The New Divan: Electrocardigam / The Great Axe


I’ve had a bit of a brain-carousel recently, diverting a tad from The New Divan. The other day was glorious, tho’ proper fine weather for transcreation, so I took the books & Daisy outfor a walk at the Hopes in East Lothian, coming back with two new poems for The New Divan; Fatemeh Shams ‘Electrocardiogram‘ & Jaan Kaplinski’s ‘The Great Axe.’


Fatemeh Shams
Fatemeh Shams


My back she aches again today,
Three months ago they mov’d 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’s 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 medic team with smiles aflock
Chirps “We had to move it a bit,
& from today we must admit
By beating hearts please set your clock,”
Alarmic systems rotten grown,
My lover new has ask’d last night
“Are all our words & movements known?”
I thought he quizz’d me for to see
How paranoid & how crazy
I was, my shadows hid from sight,
For years my shadow’s eyes did hide
In dresses – cities far & wide,
The final shadow ran its part
& in his fist a bleeding heart –
The doctors are the shadow’s foes
& paranoia diagnose
Expertly well, & for exile
Prescibe a perfect potion’s phial,
Moving the heart to think & feel
In times when no heart’s scar could heal.




Jaan Kaplinski
Jaan Kaplinski


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!
He grew & chopp’d & splinters flew,
Heads fell & everybody knew
He was the sharpest one of all,
Most pitiless of axeheads’ fall,
Him from the toughest shell was cast
The special spirit naught could rust,
Let no-one ken the truth display’d,
He was just normal, iron-made,
Of brittle rust was he afraid,
Standing alone before mirror
He would check, those new red stains were
Upon his blade? He tried to wash
Away the rust stains with blood fresh
From wounds, but not enough to hide,
Until his peace one day defied,
Smashing the mirror angrily,
He fell inside some phantasie
Beyond the Looking Glass’s ledge,
Near marshes large by forest edge,
& realised his place was there,
In that swamp’s pool, & full aware
He transformed could be back into
A fist of mud-brown bog ore goo!




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 True Uther & King Arthur’s Grand-dad


For my latest post I thought I’d plug the second edition of The Chisper Effect, which you can read & buy here. I’ve basically streamlined the investigations into a story of sorts, started with the Indian Jesus & travelling through the world of King Arthur in the  mystery of the Holy Grail. It was during the assembly of this second edition that I uncovered some really interesting truth-tallies that increase our knowledge of Uther Pendragon, King Arthur’s legendary father. At this point we can place him bothamong the Picts AND in the West Country.

1: Uther is Duke Gorlois

Gorlois, Duke of Cornwall, was there, with his wife Igerne, that in beauty did surpass all the other dames of the whole of Britain. And when the King espied her amidst the others, he did suddenly wax so fain of her love that, paying no heed unto none of the others, he turned all his attention only upon her… At last, committing the siege into charge of his familiars, he did entrust himself unto the arts and medicaments of Merlin, and was transformed into the semblance of Gorlois… They then went their way toward Tintagel, and at dusk hour arrived at the castle. The porter, weening that the Duke had arrived, swiftly unmade the doors, and the three were admitted. For what other than Gorlois could it be, seeing that in all things it seemed as if Gorlois himself were there? So the King lay that night with Igerne. (Big Geoff)

When Geoffrey of Monmouth created the Arthurian Birth Certificate, he got round the confusion that both Uther & Duke Gorlois were the father of Arthur by having one magically transformed into the other.  The name Gorlois transchispers into Gorlasser of the ancient Welsh poem, the Death-Song of Uther Pendragon.

2: Uther is Gorlassar

indexAm I not with hosts making a din?
I would not cease, between two hosts, without gore.
Am I not he that is called Gorlassar?
Have I not been accustomed to blood about the wrathful,
A sword-stroke daring against the sons of Cawrnur?
I shared my shelter,
a ninth share in Arthur’s valour.
I broke a hundred forts.
I slew a hundred stewards.
I bestowed a hundred mantles.
I cut off a hundred heads.
I gave to an old chief
very great swords of protection.
Is it not I that performed the rights of purification,
When Hayarndor went to the top of the mountain?
To my deprivation, to my sorrow, sinew was brave.
The world would not be if not for my offspring.
I am a bard to be praised.
I am a bard, and I am a harper,
I am a piper, and I am a crowder.
Of seven score musicians the very great enchanter.
There was of the enamelled honor the privilege.
Hu of the expanded wings.
Thy son, thy barded proclamation,
Thy steward, of a gifted father.
My tongue to recite my death-song.
If of stone-work the opposing wall of the world.
May the countenance of Prydain be bright for my guidance.
Sovereign of heaven, let my messages not be rejected

In the Death-Song, Uther is given a northern background if we connect Cawrnur with King Caw of Strathclyde.We also have the mention of ‘Prydain,’ the archaic term for Pictavia. The northern element of the Uther canvas allows us to chisper ‘Gorlasser’ into the ‘Gleissiar of the North’ as found in the triads.

3: Uther is Gleissiar

Three Brave Men of the Island of Britain: Gruddnei, and Henben, and Edenawg. They would not return from battle except on their biers. And those were three sons of Gleissiar of the North, by Haearnwedd the Wily their mother. (Triads)

Examining the first element of the name of Gleissiar’s wife, ‘Haearnwedd,’ we gain credible link to Big Geoff’s Igerne, as in ‘Ig-Hearn.’ At thi spoint lets just make a little graph-thinky to show how its all fitting together so far.

