tror, who we call Thor. He would later take control of Thrace, which we call Thrudheim. He travelled all through the world and found a sibyl who we call Sif. Thor married her. Their male descendents are Loridi, Einridi, Vingethor, Vingenir, Moda, Magi, Sescef, Bedvig, Athra (who we call Annar), Itrmann, Heremod, Scialdum (who we call Skiold), Biaf (who we call Biar), Iat, Gudolf, Finn, Friallaf (who we call Fridleif), and Woden. Odin is the name we use for Woden.

The chief Odin was a great warrior and travelled all over and gained many kingdoms. He was very victorious wherever he went. This made him very esteemed and praised so much so that everyone believed that he always won every fight and battle.

Odin was supposed to have great lands near the Turks. When the Roman Emperors were trying to conquer the world they dispersed many people and kings, who fled their lands. During this time, Odin used his magic to see the future and learned that his descendents would live in the northern parts of the world. As a result, he made his brothers Ve and Vili leaders of the people of Asaland and went off to the northern lands. He took with him all his priests and many of his people.

Odin conquered many lands and had many sons who he set as leaders upon those lands. His travels took him to Gardarik (Germany), then to Saxland. There they stayed for a while. Odin had three sons in Saxony, who were put to rule over the area:

Veggdegg, who ruled East Saxony.
Beldegg (who we call Balder), who ruled Westphalia.
Siggi, who ruled over what is now France. The Volsungs are descended from him.
Odin then went northward to a country called Reidgotaland (which is now called jutland) and conquered it. In this land he set his son Skiold as ruler. From him are descended the Skioldungs dynasty of Denmark. Snorri
He then travelled north to the sea and made a home in Odenso in Fyn, Denmark.

After this he went northward into Sweden where there was a king called Gylfi. When the Aesir (what the people of Asia are called) arrived King Gylfi offered them as much power as they desired in his land. Odin found the area pleasant to live in and settled in an area now called Sigtunir. In this new land he set up rulers in the same pattern as was seen in Troy. There were twelve chiefs to administer law, and he established a legal system as it was in Troy.

After this, he travelled north even more til he confronted the sea. He then set one of his son, Saemung (who all the rulers of Norway are descended), as ruler over this area, which is now called Norway.

The Aesir had many marriages with the people and their family became quite extensive from Saxony all the way to the north. In this area, also, their language spread, the language of the people of Asia, and became the mother tongue there. Because of this, there are names for regions and places in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and England that come from the ancient language before the Aesir appeared.

Odin died in his bed in Sweden. As he approached death he had himself marked, or stabbed, with a spear point and dedicated himself all men who died through weapons. Odin was burned after his death and they say his fire was very glorious.

‘Odin was credited, the world over, as a god,‘ wrote Saxo Grammaticus, ‘which was false. He spent his time in Uppsala.’ According to my analysis, he was also connected to Britain, & Pictland in particular. The key passage in Snorri reads, ‘the Aesir had many marriages with the people and their family became quite extensive from Saxony all the way to the north.’ This sentence opens up the possibility that Woden’s son, Cunedda, married into the Pictish Royal bloodline.


Woden was clearly once a mortal. We can now deduce he had at least some aristocratic Roman blood in his veins, & that he came from the Trojan region of NW Turkey, beside the Dardanelles. This region was a part of the Roman province of Asia, which seems to be the etymological route of the Aesir. This opens up the intriguing possibility that Woden’s grandfather could have been Titus Flavius Festus, who was the govenor of Asia c.286. Saying that, an earlier Titus – Titus Flavius Postumius Varus – was actually in northern Britain during the 240s as Legatus legionis of the Legio II Augusta. But I ruminate too far in unclear waters, altho’ Varus did at one point hold the position of the Augurship, whose prophetic abilites strike a tally with the prophetic powers of Snorri’s Woden.

The key passage in Snorri  reads, ‘the Aesir had many marriages with the people and their family became quite extensive from Saxony all the way to the north.’ This sentence opens up the possibility that Woden’s son, Cunedda, married into the Pictish Royal bloodline. Also of interest is how Woden took control of Denmark & Jutland, the very homelands of the Angles who would go on to invade & name the southern portions of Britain. What has always been a bit of a mystery is why an island of NW Wales, & part of the Kingdom of Gwynedd, is also named after the Angles – Anglesey. However, if we were to simply place Cunedda in command of a group of Angles conquered by Woden & placed in the Hunnic imperial service, then all makes perfect sense.



According to various lineages, such as in Bede & the Anglian Collection,  another of Woden’s sons was Vecta, who Snorri says was a ruler in East Saxony (as Vegdagr). His name was found etched inyo a stone memorial near Edinburgh. When Bede tells us Hengist was the ‘son of Vitgilsus, whose father was Vecta, son of Woden’ we have a direct match up to an inscribed 6th century memorial called the Cat Stane, which stands in the precincts of Edinburgh Airport. It reads;

 In this tomb lies Vetta son of Victus

This places the burial site of Cunedda’s nephew in Manau Gododdin, encouraging a belief that Edinburgh was named after Aeternus-Woden. The ‘Finnesburh Fragment’ describes Hengist & his men as ‘Eotona,’ a name which clearly derives from Woden, Hengist’s great-great grandfather. Hengist’s son, Octa, led the mid-fifth century conquest of Scotland, where according to the Lancelot-Graal, they fortified a very Edinburgh like ‘Rock.’ Thus Edinburgh was named, not after Woden, but the royal house which he had founded.

Further affirmation of Woden’s children being connected to the Pictish kingship comes thro’ Vetta, whose alternative names were given as Vegdagr & Waegdaeg. Chispering these together gives us Ve-gd-aeg, which transchispers into Vipoig, who is given in the King lists as ruling directly before Cantulahina/Cunedda.



We must also look at Woden Hillfort in the Scottish Borders, near Kelso, which has a correctly-dated Roman influence. Canmore ID 58068 tells us, “Originally it was a native British fort, built in three stages – a settlement surrounded by a single, oval stone dyke, to which was then added a double rampart and intervening ditch. Both ramparts were demolished quite soon after completion, probably as a result of Roman road-building and occupation, and the site was only reoccupied by native peoples after the Romans left. Then the innermost rubble dyke on the top of the hill was built and faced with boulders. The Romans, however, seem to have used Woden Law for siege practice (if the so-called siegeworks are not simply part of the native defences). They dug a remarkable earthwork of two banks between three ditches at 12m-30m from the fort’s defences: in other words, mostly beyond the killing-range for hand-thrown missiles. Several flattened platforms on the outer bank seem to have provided sites for siege engines, protected by the inner bank and ditch, whilst beyond the main siegework, three further independent lines of earthworks were built in the customary Roman manner of short, separate sections. These are all incomplete. A further feature, the series of five cross-dykes spanning the easy ridge between Woden Law and Hunthall Hill, is pre-Roman however, and part of the native British defence system. Such cross-dykes are not uncommon in relation to hillforts in the Cheviotsi here they guard access from the main Cheviot ridge and emphasise the importance of the site and the route.”