 Big Geoff                       Death-Song                              Triads

Gorlois                                Gorlassar                               Gleissiar

Igerne                                                                                    Haearnwedd

Tintagel                          Attacks Cawrnur                    ‘of the North




In the Death-Soong, Uther declares himself as ‘the very great enchanter,’ & ‘a bard to be praised.’ According to Julius Ceasar, becoming a bard was the first step on a twenty year learning curve that ended up being a master druid. ‘Report says,’ writes Ceasar, ‘that in the schools of the Druids they learn by heart a great number of verses, and therefore some persons remain twenty years in training.‘ That he is cgiven the epithet, Pendragon, ie ‘Chief Dragon,’ is reflected in the poem’s ‘Hu of the expanded wings.’ George Oliver writes, ‘the Druids had a high veneration for the Serpent. Their great god, Hu, was typified by that reptile; and he is represented by the Bards as ‘the wonderful chief Dragon, the sovereign of heaven,’ Hu was a Sumerian-Egyptian god, the personification of Divine Utterance, the voice of the poets.’

The notion of a leading druid goes back to at least Ceasar, who recorded, ‘of all these Druids one is chief, who has the highest authority among them. At his death, either any other that is prominent in position succeeds, or if there be several of equal standing, they strive for the primacy by the vote of the Druids.’ The Life of Saint Patrick mentions a chief druid, naming him a Primus Magus, reflecting his magical powers. The name given him by in Manx was Kion-Druaight or Ard-Druaight. Translating Kion & Ard into Welsh, we are given Pen, & the Druaight is extremely close to Draig, Welsh for Dragon, as in;





In The Death-Song Uther sings, ‘am I not with hosts making a din / I would not cease, between two hosts, without gore.’ This reflects the position the druids took up between two armies, ringing bells & chanting to the gods, as stated by Diodorus Siculus (44BC); Frequently, during hostilities, when armies are approaching each other with swords drawn and lances extended, these men rushing between them put an end to their contention, taming them as they would tame wild beasts.’


519: Two Drests – Drest son of Girom, Drest  son of Uudrost
529: Garthnach son of Girom  Pictish King List

Arthur, Dux Pictorum, ruling realms of the interior of Britain, resolute in his strength, a very fierce warrior, seeing that England was being assaulted from all sides, and that property was being stolen away, and many people taken hostage and redeemed, and expelled from their inherited lands, attacks the Saxons in a ferocious onslaught along with the kings of Britain, and rushing upon them, fought valiantly, coming forward as leader in twelve battles. Lambert of Saint-Omer

The identity of the two Drests who ruled between 519 & 529 are otherwise unknown, but the fact that they ruled together & that their parents were Girom & Uudrost is highly significant. Uudrost would be Uther Pendragon, while Girom appears as Gigurnus, or Gygurn, in alternate versions of the genealogy. Following the Drests is Garthnach son of Gygurn, & dropping the guttural ‘g’ from the names gives us Arthnach son of Ygurn, who should be the same man as Arthur son of Igerne. It comes as no surprise to see how the Triads’, ‘Gruddnei… son of Gleissiar… by Haearnwedd,’ philochisps into Gartnait, a common alternate name for Garthnach as given in the lists. This suggests that Gleissiar’s other sons, Henben & Edenawg, are the two Pictish Drests who ruled before Garthnach/Arthur. All this allows us to expand our  ID chart.

 Big Geoff           Death-Song                  Triads                         King-List

Gorlois                  Gorlassar                       Gleissiar                      Uudrost

Igerne                                                              Haearnwedd                Gygurn

Tintagel               Attacks Cawrnur           ‘of the North’            Fathers a Pictish King

Arthur                     Arthur                               Gruddnei                  Gathnait/Garthnach



Three Tribal Thrones of the Island of Prydain:  Arthur the Chief Lord at Menevia, and David the chief bishop, and Maelgwyn Gwyned the chief elder. Arthur the chief lord at Kelliwic in Cornwall, and Bishop Betwini the chief bishop, and Caradawg Vreichvras the chief elder.  Arthur the chief lord in Penrhionyd in the north, and Cyndeyrn Garthwys the chief bishop, and Gurthmwl Guledic the chief elder Triads

There is in Britain, in the land of the Picts, a palace of the warrior Arthur, built with marvelous art and variety, in which the history of all his exploits and wars is to be seen in sculpture. Lambert of St Omer

  • The name ‘Penrhionyd in the north,’ easily transchispers into Rhynie, deep in the pretty Cairngorms near Aberdeen. In the Welsh language, ‘Pen’ means ‘summit or peak,’ which renders Penrhionyd as meaning ‘Peak of Rhionyd.’ Above Rhynie towers the far-seen Tap o’ Noth, Scotland’s second highest hillfort, complete with impressive triple-ringed defense-works. It is well worth a trip to Rhynie, a remarkably compact & pretty village whose residents go about their business quite unaware they are breathing the same pure & mountain air as Arthur did during his seven-year stint as King of the Picts.
  • A definite Arthurian connection to Rhynie comes through Tintagelware, which had fanned out throughout Britain to a series of high-status sites such as South Cadbury in Somerst & also Longbury Bank in the Dyfed parish of Penally, situated within another of Arthur’s ‘Tribal Thrones.’ Just as Cadbury was home to a grand timber feasting hall; & just as at the ‘high-status’ Longbury Bank in Dyfed, Ewan Campbell & Alan Lane suggest ‘there is tenuous evidence for at least one large timber building;’ so have archeologists uncovered the post-holes & plank slots of a timber feasting hall at Rhynie.
  • More support for a Pictish Arthur begins with a glance at the King List, where we encounter a certain ‘Drest Gurthinmoch’ as ruling the Picts between 477 & 507. We can now identify the Triad’s ‘Gurthmwl’ with Gurthinmoc, for it makes perfect sense that when Arthur – the chief lord – became the King in 529, Gurthmwl/Gurthinmoc would have been described as a ‘chief elder.