We have now come to the most fascinating piece of the puzzle. It begins with Cunedda’s Pictish name – Canutulahina. Breaking this down we obtain – Canutu – la – hina, which seems to translate as Cunedda the Hun. This Scythian tribe would rise to a devastating prominence with Attila in the middle of the 5th century, but it seems that a couple of centuries earlier among their number was counted Woden himself. The northern settlement of Woden & his people should then be responsible for the Hunaland region mentioned in the Eddas,  which some sources place on either side of the Gulf of Bothnia down to Gästrikland, in Sweden. The key evidence comes from the Völsunga saga, a late thirteenth century Icelandic text. in it we read that Sigi, Woden’s son as given by Sturluson, was also the king of the Huns. A priceless clue that dictates how if Sigi was a Hun, then his brother Cunedda should also be one.

Oguz Yabgu State in Kazakhstan, 750–1055
Oguz Yabgu State in Kazakhstan, 750–1055

The presence of the Huns in late Roman Britain was remembered by Bede, in whose Historia Ecclesiastica we read; ‘He knew that there were very many peoples in Germany from whom the Angles and the Saxons, who now live in Britain, derive their origin… Now these people are the Frisians, Rugians, Danes, Huns, Old Saxons, and Boruhtware (Bructeri).’ The last two tribes also appear among the allies of Atilla the Hun in his 451 invasion of Gaul. Two years earlier, what we may now observe as a Hunnish contingent led by Henghist were active in south England.  Octa, for example, the kinsman of Henghist  seems a variant of the Hunnic name Octar – Attila’s uncle and earlier ruler of the Hunnic Empire. It also seems likely that the ‘the elders of the Oghgul Race’ referred to by Nennius as advising Henghist were Huns. Oghgul – Mohgul – Mongol is a distinctly possible babel-chain, but more likely is a connection to the Oghuz Turks


Where Nennius tells us that Henghist despacted reinforcemnet requests ‘to Scythia, ‘ in more recent times Lotte Hedeager has expertly shown how the ‘Anglo-Saxon’ homelands on the continent were made a part of the Hunnic Empire during the early 400s, maintaining a Hunnic presence throughout. Archeology tell us that gold open-ended earrings show the presence of the Huns in Denmark & Britain, where also a Dyerkan-type cicada brooch, found primarily in the Middle Danube, the Black Sea area and the Northern Caucasus (5th century), was discovered in Suffolk. We also have the Skjoldunge–Skilfinger texts, which descibe the early Norse rulers Haldan, Roo, Ottar and Adils – these names & their activities correspond to the fifth-century Hunnic kings Huldin, Roas, Octar and Attila.

That we have a record of the ‘Saxons’ in Britain at least as early as 441 (the Gallic Chronicle) & as we now understand, there were Huns in Pictavia, then we may now understand better a statement made by  Priscus of Panium,  who visited the court of Attila the Hun as part of an official delegation in AD 448/9.

No previous ruler of Scythia or of any other land had ever achieved so much in so short a time. He ruled the islands of the Ocean and, in addition to the whole of Scythia, forced the Romans to pay tribute. He was aiming at more than his present achievements and, in order to increase his empire further, he now wanted to attack the Persians.

Writers such as  Orosius & St Augustine were definers of the British Isles as among the ‘islands of the Ocean.’ We must also recall that 80 years later, the Romans also considered Britain to be under the ‘Giothic’ influence, with Procopius recording Belisarius as saying, ‘we on our side permit the Goths to have the whole of Britain, & the Hun-Goth connection  secured through Priscus, who said that Attila’s “Scythian” subjects spoke “besides their own barbarian tongues, either Hunnish, or Gothic.”


We have also the fabulous possibility of identifying the Pictish symbols with the Hunnic invasion of North Britain, that they are based upon the druidlike, paganistic, shamanistic Tengrism of the Huns. Recent discoveries at a Pictish site at Dunnicaer have dated the symbols to a third or fourth century date – fitting in with the arrival of Cunedda into the Pictish King List.



To wrap everything up, the Pictish King List unveils a figure called Cunedda in the very time period that the Cunedda of the Welsh tradion came down from the north. Through significant Chispological protocol we learn that he was Hunnish, & that his father was Woden, a historical figure rather like Zeus, who was originally a Hyksos king known as Seuserenre before being deified by posterity. We also learn that the ‘Saxon Advent’ Britain was in fact only a small part in a long-term Hunnish conquest. ‘Given the cultural background,‘ writes Dr Caitlin Green, ‘of the time and the textual context of the passage in question, the most credible solution is arguably that the Western Roman ambassador to the Huns did indeed believe that Attila ruled in parts of Britain and its associated islands in the late 440s, as Peter Heather, C. E. Stevens and others have indicated in the past.

The New Divan: Greenshoots


In Edinburgh a soul can call its home
As classical as Athens, Thebes & Rome
With catacoombs quite gloomy underneath
I’ve heard them say some flume as far as Leith
City of Gargoyles in the sandy stone…


I am currently in the National Library in Edinburgh, typing up my first efforts at transcreating ‘A New Divan’ into the more uniform, Goethe-pleasing octosyllabics of ‘The New Divan.’ Over the weekend I got the rough openings to most of the 24 poems, which you’ll see shortly. Ive just had a book delivered to my desk which contains translations out of the Divan of Hafiz, from which I’ll transplant  a few nuggets into the text of The New Divan as we go. So without further ado, this is the state of play as of 12.35 on the 28th August, 2019.




After mountains of Albania’s
Glimps’d thro’ portholes & the haze,
All downy & yielding, like cultures
Under microscopic gaze,
After distant lakes of mercury
Let us see the peaks at last,
See the ragged shores of Thessaly!
As the plane touches downcast,
Meeting July’s deep melted tarmac
Open door hot furnace frees
But feels like paradise to be back
Among these the blossom lemon trees


RAOUL SCHROTTL: suleika speaks

Time after time, “Where are you from?”
Its all a blur, tormented bomb,
Dark memories of paths & routes
Laughing them off with substitutes;
My father hears the question too,
That same queer tone, that same brain screw,
Which drove him off from land & kin,
To taxifahrer, father’s chin
Gleams strong, when ends the night’s long shift
Wine glasses… one, two… he’ll uplift
Such keepers of our faith toast-rise
Shiraz into entempl’d skies!