We have already seen how Uther Pendragon was based in the West Country. If we look again at the genaology of the kings of Dyfed we see, ‘Cincar – Pedr – Arthur.’ The spelling Pedr is echoed in the Pictish King List, where in the the Scalacronica version held at Corpus Christi College we see a certain Budrost, whose name is given in place of Uudrost in alternate version of the King List. The Pedr-Arthur / Budrost-Garthnach / Uther-Arthur successions indicate that the Paterni Coliavi of the Artognou stone is Arthur’s father.


In 1983, A lovely piece of epigraphical evidence turned up at Tintagel itself, when a massive grass-fire raged across its promontory. Once the fire had scorched its business, the foundations of several dark-age buildings were uncovered on the promontory, one of which yielded in 1998 an extremely interesting piece of broken slate known now as the Artognou Stone. Upon it was found scribbled a sample of sub-roman ‘graffiti’ that shall prove to be the key to unlocking the mysteries of King Arthur.


Peter Coliavi made this Artognou


When I saw the letters A-R-T,’ declared the archeologist who found the slate, ‘I thought, uh-oh.’ One can imagine the excitement that rippled out from Tintagel that summer, the discovery sending historians & linguists scrambling to identify what the word Artognou meant, with the ‘gnou’ element getting everybody all confused. A few possibilities were mentioned, but no-one got anywhere really – the connection to Arthur was deemed unproven & the whole thing slowly forgotten. The thing is, the slate is broken off at just the place where ‘Artognou’ ends, meaning the word could well have contained more letters. It is all a case of thinking outside the box, or in this case outside the dark-age slate. So I started chucking some of our 26 noble glyphs at the inscription & found that by adding a single letter ‘s,’ we gain the word ARTOGNOUS,’ or ‘Artogenous,’ a Latin word meaning ‘of the gens/family of Arto.’ The slate’s inscription should then be rendered as;

Paterni Coliavi made this, of the family of Arto

  • A solid candidate for Paterni turns up in the 7th century Life of Saint Turian. This vita was thought lost until 1912, when it was unearthed by Tabbe Duin in the Public Library of Clermont, France, whose archaic nomenclature suggests a very early date of composition, c.700AD. In chapter five of the vita, a virgin named Meldoch speaks to King Graddalon about his seat in heaven being;

A place destined from him in the kingdom of god, close to Constantine, a king beyond the sea, the son of Peterni, of Cornwall

  • The 16th century Aberdeen Breviary confirms that (Saint) Constantine’s father was ‘Paterni Regis Cornubie,’ i.e. Paterni, the king of Cornwall, a perfect match to the ‘Paterni’ of the Artognou Stone. According to Big Geoff, Constantine was Arthur’s ‘kinsman,’ supporting the Artognou Stone’s Peterni as being, ‘of the family of Arto.
  • The Jesus College genealogies show a certain ‘Peder’ listed among the sons of ‘Glois.’ Ewein vab keredic. Pedroc sant. Kynvarch. Edelic. Luip. Clesoeph. Sant. Perun. Saul. Peder. Katwaladyr. Meirchyawn. Margam Amroeth. Gwher. Cornuill. Catwall. Cetweli. Gwrrai. Mur (JC20)
  • We can connect the ‘Coliavi’ of the Artognou Stone to Gorlois thro’ the following babel-chain.

Coliavi – Gleve – Glevesing – Glywysyg – Glywys – Glois – Gorlois

This places the Gorlois clan in South Wales, as confirmed positively in the 11th century Life of Saint Cadog by Lifris of Llancarfan.

There reigned formerly on the borders of Britain, called Dimetia, a certain regulus, named Glywys, from whom all the country of that district, in all the days of his life, was called Glywysyg

From the evidence garnered thus far, it seems that Cyngar, the king of Dyfed who ruled before Pedr, would also be Glywys, the king of Dyfed (ie Demetia) whose son was called Peter. Congar Glywys/Coliavi! If the succession was via a bloodline, then we can hypothesize on King Arthur’s paternal grandfather being Saint Congar. That he founded a monastery at Cadbury leads naturally to the Arthurian connections, both legendary & archeologically, to South Cadbury hillfort.



According to Big Geoff, Uther Pendragon & Ambrosius Aurelianus were brothers. Where the Jesus College that has‘Peder’  among the sons of ‘Glois,’ we also find Margam Amroeth, which seems to translate as Margam Ambrosius. The village of Margam is in ‘Glywysing,’ South Wales, which leads us to a contemporary of Ambrosius – Saint Paul Aurelian. His vita, written by Wrmonoc, tells us; ‘Saint Paul, surnamed Aurelian, the son of a certain count named Perphirius, who held a position of high rank in the world, came from a province which is in the language of the British race, because a section of it is regarded as an island, is called Penychen.’Penychen was one of the cantrefs of Glywysing, placing another nobly-born Aurelian in the very area where the young Ambrosius grew up. With these matching home regions & surnames, & the fact that the name ‘Perphirius’ means ‘clad-in-purple,’ it is highly likely that they were related.

In my Arthurian studies I disovered that the father of Ambrosius was a certain Quintus Aurelius Symmachus, a member of the Symmachi branch of the Aureli gens, & the consul for the Western Empire in 446 AD. We can now make a simple babel-chain between our two fathers of Uther Pendragon.