FADHIL AL-AZZAWI: Paradise on Earth

I see it as I leave the inn
The dark of night, an evil djinn
Close follows me, each step I take
Each step I shudder & I shake
Furious dogs barking behind
Down hunting me, out flung from mind,
I should drive this road’s solitude
I must sing madly, loud & crude!


GONCA OZMEN: Knowingly Willingly

Insane the shadows that I taste
& speak to, tho’ I promis’d not

Love, keep me from my home displac’d,
Its nights especially boycott!


JAN WAGNER: Ephesus Ghazal

With tyrants who cavort like gods,
Our early day the shortest odds,
There so severe was one in faith
His painters perpetrate a wraith
With shaggy face & eyes like sleet
Young jasmine seven at his feet
Preparing freedom swift, they hid
Themselves, before Dawn lifts its lid


CLARA JANES: The Song of the One Who Pours the Wine

As Shiraz roses still upclimb
These pages thro, as does the chime
Sung by the Holy Fool that stands
Beside the well at dusk – my hands
Reveal the decorated cup
As if from it Jamshid did sup
Containing worlds within wine-pools
Where ripple stars, submerging jewels,


HAFEZ MOUSAVI: The Name of that Sad Dove

The Parsi couple returning
From bathing their baby’s ashes
Under morning’s hot sun’s burning
Passing sadly by charr’d flashes
Of Baucis & Philemon’s hut
From their bones burnt smoke still rises
Likewise guest skeletons in soot
Heavy-hearted Herr Faust sizes
His realm long prized,  stretching endless
From this tower-top – Ode to Joy
Rings out, Europa whole to bless!

Photograph © Beowulf Sheehan /PEN American Center

HOMERO ARIDJIS: The Creation of the World by the Animals

Across unmoving, dark blank sky,
Scarlet Macaw did flash & fly
Daybreak’s orioles yellow
With turquoise eyes, began solo
Dances of lightning honeybee
Sundering mighty Ceiba Tree



Unto the man I would return
Who inside, once, my shirt did burn

At each lip’s precipice I fret
To find the voice I once did set
Down-dangling from a ciggarette

I ask the card-turn to unshroud
The revelations thro the crowd
That sweeps away plant, bird & cloud


ADONIS: Letter to Goethe

I conjur’d, in the afternoon,
In your dear name, my night & moon,
I heard the Great Bear breathe & blow
Vain verses off to Earth’s blood flow
& in the cities, laws-wax seal’d
Found scrolls recited & reveal’d
To people made of wounds & bread
Who roam, asking the streets instead
Where do we come from, where’ll we go,
Erewhile the eastern moon did flow

My Spring of freedom, is it time
I’ll go on walking clime-on-clime
Does from the West the East now veer,
To ther moons offer its sphere,
I’ll go on walking – all allow’d
The soul is nothing but the cloud
Of sperm reveal’d as guises two –
Is it the image that time drew
With ink temptated yon amends
While space the other apprehends?

The West behind you but the East
Lies not before mine eyes releas’d
They are the river’s double sedge
One transcending the abyss edge
More than a rock, tis Sisyphus
Screaning the slopes, Sinbad wanders



KHALED MATTAWA: Easter Sunday, Rajab in Mid-Moon

A poet let us find down there
Beside the waves off Mozambique
Flown south had he to taste the air
Of those first migrants who did creak
Across the Earth, canoeing free,
Khidr’s eternal progeny!


DON PATERSON: Eleven Maxims from the Book of Ill-Humour

Unleash a poem slow enough,
Fie with vigilance & care
& you’ll discover lots of stuff
That quite simply is not there!

In the country of the two-eye’d
Sentiment still holds the same
The one-eyed man still puffs with pride
For he has the better aim!



Tell me, bent branch, how came ye here?
How did you pass thro’ cobalt wood
Thro’ shrouds of white, to reach the sneer
Where fat hyenas feast on blood.

The God we’ve worshipp’d for so long
Abandons us this very night
No longer do we set among
Sanguineous heaven, his light!


ABBAS BEYDOUN: Suleika & Marilyn

I heard my throat deep from the well,
The wolf my brothers’ summon spell
Invok’d, did hear & fled to Hell,
My shirt with others’ blood did swell
My father’s eyes were still a shell
But were they real; that shirt, that well?
Was desert a false infidel?
Was Wolf himself an actuelle?
What waited yon the parallel?
Of surfac’d Earth’s detention cell
But the Prophet’s road to Egypt!


Durs Gru?nbein 

DURS GUNBEIN: The Devil in the orient

Today’s slogan buzzword goes, ‘lie!’
newspapers, TVs, politics
Are duping voters with dark tricks
War’s still our master, as awry
Falls everyone – friends, enemies –
Morass’d by chutzpah perfidies
Reminding of the Auschwitz lie.


IMAN MERSAL: Your Smell is the World’s Dust

The fish the seller touts bushwhack
Belongs to the sea no longer
Washing lines & salt smell stronger
As I pass the woman in black.


ANGELICA FREITAS: The Peacock on the Roof

It flies, its up there on the roof
Of the hostel, extraordinairre,
At that same time a bird aloof,
I know not how it flies thro’ air
This ashram silence souls restore
Ten days of peacocks, none dare speak,
From sitting legs-cross’d on cool floor
My knees groan aching as they creak.


FATEMEH SHAMS: Electrocardiogram

My back she aches again today
Three months ago they moved my heart
& ledg’d my vital spine apart
Then wedg’d it in the vertebrae
Now each musk-fragrant breath depends
On one thin vein that empties blood
From darkness to new heart blood wends,
My idiotic bruise of vein
My wanton whore of heart, the pain
My back endures nobody should.
My ECG supplies, these days,
My news, headlines from past suck’d out –
A woman used to laugh about
Her love for one man & his ways,
When lavish hearts love’s healths endow
Form windows facing long exile,
These bunch’d red muscles bled servile
I wish it were a mirror, now!

The New Divan: Genesis


Its been a while since I posted on my blog, but a new project has just popped into my psyche which will have a natural home here. The subject matter is the transcreation of a book called A New Divan, recently released by Gingko. It had been inspired by the 200th anniversary of a collection of poems by Goethe, itself inspired by works of the medieval Pesian poet, Hafiz. I had no idea either existed, & thoroughly enjoyed my education into the texts at the recent Edinburgh International Book Festival, of which you can read more of here.