Quintus Aurelius

Of course this is pure speculation, and at first it may seem incongruous to identify a high-ranking Roman with a religious Welsh Saint. Cyngar’s vita, however, was composed seven centuries after he lived and consists of a patchwork of other saints’ lives, reducing its credibility as biography. It is possible that only the genealogical record is useful, along with perhaps one or two true anecdotes. In Cyngar’s case, we learn he hailed from a ‘royal’ family, with his birthplace being Llanungar near St. Davids. I shall be exploring Cyngar & Quintus again in the future, but for now let us at least acknowledge that the Sub-Roman site at Cadbury/Congresbury was definitely a high status as a cultural centre, patronizing craft-workers, and having access to glass and ceramics from the Anglo-Saxon areas to the east, and from the Eastern Mediterranean, North Africa and possibly France or Spain – possible reliques of consular activity! A Roman villa has been discovered in the area, while also of relevance may be last year’s discovery at Yatton, next to Congresbury, of 300 Roman graves!

The Roman burial site discovered at Yatton (Image: Rebel Sage)


Uther Pendragon was the father of Arthur, as attested via several obscure philochisps. It seems he as from the clan of ‘Glywys,’ based in South Wales, but was also strongly connected to the north. Ygerne’s presence in the matrinlineal Pictish King List suggests she was Pictish & thus Uther would have married into the Pictish royal family. This naturally leads to Arthur being both a West Country warrior AND a Pictish King. The presence of a Pictish name – Drust – on a sub-roman stone in Cornwall reinforces the connection.

The Drsutan Stone, Fowey





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Thorolf’s Grave (Brunanburh clue)


Historical research is a bit like brewing your own wine. You get all the studies down, let it ferment for & bit, its ready to get you drunk on the buzziness of your discoveries. Yet, if you leave it a few years & have a drink, it’ll always taste better after the tantric fashion. Thus, a couple of nights ago I was reading through my Brunanburh studies & was struck by an almighty thunderbolt – something I’d overlooked, but made sooooooooooo much sense.

But first off a reminder about the battle of Brunanburh. Over the past decade or so a few contenders have been put forward as to its location, none of which are able to tick the  boxes Burnley can.

Castle Hill lies to the rear of Townley Hall
Castle Hill lies to the rear of Townley Hall

1: There is a pre-medieval fortification attached to the name Brun.

Near Townley Hall in Burnley there is a very Anglo-Saxonesque fortifaction of otherwise unknown origin, sited on a certain Castle Hill. Was this Brunanburh? Well, an Anglo-Saxon ‘burh’ formed the central administrative point of the administrative ‘Tun,’ from which we get the name Tunlay, & thus, Towneley. In the 12th century, Towneley formed part of an ancient township called ‘Tunlay-with Brunshaw,’ the latter meaning ‘Brun’s Wood.’ The progression of the name Brunan to Brun would have occured as it did with Ottanlege (972) to Otley (c.1200).

The Western Trench @ Castle Hill…
The Western Trench @ Castle Hill…

2: The Ford of the Brun

When William of Malmesbury gave the battle site as ‘Bruneford,’ & John of Fordun ‘Brunford,’ we are led to the only waterway by that name in the whole of Britain, rising on moorland a few miles to the west of Burnley. Another historian to place the battle by a river-ford was Ranulf Higden (c.1280-1364), who gave the variant spelling of Brumford. Coincidence or not, he was writing at the very period in history when Burnley’s name was given as Brumleye in a 1294 market charter. The ford it describes is probably at the heart of old Burnley, where the River Brun flows under the bridge in Church Street. In times past, in a more infant Burnley, this river crossing was passed by fords and stepping stones.


3: Etheldreda’s Ash

Where the Annals of Clonmacnoise state the battle being fought on the ‘Plains of Othlyn.’ The core phonetic of this name is to be found in the person of Saint Etheldreda, whose vita tells us that after leaving Altham she headed for Bradford in Yorkshire,  ‘as she continued on her way at a slow pace, it was arranged by God’s grace that she happened upon a place nearby, suitable as a stopping place for travelers, a remarkably flat meadow… When, after a little while, she woke up from her sleep & rose to her feet, she found that her travelling-staff, the end of which she had driven into the ground, dry & long-seasoned, was now clothed with green bark, and had sprouted and put forth leaves.’ This tree was an ash, & the miracle provides us with the philological root to Othlyn, meaning the ash tree (Celtic=ynn) of Othl/Etheldreda. That the battle was fought on the ‘plains’ of Othlyn also connects to the legend of Etheldreda’s miracle taking place on ‘a remarkably flat meadow.’ From an original of Æthelthryth or Æþelðryþe, by medieval times the name had become ‘Audrey.’ As Saint Audrey, the latter degenerated even further into the ‘Shorey’ of Shorey’s Well which can still be found at the oldest part of Burnley off Church Street.

Shorey’s Well in its original form
Shorey’s Well in its original form


4: Earls’ Ness

More evidence for the Burnley Brunanburh can be found in Egil’s Saga, where a cowardly flight from the field of Athelstan’s ally, Earl Alfgeir, gives us a vital geographical clue; ‘then he rode to the south country, and of his travel ’tis to be told that he rode a night and a day till he came westwards to Earls-ness. Then the earl got a ship to take him southwards over the sea.’ In 937, the Burnley area was part of Northumbria, but lay only thirty or so miles north of the Mercian border, which stretched between the Mersey & the Humber estuaries. Just beyond that demarcation line lay an Anglo-Saxon people known as the Southumbrians, a record of whom is found in the Chronicle, when in 702 King Kenred ‘assumed the government of the Southumbrians.’ Thus, when Alfgeir crossed the Mersey he would have entered Southumbria, the ‘South Country’ through which he would travel westwards to a certain ‘Earls Ness.’ A full night & days riding (24 hours) through the thick Lancashire forests of a thousand years ago, would have equated to somewhere between 50 & a 100 miles. This means we are looking for a sea-port called Earls Ness to the south of the Mersey & somewhere to the west of Burnley. The only other record of an Earl’s Ness in these parts of Britain is a ‘Jarlsness’ mentioned in the Orkneyinga Saga, which is the Viking sea-port called Ness/Neston on the south Wirral coast.

Alfgeir’s possible route (if he’d have had a car)
Alfgeir’s possible route (if he’d have had a car)

5: Less than a day from the Irish Sea

According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle;

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

There the North-men’s chief was put
To flight, by need constrained
To the prow of a ship with little company:
He pressed the ship afloat, the king went out
On fealene flot, he saved his life

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.


Where the ASC says ‘all the day the West Saxons pressed on the loathed bands,’ we can assume that the battle was fought within a day’s retreat of a seacoast or river estuary. Egil’s Saga provides a little extra gloss, saying the ships were ‘far’ from the field. Paul Cavill confirms that the ‘mere’ element in Dingesmere means ‘sea’ when he writes, ‘in verse, both as a simplex and as the first element of many compounds, it means ‘the sea, the ocean.’ As for the ‘Dinges’ part, it is named after the Viking ‘Ting’ on the Isle of Man, which still meets today as the Tynvald. Founded in the early 10th century – i.e. the Brunanburh period – its position at the centre of the Irish Sea indicates that the name ‘Dingesmere’ is  attached to the circular portion of the Irish Sea epicentred by the Isle of Man.

6: Vinheath

According to Egil’s Saga, the fight at Brunanburh was at first ruled by Dark Age codes of behaviour, resulting in a civilized stand-off known as ‘Hazelling the Field.’ While running through the extract, the reader should be aware that the two towns mentioned are the early prototypes of Burnley & Colne, both of which were granted to the monks of Pontefract Abbey in an 1122 charter.

After this they sent messengers to king Olaf, giving out this as their errand, that king Athelstan would fain enhazel him a field and offer battle on Vin-heath by Vin-wood.. North of the heath stood a town… The place ought to be chosen level, and whereon a large host might be set in array. And such was this; for in the place where the battle was to be the heath was level, with a river flowing on one side, on the other a large wood… From day to day Athelstan’s men said that the king would come, or was come, to the town that lay south of the heath.

The Vin element can be positively found near Colne in the phonetics of the wee hamlet of Winewall.

The Vinheath


OK – so thats the six cardinal pro-Burnley points – there are other clues, but these six are the most striking. So to my recent eureka moment, which began with reading Christine Fell’s accurate translation of Egil’s Saga;

Flame-hearted Thorolf, fear’s
Foe, Earl-killer, who so
Dared danger in Odin’s
Dark wars is dead at last.
Here, by Vina’s bank,
My brother lies under earth


So Thorolf was buried by the river Vina, was he? Crucially, Winewall’s earliest record (1324) calls it Wynwell – ‘spring of the river Wyn.’ After leaving Winewall, Colne Water soon merges with the ‘Pendle Water.’ This confluence occurs at the lovely village of Barrowford, and forms what we can assume was the River Wyn/Wine/Vina, whose headwaters creep into the hills around for a few miles above Barrowford.

Local tradition holds that Barrowford is named after some ancient burial site – i.e. a barrow – as in John Widdup’s; ‘The name “Barrowford” suggests that such a barrow formerly existed near the stream crossing, but the site of the barrow remains in dispute, as all evidence of it has been lost by land cultivation. It has been suggested that the mound on the side of the road at Park Hill marks the spot.’

The barrow at Barrowford…
The barrow at Barrowford…

This is definitely a pre-dig Sutton Hoo, Hisalrik moment. Under that mound lie the mortal bones of Thorolf, proof of which will be in the discovery of two gold bracelets as recorded  in C. Green’s 1893 translation of Egil’s Saga.

Chapter 55 – Egil buries Thorolf. While his men still pursued the fugitives, king Athelstan left the battle-field, and rode back to the town, nor stayed he for the night before he came thither. But Egil pursued the flying foe, and followed them far, slaying every man whom he overtook. At length, sated with pursuit, he with his followers turned back, and came where the battle had been, and found there the dead body of his brother Thorolf. He took it up, washed it, and performed such other offices as were the wont of the time. They dug a grave there, and laid Thorolf therein with all his weapons and raiment. Then Egil clasped a gold bracelet on either wrist before he parted from him; this done they heaped on stones and cast in mould.

The Attacotti Timeline

The Attacotti Timeline

After my very recent investigations into the Huns (last post), which led to their association of with the Attacotti, I thought it prudent to assemble the following timeline which shows how this obscure tribe was formed & remembered in history. They really only turn up in the records over a span of three or four decades, before vanishing as obscurely as they arrived. I would like to here propose that the reason for this was their absorption into the Pictish diaspora. The information is best presented in chronicle format.

c.450 BC

The Agathyrsi were described by Herodotus as a tribe of mix’d Dacian-Scythian origin, whom he places in Romanian Transylvania; ‘from the country of the Agathyrsoi comes down another river, the Maris, which empties itself into the same.’ Herodotus then describes the Agathyrsi as being quite a sexually liberated bunch; ‘The most luxurious of men and wear gold ornaments for the most part: also they have promiscuous intercourse with their women, in order that they may be brethren to one another and being all nearly related may not feel envy or malice one against another. In their other customs they have come to resemble the Thracians.’

c.350 BC

The Thracian-Agathyrsi link maintained by Herodotus turns up in the list of the Pictish Kings, with version D relating they, ‘came from the land of Thracia; that is, they are the children of Gleoin, son of Ercol. Agathirsi was their name.’ The Agathyrsi also appear in the writings of Scotland’s 16th century writer, Hektor Boece’s ‘History & Chronickles of Scotland;’

Sum authouris sayis {the Picts} come first in Orknay; and, sone  efter, in Cathues, Ros, Murray, Mernis, Angus, Fiffe, and Louthiane: and expellit all the pepill, that inhabit that region afore thair cuming. Thir pepill war callit Pichtis.. fra the Pichtis namit Agathirsanis, thair anciant faderis. In probation heirof, Orknay wes calht the auld realme of  Pichtis. Siclike, thee seeis betwix Cathnes and Orknay war namit Pentland Firth ; and all the landis, quhilkis ar now callit Louthiane, war callit than Pentland.