The main premise of the book is to mirror Goethe’s subjects & themes using an international array of poets, whose creations would then be translated into English by another set of pets. Like a poetical UN. Intrigued, I requested a review copy from Gingko, which duly arrived yesterday. Running through the poems gave me the distinct impression that the collection was unfinished – that to match a production by Goethe, & the musical poetics of Hafiz, a single synthesizing mind had to work the ‘notes’ to order. With yesterday also being my last day reviewing at the Edinburgh Fringe, & with a full month’s worth of poesis stored in my creative antechambers, the catalyst had been sparked. I felt almost like Hammer did when hearing Hafiz in the original Persian for the first time, now compelled to translate it into German.  I felt almost like Goethe did on hearing Hammer’s translation for the first time, now compelled to create a western reply to Hafiz.


This morning I set to work. The vast majority of Goethe’s Divan is cast in octosyllabic metre, with simple but effective rhyme schemes. This of course I had to emulate, into which mould I would try & replicate the literary trickery of high-brow Persian poetics. Ultimately its the spirit of Goethe we are trying to please here, and I’m sure he’d be quite averse to Free Verse.

Its still early days of course,  but a project worth pursuing. This morning I began transcreating the openings of five of the 24 poems, & am satisfied, even happy, with the effort thus far. Once I have opened all 24 poems – perhaps this evening in the Lammermuirs – I will then turn to them one-by-one & publish them here in 2s or 3s. The resulting piece, then, drawn from A New Divan, I shall name THE New Divan. 


Hafiz, Herr Goethe, wait for me!

Forming triplet fraternity,

By chance, or not by chance, I heard,

Entrancing dances of the word,

Rose Voice of East, rose Voice of West,

Where voices lay choice words to rest,

I’ll pluck them up, I’ll dust them down,

Then cap them with my laurel crown.



An Interview with the Mumble


Damian Beeson Bullen’s definitive 2019 collection has been described as ‘The Sgt. Pepper’s of Poetry.’

Me - Profile (2).jpgHello Damo, so when did you realise you were a poet?
My first poetical moment came when I was like 7 or 8 – there was a poetry competition at Lowerhouse Junior school in Burnley. I won I think, & the opening couplet I still remember; ‘The river flowing by is often wide & high.’ Roll on a few years & I won a Christmas story competition at Gawthorpe high school – it was the story of a leaping being who turned out to be a snowflake. There was no technical poetics, but it was a visionary metaphorical piece. A few years later I was studying music in Barnsley Music College, & it was there one night while reading through William Butler Years that I realised I was actually a poet. I quit college soon after & set off for the English South Coast with a guitar & a yellow suitcase full of poetry books.

Me at the end of my travels.jpg

What are your thoughts on the poetic art itself?
There’s a passage in Plato’s Euthyphro which always piqued my interest, I really feel it defines what the poetic art is all about. ‘He (Daedalus) only made his own products mobile, while I apparently make other people’s mobile as well as my own.’ This ‘mobility’ is what makes the magical energy of the best poetry fly on the wings of inspiration into the poems of others. To my mind, poetry works on two levels, basically the local ‘zeitgeist’ & then the eternal tradition. If you look back to the 18th century, English poetry was essentially rhyming couplets in iambic pentameter. In the same way, some modern poetry editors wont even look at rhyming poetry – according to them we dwell very much the age of free verse. But like the fashion for the Georgian couplet became a busted flush during the Romantic period, free verse is also only a fashion & will inevtibaly be superceded at some point by something else. To be honest, this proliferation of Free Verse masks the fact that there are a lot of poets out there claim to be poets, but don’t really know anything about the craft. I find technique extremely important. I’m always trying to be a complete poet & I’ve realised I have to be serious about studying & experimenting with form – including free verse, of course, which I think is just a small piece in a big jigsaw.

What do you think is the poet’s role & do you identify with it?
Good question. Well, the poet has always been a teacher, but also an entertainer. I like the blend myself, keeps things interesting. A poet should also be connecting with their readers/listeners on two levels; inviting them to think is the intellectual, & inviting them to feel intuitively is the spiritual. The latter is the seer element to poetry, what the Romans called the Vates. Some say poets are merely the human receptacles of divine inspiration, & there’s probably some truth in that. As Horace says in his Ars Poetica, ‘It is not enough for poetry to be beautiful; it must also be pleasing & lead the hear’s mind where it will.’ I also love Phillip Sydney’s, ‘this purifying of wit, this enritching of memory, enabling of judgementy, & enlarging of conceyt, which commonly we call learning, under what name soever it com forth, or to what immediat end soever it be directed, the final end is to lead & draw us to as high a perfection as our degenerate soules, made worse by theyr clayeye lodgings, can be capable of.’

What is it about composing poetry you love the most?
Its difficult to explain. Its part validation, part duty, part pleasure – there’s nothing like exercising the mind. I also do most of my formal composition, lets say, out in the fields, up in the hills, walking with notebook, paper & my thoughts. There is also nothing like the feeling of knowing you’ve just written a poem which contains the pure juice of Parnassus – you can just tell when it happens. As an artist, I am fascinated with the prosodic elements of poetry – the Welsh call it cynghanned, & its not called composition for nothing. You’ve got to create a symphony in the mind. I do love my music & poetry is, to me, an instrument as important as my bass guitar.

Can you tell us about Completely Novel?
Completely Novel is a brilliant way to circumvent the cliquey world of publishing. They are a fabulous self-publishing service who facilitate print-on demand copies being sent anywhere in the world at a few clicks of a button. I pay a wee hosting fee every much – its not much at all – & get to publish ten books, all with shiny ISBN numbers. Its brilliant. They’re really nice folk to work with too. There’s nothing to stop me ordering as many books as I want, as well, to sell independently or through bookstores.

You have just released a collection of poetry through Completely Novel called MUSICALS. How did you choose the poems to be included?
I selected the poems from 20 years of composition. Some, especially the sonnets, are just as they were composed originally. Others can be quite edited-down versions of longer epyllia. The poem about Pendle Hill, for example, is about 5 percent of the full piece – it contains the quintessence of my inspirations ,if you will. Over the years I’ve always had moments of editorial, when I’d look at my all work in the bank, & see where my new compositions fitted in to the overall scheme. Its a bit like a crawling snake – the ancient symbol for wisdom by the way –  after every pulse forward it pauses & half recedes, & from the retrogressive movement collects the force which again carries it forward. With Musicals I think I’ve finally reached my destination, or at least a place to hang out for a while, promote the book, do some readings & stuff, maybe even some slams. It’s been over a decade since I performed my poetry in public.