150 AD

In Ptolemy’s 2nd centry AD Geography we may witness topographical support for the Agathyrsi of Heredotus settling in the same regions as the Picts of the Kinglist. Herodotus regurgiates a Pontic Greek myth – i.e. Greeks who had settl’d the Black Sea area – which states that a certain Agathyrsus was the eldest son of Herakles, & brother to a certain Skythes. The latter’s name strongly resembles Sketis, an island which appears roughly where the Shetland islands, or Sketland islands, should be if the mainland is correctly retilted. A variant name for Sketis given by Ptolemy was Ocitis, & in these name we see both; A-gath-yrsus/O-cit-is & Sk-yt-hes/Sk-et-is. Ptolemy essentially gives the Orkneys & Shetlands twice – once where they should be (as Dumna & Thule) & once where they’d be if Scotland was tilted at the Forths.


300 AD

The Roman grammarian Maurus Servius Honoratus (c.400 AD) wrote a commentary on the works of Virgil, which states that the Agathyrsi sent a contingent across the sea to Scotland c. 300 AD. He adds that they were formidable warriors, seriously fatigued all who stood against them & the crucial fact that these Agathyrsi became identified with Picts, which explains why the Attacotti dissappear’d from the records by the end of the 4th century.

These Agathyrsi are, in fact, a branch of the Hunnish Acatir. The name Attacotti translates as ‘both Acotti’ – & reflects the merging of the Pictish branch of the Agathyrsi with the Hunnish incomers.  The “Agatziri” or “Akatziroi,” were first mentioned by Priscus, who described them leading a nomadic life on the Lower Volga, and reported them as having been Hunnic subjects in pre-Attila times.  Priscus relates an anecdote in which two brothers, Denghizikh and Hernak were discussing making war on the Romans, but the Acatziri, Saraguri, and the other Hunnic tribes, who lived by the Caucasus and the Caspian, were engaged in a war with Persia; and thought it folly to engage in two wars at once. A century later, Jordanes located the Acatziri to the south of the Aesti (Balts), in roughly the same region as the Agathyrsi of Transylvania, describing them as “a very brave tribe ignorant of agriculture, who subsist on their flocks and by hunting.”

310 AD

The leader of the Acatirs who came to Britain is no other than the mortal Woden – not the divine god, but the very human being on which that deity was based. The evidence begins with Snorri Sturluson, who describes Woden-Odin as controlling ‘great lands near the Turks.’ Snorri then states that Woden’s, ‘descendents would live in the northern parts of the world,’ & has him conquering lands in France, ‘Saxland’ & Scandinavia.  One of Woden’s sons, Siggi, is clearly depicted by the Völsunga saga as being a Hunnish king. Woden’s coming from Asia also has a clear remembrance in the mythologized tribal name for the Teutonic gods, the ‘Aesir.’

320 AD

The famous Brythonic king, Cunedda, appears in the Pictish King List as Canutulahina – Cunedda the Hun – & is followed as the Pictish king by ‘Wradech,’ evidently Cunedda’s son, Ceredic. We can connect him to the Hunnish Woden thro’ the very Pictishesque broch near Duns in the borders, Edin’s Hall, formally known as Wooden’s Hall. From Woden-Wooden-Edin we reach Edern & Aeturn, variant names for the father of Cunedda. Harleian MS 3859 then tells us how Tybion was Cunedda’s first-born son, which mirrors Titmon/Tẏtiman/Titinon being Woden’s grandson in the royal Anglo-Saxon genealogies of East Anglia. Cunedda the Hun indeed!

367-68 AD

The Attacotti are active against the Romans during ‘The Barbarian Conspiracy.’ The Roman historian, Ammianus Marcellinus tells us; ‘ 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.’


In the late 4th century St Jerome traveled to Gaul, where he observed certain members of the Attacotti getting up to some rather bestial behaviour. In his Adversus Jovinianum (c.393AD) he writes;

Why should I speak of other nations when I, a youth, in Gaul beheld the Attacotti, a British tribe, eat human flesh, and when they find herds of swine, cattle, and sheep in the woods, they are accustomed to cut off the buttocks of the shepherds, and the paps of the shepherdesses, and to consider them as the only delicacies of food.

More evidence for the Attacotti on the Continent comes in the Notitia Digitatum, compiled about 400 AD, which lists four Attacotti auxillary regiments as fighting in the Roman Legions, two of of whom, the Honoriani Atecotti seniores & the Atecotti iuniores Gallicani,  were stationed in Gaul. It seems that after Count Theodosius’ restoration of Roman order in Britain, the Attacotti were recruited to fight as auxilia palatina in the legions. The Notitia reads

In Italy: Atecotti Honoriani iuniores

In the Gauls with the illustrious master of horse in Gauls:
Atecotti Honoriani seniores
Atecotti iuniores Gallicani.


398 AD

When the Roman poet Claudian wrote ‘The Orcades ran red with Saxon slaughter,’ in response to the activities of Theodosius in 398, we can now assume that the Hunnish-influenced Attacotti were considered as ‘Saxons’ by the Roman world. The same cultural connection appears in the story of  one of Woden’s sons, the Hunnish king Siggi. This figure also appears as the founder of the royal house of Deira, ie the Anglo-Saxon kingdom between the Humber & the Tyne.