Are there any unifying themes?
There sure are. Poetry is about bringing all of its constituent parts into harmony. With Musicals the same principles apply, & the book is flush with harmonizing forms & themes. At its core the text is an autobiographical journey across the world. I’ve also got a nice sub-plot with a romantic interest called ‘Rosie’ – its a Stone Roses thing, big fan. She’s actually an amalgamation of a number of ‘love poems’ what I’ve written over the years. The lady I’m with now, however, provided most of these – she’s my proper soul-mate, like, my muse. As for the title, of course we have the ‘muse’ embedded in the name, but I also feel like each of the chapters is a bit like a musical – a combination of narrative, drama & lyricisim.

You have put Musicals online for anyone to read – what’s all that about?
Well, Lord Byron said a true gentleman shouldn’t make any money from writing. He did make a fortune the sale of Newstead Abbey, though, enough to fund an army in the Greek War of Independence, so he would say that. The idea is essentially they same, tho, anyone can read my work online – but, if I sell copies that’s a bonus. I am not alone in appreciating the true beauty of proper books is their tactility – so I’m catering for both worlds here, the modern internet-haunter & the traditional lover of the page. You’ve also gotta go with the times, & my online versions will eventually all have youtube videos of me reading the poetry. Another bonus to doing it online is that I can make corrections & improvements at any point. My plan is to release fresh editions of the book by uploading a new file & replacing the old one – its quite a simple process really. So in 2020 there will most probably by a second edition of Musicals.

Musicals has been described as ‘the Sgt. Pepper’s of poetry,’ why is that?
Well, I think it’s the mixture of form & content. With Pepper’s you have English country garden vibes, Indian mysticism, proper rock & Roll, all complemented by a wide variety of instruments & musicianship. In a similar war Musicals expresses political terza rima, transcreations of Tamil love paeans, reworkings of English folk songs, free verse sonnets, French sonnets composed in Italian – I could go on. There’s loads of influences in there, its packed.

casa.PNG Capture

What other titles have you released?
Musicals is the ninth book in what I call the Pendragon Collection. A few years ago I kinda realised I had actually embark’d on something like the classical bardic training as described by Julius Ceasar. This passage I basically took to heart & soul & it became my mantra; ‘In their schools they are said to learn by heart an extraordinary number of lines, and in sometimes to remain under instruction for as many as twenty years.’ I started to take the poetic vocation seriously in in 1997/98 – I was 21 years old at the time – so as my own twenty years of training began to climax, I thought it prudent to draw a line in the sand of my studies. The final collection has 9 titles, of course; alongside Musicals there are another five collections of poetry, including my main epic, Axis & Allies, which I pretty much worked on during the full twenty years.

The vast majority of poems in the Musicals collection are taken from these five volumes, excepting Axis & Allies – essentially, this epic is for posterity, but Musicals for the now. The Pendragon Collection also includes essays on poetry, personal epistles telling the stories of my adventures, & the final volume of the nine, which I’ll be re-releasing later this year, an assemblage of historical studies called The Chisper Effect.

So what have people to expect from Musicals?
Well for a start its the very best of my very best work, & that means colour. I try & put a lot of colour in my poetry – so much modern stuff is like a twilight sky of opalescent grey! There’s also the travelling element – people get to go to Italy, Greece, India, America & even beautiful Burnley. I enjoy poems of place, Byron’s Childe Harold & Wordsworth’s Tours of Europe for example, so it was natural that I’d create something similar. Along the way its a composite blend of all the ‘Ms’ – theres a mixture of music, moods, moulds (ie forms) & measures Just as a poem’s form can be divided into MEASURE & MOULD, so a poet’s voice is divided into two composite halves; the MOOD & the MUSIC. The Mood can be defined as a trance which envelops the poet as they compose their piece. The Music is the pure artifice of linguistic creation as the poets translate their Mood into words. Understanding such a pretext, the order of poetical creation is as this; Mood (then) Music (then) Measure (then) Mould.

What is the poetical future of Damian Beeson Bullen?
Well, I’ve just set up a youtube channel into which I’m going to pour as much poetry knowledge as possible (subscribe here). At some point I’ll be filming me reading every poem from Musicals, which I’ll put on the channel… mult-media presentation of the material & all that. Compositionwise, I’m just coming towards the end of the American Epic – Stars & Stripes. I’ve been composing it since September 2017, & as of the 20th March 2019 I’ve got about 25 stanzas left out of 245. Its funny being a Burnley boy writing the American Epic. But no-one else has done was or was doing it – I guess there’s not many epic poets about these days. Anyways, my lady is American & directly descended from a colonel who fought with George Washington against the British. That was the catalysts & I’ve produced some good stuff I think. When that’s finished I’ve got a sneaky suspicion I’m gonna write something about The Troubles in Northern Ireland, maybe have Seamus Heaney guiding me like Virgil led Dante through Hell.



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American Tinderwolves


Yes! Yes! Yes! Very excited at the moment. I’m just putting the finishing touches to a definitive collection of my poems. The best bits of twenty years of writing, plus some really good stuff that has been blossoming into my mind recently like fields of Winter cale. Last night I powered on into & through my notes, & came up with the final new piece for the collection – American Tinderwolves – a landscape portrait of the social media dating phenomenon.



Fifteen years since Facebook,
Seven since Tinder,
Deft swipe left, swipe right on Mr Right,
Millennials’ howitzer love,
Orgasmless orgies of unorganic matches,
Fyre Festival, Baby!

The great American city,
Melting pots of broken egos,
Perfect Mexican food,
Favignana tuna-girls waiting to be spear’d
By stray Tamil peacocks
Buffeting unhomeopathic streets.

In the south west of Arkansas
A reddish factory chimney totters,
The old gal who once work’d their sighs;
So many memories, good & bad,
Nearby her grandaughter’s on her phone,
Lost in the Now’s ever-enticing grap.

After Humanity’s greatest revolutions;
Agricultural, industrial, technological,
Masturbating with strangers on Skype,
Heteroflexible, genderfluid jargonelles
No-one knows who they are anymore,
Scattersouls titching day to day.

Like the colony-forming smooth sumac
An epidemic of opioid dimesions
Sweeps thro’ Californian beanfields,
Flaps along Manhattan skylines,
Twitterbirds & Tinderwolves,
Isolated with patiences of puppies.

When I was dating, wearing slippers
I used to take the family phone
The door-cubicle at Seven Arran Street,
& natter for hours,
Meet up later, kiss, then meet again,
& maybe, just maybe, get married!

Humanity steers towards sex,
Human evolution needs sex,
Do drunken frat guys ever grow up,
Penis pics & bits of sleazy text,
‘I would love to ride you!’
‘Hey wanna suck my dick?’


Tinder, OkCupid, Bumble, Hinge, Meash, Revealr, Tastebuds, Hapn;
Having a blast travelling round the world –
In London for a couple of days,
I’m looking for someone to explore with.’

Are women merely body parts?
Bastillions in an uneven playing field,
Scrolling thro’ blogs of beautiful peers
For hours of futile hours,
Never gonna be, never gonna have,
By low self esteem envelop‘d.

In these Barbie & Ken technocultures,
Unreal, ideal relationships
Stelliferous perfection for all to see,
Overwhelming physical appearances,
Everything & so much of what you are
Depends on looks & smiling.

Packs of Tinderwolves leave the woods,
Guys flashing engorged fish,
Sexually provocative gals
Puckering out cleavage,
Breast flesh & friendliness,
Sex always sells.

It’s a turkey shoot at the Turkey Dump,
Sliding superficially into fossick DMs;
Pay money, improve emojis, get laid quicker,
White pecking pigeons loving the game,
The out-of-body ‘its a match’ jackpot,
Or going back & try your luck again.

She’s large-glass tispy for her date.
He’s late, shes drunk, thinking of bailing,
*frantic group Whatsapp*
Umm he’s here ohmygod.
‘I thought he had blonde hair?

‘My roommate would love you!’
Out goes the emergency text,
In comes the emergency call,
‘Your brother’s in the hospital…’
‘Your dog just died!’
Running in heels. Far.

The allure of sex keeps us consuming,
Everybody’s multi-messsaging,
Termites in a mound of shite,
Cushioning back-up prospects,
Protecting peripheral phantasies,
Polyamorous buffet love.

Ruthless romeos, predators pouncing,
Supersensitve issueladens;
Guys are balls in a pinball machine,
Girls are flippers defending the hole,
Pushing them in right directions
To stack up pussy-points.

Can a clitiris commit
To only one tongue?
Early morning dipouts,
Sympodial confusions,
When one little phone call
Could clear up everything.

Guys open the Kittenfish Catalogue,
Looking for half-night hook-ups,
Thinking they deserve perfect tens,
When of course they’re only sixes,
Unleasing Tinder Tsunamis
In fourteen-pages of vulgarity.

Where floateth intimacy’s preciousness,
Established by passion-trysts inseperable?
Swamp’s by dates of sexual obligation,
Tin-kettle time, innoculated chemistry,
& then we start making out like fish,
Ignorant of pneumatological desires.


Sometimes situationships develop,
After a successful Cuffing Season ;
Southern Belles looking for their Cowboys,
I’ve never fucked a black girl –
Breadcrumbing becomes Benching,
Until Netflix Chills the norm!

He tells her he loves her, lactescently,
Lovebombing like a hardshell stalker,
But stashing her into non-existence
Until 4 AM – ‘Hey you wake up
Time to come & sit on my face now!’
Slow Fade follows, then dismettl’d Ghost.

I walk hand-in-hand with my Rosie
The great American city on our ears
She says she loves me as much as New York
Well, as much as its Harlequinade
We fell in love in a natural environ
As on West Thirty-Ninth, near pier Seventy-Nine

As she’s messaging someone else’s fuckbuddy
As she’s walking down a sunlit street,
She bumps into her one true soul mate,
But with both of them focuss’d on little screens,
They move on without the slightest of glances –
Unmatch’d, unromanced, & sad… forever!






Saint Patrick’s Boyhood Home

Getting out the Tithe Parish map of Briercliffe, 1845 (Burnley Library)

Using the secret histories locked within words, Damian Beeson Bullen identifies the boyhood home of Saint Patrick

I have been often startled by the latent powers of words, when even the smallest & most innocuous of place-names can be an eternal storehouses of so much history. I urge anyone this day to take a walk in the countryside, note the names of the cloughs & the hills, & let us weave a secret history, drawn from the phonetical landscape. SW Partington, in his ‘Danes in Lancashire,’ writes of this most pleasurable of literary past-times;

An eloquent modern writer has declared, with a good reason, that even if all other records had perished, “anyone with skill to analyse the language, might re-create for himself the history of the people speaking that language, and might come to appreciate the divers elements out of which that people was composed, in what proportion they were mingled, and in what succession they followed one upon the other.” From a careful analysis of the names of the more prominent features of the land; of its divisions, its towns and villages, and even its streets, as well as the nomenclature of its legal, civil, and political institutions, its implements of agriculture, its weapons of war, and its articles of food and clothing, — all these will yield a vast fund of history.

In recent days, while looking at the places & names of places around my home town of Burnley in Lancashire, to which I added a rather copious amount of reading, I believe I have made a discovery of some significance – the location of Saint Patrick’s boyhood home. Before he spread the name of Jesus throughout pagan Ireland, the young Saint Patrick was just doing the things that young lads do in a place called by him Bannavem Taburniae. He tells us as much in a precious, self–penn’d ‘Confessio’ in which we may read;

I, Patrick, a sinner, a most simple countryman, … had for my father the deacon Calpurnius, son of the late Potitus, a priest of the settlement of Bannavem Taburniae; he had a small villula nearby where I was taken captive. I was at that time about sixteen year of age… I was taken into captivity in Ireland with many thousands of people.

Here we learn how Patrick was taken to Ireland by some kind of slave raid – so his home must have been within striking distance of the coast. We also discover that his father, Calpurnius, was a Christian official called a ‘deacon,’ & he was connected to the settlement of Bannavem Taburniae. Finally, we learn that near Bannavem lay was the family villula, which translates as the country house of a farmstead.


On first examination, the name Bannavem Taburniae seems corrupt, & indeed c.700 AD, the situation was clarified by Patrick’s hagiographer, Milúch, who tells us, ‘this place, as I am informed beyond hesitation or doubt, is Ventre.’ This lets us create a new name-combination for the boyhood home of Patrick, being; Banna Venta Burniae. There is another Bannaventa in Britain, near the village of Norton in Northamptonshire, & is named thus in the mid-second century ‘Itinerary’ of Antonius Pius. What we may logically conclude is that the second Bannaventa came later, with an addition of ‘Burniae’ applied for the purpose of differentation.