Offering more support, Siggi’s son in the geneaology, Seabald, appears in an Irish text known as ‘The adventure of the sons of Eochaid Mugmedón’ as a king of the Saxons called Sachell Balb.


In 448 the Acatziri were a main force of the Attila’s army. Their commander was a certain  Karadach or Curidachus, whose name is a clear philochisp of Cereticus – as in the son of Cunedda & certain 5th century figures of the same name who this leader of the Acatziri just well might be. In 449, Vortigern is using a translator called Cereticus in his negotiations with Henghist – who was descended from Woden, & thus of at least some Hunnish ancestry. In that same period, 448-449, Priscus of Panium visited the court of Attila the Hun as part of an official delegation & tells us; ‘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.’ Writers such as  Orosius & St Augustine were definers of the British Isles as among the ‘islands of the Ocean,’ reinforcing the factochain.

We must also recall that 80 years later, the Romans considered Britain to be under the ‘Gothic’ influence, with Procopius recording Belisarius as saying, ‘we on our side permit the Goths to have the whole of Britain.’ The presence of the Huns in late Roman Britain was additionally remembered in the 8th century 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).’


For a long, long time, scholars have speculated on the homelands of the Attacotti, but to no avail. So far I’ve connected them to the saxons of the Orkneys in 398 AD, but there is also a definitive epigraphical remembrance of them on the Shetland Islands. Etched into what is known as the Lunnasting Stone, are four words;

ettecuhetts: ahehhttannn: hccvvevv: nehhtons 

The Senchus fer n-Alban indicates that Gartnait, the son of Áedán mac Gabráin, King of Dál Riata, sired a son named Cano, names which seem to appear in the inscription alongside Attacotti. Aedan was active in the Orkneys in the 580s, which may be of relevance, for just as the Picts controlled Lothian & the Orkneys, & just as the Arthurian King Loth did the same, so Aedan would become a king of the Lothians.

Chispologically speaking, Ettecuhetts is a lovely match for Attacotti, especially when we combine two variant spelling in the Notitia, being ‘attecotti’ & ‘attcoetti,’ as in;  Attecoet / Ettecuhet. Elsewhere on the Shetlands, at a place called Cunningsburgh, another Pictish stone also seems to mention the Attacotti.

  Transcription :   +TTEC[O^G][–] | [–]A[V^BL]:DATT[V][B!][–] | [–][A!]VVR[–]
     Reading :   ETTEC[O^G] [–][A!]VVR[–]A[V^BL]: DATT[V][B!][–]

There is an island called Mousa, just a stone-skip across the waters from Cuningsburgh, which is home to the greatest of all the stone, Pictish roundhouses known as Brochs. Archeologists calculate a date of 100 BC for its construction.

Looking once more at the Notitia shield patterns, it is with the Junior Honorianes that a real clincher can be found. Their shield carries a curious image of two heads facing each other, with at least one of them seeming to be a bill-beaked bird. An extremely similar image is also found on a Pictish stone discovered in 1887 at Papil, West Burra, in the Shetlands.

The stone was found at a pre-norse  Christian centre – the name Papil comes from papar – a Nordic word for priests – & was removed to the National Museum in Edinburgh, though a replica still stands in the churchyard of St Laurence’s Church, Papil. Kelly A Kilpatrick, in his ‘The iconography of the Papil Stone: sculptural and literary comparisons with a Pictish motif’ (Proc Soc Antiq Scot, 141 (2011), 159–205), writes of the birdmen,
 They have commonly been regarded as a misrepresentation of the Temptation of St
Antony, but this theory is debatable and needs to be compared and contrasted within the wider framework of this motif in Irish and Pictish art. Examples of axe-brandishing human and beast-headed figures are, however, found in Pictish sculpture, and are comparable with the imagery on the Papil Stone. Furthermore, the bird-men motif on the Papil Stone has striking parallels with contemporary battlefield demons in early Irish literature
 A common interpretation of the Papil birdmen is that they are a distorted representation
of the Temptation of St Antony, a scene in which Antony was tempted by women disguised as birds who whispered into his ear. This was, in the words of Radford), ‘a favourite scene on the Irish crosses, where it is usually pictured in a more realistic manner.’
Detail of the Temptation of St. Antonny the hermit. Moone high cross, Kildare
The Papil bird-men have a stronger connection with axe- and weapon-carrying hybrid & monstrous human-like figures in Pictish sculpture. There are 10 similar examples in the corpus of Pictish sculpture, three of which, it should be emphasised, have bird-features. They occur as single figures or as single figures associated with an anmimal or beast, & also as paired figures like the Papil bird-men. They must have had a long currency in Pictish art, for they are found on a variety of monumental media, ranging from simple incised stone boulders to panelled motifs on elaborate cross-slabs and even on a sculpted shrine panel.
Of these, the image of a dog-masked man found at Cuningsburgh, Shetland, where as we have seen there was an inscription to the Attacotti, seems the most important. Also of interest is a stone found at Murthly, Perthsire.  When comparing it with the Juniores shield pattern, we see that to the left is the long-beaked bird & to the right is the stubby-nosed dog or boar.


The Anthrotree is a shortened version of ‘Anthropological Factotree,’ which constitutes the main trunk of the ancient peoples, or tribe, we are discussing. Out of this entity shoot branches – & of course sub-branches – representing Culture, Theology, Linguistics, Archeology & Genetics. If any theoretical tree is living well & prospering with the vital energies of life, a rush of green foliage soon flows into & between the branches like tidal water into coastal rocks. In the same fashion, if the hyperbasis of an anthrotree is correct, & the evidence which has created its branches infallible, then we should be able to find upon the tree certain corresponding literary legacies – ie leaves. Together they make up the foliage of an anthrotree, which I shall call Cultural Subnotes.