I would now like to point our investigation in the direction of 10th century in England, when the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle spells the same person’s name differently in succeeding entries;

A.D. 931. This year died Frithstan… and Brynstan was blessed in his place.
A.D. 932. This year Burnstan was invested Bishop of Winchester

What we can infer here is that during the 930s Burn & Bryn (Brun) were interchangeable, & the alteration may have been brought about by Athelstan himself for he was recorded by Layamon’s Brut (c.1200) as instigating etymological changes during his reign;

How Athelstan here arrived out of Saxland
& how he set all England in his own hand…
& the names of the towns in saxish speech…
& in Saxish he gan speak the names of the men.

Numismatic support for an earlier ‘burn’ comes upon coins minted by Athelstan’s father & grandfather – Alfred the Great – which give the moneyer’s name as Bernvald.


h1411x22.jpgSuch knowledge allows us now to create with confidence a slightly different name for Patrick’s boyhood home; Banna Venta Bruniae. Later in the 930s, in 937, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records the Battle of Brunanburh. This epic conflagration saw King Athelstan of England defeat a confederacy of Vikings, Scots & Northern Britons. Variant names for the battle are given by Symeon of Durham – Wendune/Weondune – & the anonymous Scandinavian text, Egil’s Saga – Vinheath. These alternative names have proven problematic to academic inquiry, but may now be reconciled with the Brunanburh name through Patrick’s Banna Venta Burniae, locking these two historical jigsaw pieces fast together. Furthermore, both the ‘dune’ & ‘heath’ elements of Wendune & Vinheath mean the same as banna: pinnacle, peak, mountain, bare hill, etc. A little extra glue comes from the fact that just as Milúch describes Banna Venta as being ‘a place not far from our sea’ – i.e. The Irish Sea – so after the battle of Brunanburh, the defeated Vikings fled to their ships & entered the Irish Sea on the same day as the battle.

The West-Saxons pushed onward
all day; in troops they pursued the hostile people.
They hewed the fugitive grievously from behind

Departed then the Northmen in nailed ships.
The dejected survivors of the battle,
On Dingesmere, sought Dublin over the deep water,
to return to Ireland, ashamed in spirit.


I don’t have the space to offer a complete survey of the Brunanburh case, but there can be no doubt that wherever the battle was fought, on account of covering both Dark Age bases, the boyhood home of Patrick must be now be the leading location. As to where this was situated, there is a great deal of evidence both subtle & blatant that points to Burnley as being the area in which the Saxon fortified ‘burh’ of Brunanburh once stood. Quite tangibly, its trenches can still be made out to this day at a place called Castle Hill near Townley Hall.

Castle Hill lies on the round hill just behind Townley Hall.
The Western Trench @ Castle Hill…

An Anglo-Saxon burh formed the central administrative point of the administrative ‘Tun,’ from which we get the name Tunlay, & thus, Townley. In the 12th century, Towneley formed part of an ancient township called ‘Tunlay-with Brunshaw,’ with the latter name meaning ‘Brun’s Wood.’ The clearing, or ‘lea,’ in this wood would eventually become Brunlea, & if my calculations are correct, the name-flip from Burn to Brun instigated by Athelstan in the 10th century would last last more than three centuries 0 before reverting to its original form in the late 13th century as Burnley.

Further back in the first millennium AD, evidence for Roman settlement in the Burnley area leading up to the birth of Patrick comes in the name of the town of Colne, which appears as Calna in a charter of Henry I. This leads to the the Ravenna Cosmography Calunio, placed in the right area of Lancashire between Ribchester & Ilkley. When analyzing its history, we should  notice that in the lists of Northern Roman camps, Calunio was not in existence in the time of Ptolemy (2nd century AD), but exists in the 6th century, when it appears in the Ravenna Cosmography.

To the north, at Barnoldswick, ran a major arterial Roman road, from which minor roads branched into the Burnley area, such as the one that goes past Portfield on Pendle – the ‘Ad Alpes Peninos’ given in Richard of Cirencester Itineray –  passing the villages of Sabden & Newchurch on the slopes of the same hill, down into Barrowford, along Wheatley Lane, up again to Castercliffe hill fort  – which may have been Calunio itself – & then on into Yorkshire where it concludes at Ilkley, given as Alicana in the Roman geographies. There are also traces of another road that goes through Burnley itself, up to Cliviger, then over the moors to Slack, near Huddersfield, where the ‘Cambodnum’ Roman fort is sited.

Numerous Roman coins have been found in the Pendle-Burnley area; in the sunken lane at the foot of Castercliffe, at Wheatley lane, in Burnley & finally at Emmot, near Colne, where according to TT Whitaker, writing in the year 1800, ‘a large silver cup filled with them was turned up by the plough in the latter end of the 17th century.’ Speculating further, Roman forts were generally attended on by the local population, who lived next to or near the fort in a settlement described as a vici – the semantics of which can be observed in the name, Wycoller, a time-capsule village just to the east of Colne.

Returning to the investigation of Patrick’s boyhood home, there is more information given in his ‘Confessio’ which proves relevant. To carry the investigation further, let us analyze the names Venta, Ventry, & by association, Wen. All these names suggest that by Patrick’s time a group of Roman foedarati from a tribe known as the Wends had settled in the Burnley area. According to Wulfstan, they heralded from a place called Weonodland,’ as in; ‘Weonodland was on his starboard side and to portside, he had Langeland, Lolland, Falster and Scania. These countries all belong to Denmark.’ Clearly, when Symoen of Durham named ‘Weondune,’ he was referring to the ‘dune’ of the ‘Weonds.’ Other names for the tribe include;

Old English: Winedas
Old Norse: Vindr
German: Wenden, Winden
Danish: Vendere

These variants connect neatly with the Vinheath of Egil’s Saga, which in Burnley terms links to the hamlet of Winewall near Colne, & I am quite sure the Battle of Winwead was fought at Barrowford.

The arrival of the Wends seems connected to their defeat in Europe by the Romans in 277 AD, after which they were given lands in Britain. Zosimus writing of a Roman general called Probus, states, ‘his second battle was with the Franks, whom he completely conquered with the help of his generals. Then he fought the Burgundians & Vends… When the armies engaged each other, some of the barbarians were slain, others were taken prisoner by the Romans, & the rest sued for peace, accepting the condition that they surrender their booty & prisoners, but since, although their request was granted, they did not hand over everything, the emperor angrily punished them by attacking them on their retreat. Many were killed & their leader, Igillus, taken prisoner, & all the captives were sent across to Britain where they proved very useful to the emperor in subsequent revolts.’

The last sentence is key, for it places the Wends in Britain at a place well-sited for handling a rebellion, suggesting a northern location. If this was in Lancashire, we can understand the proper origins of a number of Probus coins found in the county; such as at Worden, on the outskirts of Leyland, whose name also seems a variation of ‘weodune’ Similar coins were also discovered at Burnley itself, where WT Watkin describes 126 copper coins known as ‘radiates’ of the late third century AD, while the coins found at Castercliffe were minted at the same period.

My wife at Pendle, a couple of miles from Roughlee.

Wendish tribal sub-groups included the Sorbs & the Ruggi, both of whose names are present at Pendle Hill, the great whale-back peak which dominates the Burnley skyline. The village of Sabden (Sapedene 1296) means ‘long, narrow valley of the Sabs,’ the ‘Sab’ phonetic of this name being quite rare in Britain, & of unknown origin. Yet it is easy to introduce the idea that Sabden was once ‘Sorbden.’ ‘The present-day Sorbs,’ writes Gerald Stone, ‘may be regarded as descendants of the Slavs who moved into Lusatia in the 6th & 7th centuries… it seems likely that the ethnic name srbi was then in use among them & was later retained both by the Sorbs & by those other Slavs (the Serbs) who moved southwards to the Danube.

Another Wendish subgroup were known as the Rugii, whose name seems to have inspired the Pendleside village of Roughlea, known formely as Rugelea. In the 8th century, the venerable Bede stated that the Rugii formed part of the composite Anglo-Saxon layer to the English gene-pool;

The Angles or Saxons, who now inhabit Britain… are still corruptly called ‘Garmans’ by the neighbouring nation of the Britons. Such are the Frisians, the Rugini, the Danes, the Huns, the Old Saxons, and the Boructuari

We may also detect the Rugi element in an alternate slave-name given to saint Patrick; Fiacc’s hymn tells us; ‘He was six years in slavery; Human food he ate it not. Cothraige he was called.’ At the other side of the valley in which Burnley lies, we come to the hamlet of Roggerham. This is where things get interesting, because hard by the modern village there are the remains of a building, dated to the mid 4th century, given the name Ring Stones Camp. The Wends are known for building circular camps such as the this one, a visit to which was recorded over centuries ago, by  TT Wilksonson;

Passing through Thursden Valley, to a corresponding crest on the opposite ridge called Bonfire Hill, at the distance of about a mile, we find another circular intrenchment, 130 feet in diameter… This encampment is surrounded by an earthwork rampart, which is still comparatively perfect on three of its sides, and easily traceable on the fourth. The rampart measures 700 feet in length by 450 in average breadth


At once we gain a semi-hit to the final variant name given for Patrick’s boyhood home by the ancient sources. The Hymn of Fiacc, traditionally ascribed it to a fifth century bard, tells us Patrick was born at ‘Nemthur.’ Now this does not necessarily mean it was the same place as Banna Venta, but the ‘thur’ element does appear in the ‘Thursden,’ which may have once been called ‘Nemthur’s den.’ The name seems to derive from nemeton, which means ‘sacred space’ in Brythonic, & which easily becomes Eamoton, a place where Athelstan received fealty from the petty kings of Britain – & then Emmot. This place lies near Colne, where a sacred well called ‘Hallown’ has been sited since deep antiquity supporting the Nemeton link. There is also the intriguingly tantalizing possibility that ‘Bonfire Hill’ derives from Bannaventa, as in;


Another early antiquarian visit to Ring Stones was made by James Stonehouse’s in the mid-19th century;

As we pursue our ramble along the road towards Roggerham, we arrive at a farm house on the right hand called “Rotten”; and a short way beyond it find a gate on the same side. Opening this gate we discover a narrow road, having in the centre a pavement of large boulder stones, the footway on one side being skirted by a stone wall which enclose portions of the moor; on the other a thick hedge. An unobservant person even would notice something unusual in the appearance of this bye-road. The mystery of it-if there be such a thing as a mystery-is soon made manifest. The road is found to lead upon the open moor land, and where the enclosure walls end it gradually becomes lost in the moorland and herbage, although its track can be really discovered rising over the hill before us. But before it becomes so hidden in the heather and the thick grass it passes an enclosure of some 200 feet by 160 feet, that the antiquary and the archaeologist would not fail to gaze upon with deep and absorbing interest. The road is Roman. As the Romans left it, there it is. The enclosure is Roman. As the Romans constructed it, there it is; at least what remains of their handywork. The enclosure is the remains of a fort erected by this great nation, when occupying this part of Britain. The fort is known by the people of the vicinity as “Ring Stones Camp.” The walls, at least as much as is left of them, are about a foot high from the interior surface. Outside the Vallum is a foss or ditch. It is deep in some portions, and filled up in others. It seems to be of the true V shape by the inclinator of the sides. The walls appear as strong as when the soldier mason laid stone upon stone and spread the strong concrete that has hardened till it rivals the stone in durability. At one of the sides, there is an opening where stood the Decuman gate. On the side facing it is another opening. This is the Proetorian gate, so called as being near where the Praetor fixed his quarters. In the centre of the enclosure are great inequalities of ground which, if carefully examined, will perhaps exhibit some of the arrangements of the encampment or fort.’


Ring Stones camp is located near a certain Swinden Resevoir, whose name clearly contains the ‘wendune’ semantics. It has been dated to the Fourth century on account of its great physical similarity – especially an identical gateway – with ‘Bomber Camp,’ sited by a Roman road near Gisburn, where a collection of early to mid Fourth Century pottery was unearthed. Just to the north of Swinden reservoir, at Twist Hill, there also stands another Roman-British farmstead, 44m by 40m. A bronze coin of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD 161-180) was reportedly found here in 1888, which is much earlier than Patrick, but shows an even earlier settlement of the area.

It is at this point that I will add a wee drop of speculation into my theory, I always enjoy finishing thusly, for the close connection between the camps at Gisburn & Roggerham may be in fact down to an actual human familial relationship. Where the Hymn of Fiacc tell us Patrick was; ‘Grandson of Deochain Odissus,’ a few miles to the west of Gisburn, in the delightful Forest of Bowland, we may see a River Dunsop – possibly connected to the ‘Sorbs’ – flowing into the River Hodder, which might just have been named after Odissus.

To summarise, a large Romano-British farmstead building was erected at Roggerham in the 4th century which fits the country estate image given by Patrick’s ‘villula.’ Roggerham lies near Burnley, which matches the Burniae element of Patrick’s boyhood home. Burnley seems to have been the site of the Battle of Brunanburh, also named Wendune, which translates perfectly as Patrick’s ‘Banna Venta.’ The only speculative thought is Burnley’s identification as Brunanburh – but if the battle was fought near that bonnie Lancashire town, then its clearly a case of killing two birds of mystery with one scholarly stone – & a few archaic words.