Cultural Subnote 1 – No Writing Records : That the Picts left no writing can now be explained by Aristotle, who tells us of the Agathyrsi (Problemata, xix. 28), ‘Why are the nomes which are sung so called ?  Is it because before men knew the art of writing they used to sing their laws  in order not to forget them, as  they are still accustomed to do among the Agathyrsi?’

Cultural Subnote 2 – Tattoos: The Agathirsi, or the ‘painted Agathyrsians,’ as described by Virgil,  were given more detail in the 380s by Ammianus-Marcellinus, who describ’d them as dieing, ‘both their bodies and their hair of a blue colour, the lower classes using spots few in number and small – the nobles broad spots, close and thick, and of a deeper hue.’ That the Agathrysi nobility have more tattoos reflect the Picts, whose name, according to Isidore of Seville, whose name was ‘taken from their bodies, because an artisan, with the tiny point of a pin and the juice squeezed from a native plant, tricks them out with scars to serve as identifying marks, and their nobility are distinguished by their tattooed limbs.’

Cultural Subnote 3 – Animal Depictions: Despite the distance between ancient Scythia & the mountain fastnesses of northern Britain, both cultures are bound by vivid, animal-based art. Some of these symbolic depictions were imprinted in the form of tattoos, a practice given to the Picts by several classical authors, including;

They tattoo their bodies with colored designs and drawings of all kinds of animals; for this reason they do not wear clothes, which would conceal the decorations on their bodies. Herodian of Antioch

Barbarians, who from childhood have different pictures of animals skillfully implanted on their bodies, so that as the man grows, so grow the marks painted on him; there is nothing more that they consider as a test of patience than to have their limbs soak up the maximum amount of dye through these permanent scars. Solinus


The Scythian Chieftain found in 1948
The Scythian Chieftain found in 1948

Pictishesque body-tattoos were found on the frozen bodies of a Scythian chieftan & a twenty-five year old warrior-priestess, both discover’d in the same region of Siberia. It seems no coincidence that the chieftan still retained a bright red mop of hair, a Pictish trait retained in 13 percent of Scotland’s population, as compar’d to only two percent of the world’s population. Other links include the Pictish Beast symbol’s perfect match to the Scythian Ibex,  a sea-goddess image at Meigle in Perthshire which matches Scythian goldwork found in the Ukraine; & a stone figure discovered on Boa, an island in Northern Ireland, which is nigh-identical to a Scythian Kurgan Stele from Kyrgyzstan.

Scythian Ibex
Scythian Ibex
Pictish Beast
Pictish Beast

Cultural Subnote 4 – The Sarmatian Connection : The Sarmatian peoples of the steppes were part of the wider Scythian umbrella, & it seems that they at some point joined the Agathyrsean migration to northern Britain where they appear as the Smertae in Ptolemy;

From the Lemannonis bay as far as the Varar estuary are the Caledoni, and above these is the Caledonian forest, from which toward the east are the Decantae, and next to these the Lugi extending to the Cornavi boundary, and above the Lugi are the Smertae; below Caledonia are the Vacomagi

There is a Càrn Smeart in Sutherland to this day, an ancient burial mound on the ridge between the rivers Carron and Oykel.  It may also be relevant that the Smertae’s neighbours, the Lugi, shared a name with the Lugii, a large tribal confederation mentioned by Roman authors living in ca. 100 BC–300 AD in the Polish regions of today.


To conclude this post let us look at Pliny’s description of the Sarmations, as in, ‘from this point all the races in general are Scythian, though various sections have occupied the lands adjacent to the coast, in one place the Getae, called by the Romans Dacians, at another the Sarmatae.’ Here we have the Getae, of course, who would be the Pictish kingdom of Cat, & thus Caithness…

Honing on Saint Patrick’s boyhood home (& then some more Huns)

I’m just having a wee break from the creation of The New Divan. But a poet’s mind never rests & I thought I’d return to the Saint Patrick mystery which I first approached this time last year. There’s a couple of new ideas I can add to the mix, the conclusion of which is that Saint Patrick was brought up in the area where Emmot Hall used to stand, a couple of miles outside Colne in East Lancashire, the Ravenna Cosmography’s Calunio.  A definitive Roman presence at Emmott was confirmed  by TT Whitaker, who writing in the year 1800 affirmed, ‘a large silver cup filled with {Roman coins} was turned up by the plough in the latter end of the 17th century.’


Both the Hymn of Fiacc & the the anonymous Latin ‘Life of Saint Patrick’ place his birthplace at Nemthur, the latter stating, ‘The holy Patrick was reared at Nemthur until he was a lad.‘ The name seems to derive from Nemeton, which means ‘sacred space’ in Brythonic, & thus to Emmott. Placing the young saint in this corner of East Lancashire a moment, let us read the following extracts from the anonymous life.


Now Patrick’s race was of the Britons of Dumbarton. Calpurn was his father’s name, a high priest was he. Otid (Potitus) was the name of his grandfather: he was a deacon. But Conchess was his mother’s name: daughter was she of Ochbas: of France was her race, that is, she was a sister of Martin’s.


This tells us that Patrick was born in the Kingdom of Strathclyde, which in that period stretched deep in to Lancashire from its capital at Dumbarton.


At Nemthur, now, was he born, and (as to) the flagstone on which he was born, when any one commits perjury thereunder, it sheds water as if it were bewailing the false declaration. If his oath is true the stone abides in its proper nature. Now when the holy Patrick was born, he was brought to be baptized to the blind flat-faced youth named Gornias. But Gornias had not water wherewith he could perform the baptism, so with the infant’s hand he made the sign of the cross over the earth, and a wellspring of water brake therefrom. Gornias put the water on his own face, and it healed him at once, and he understood the letters (of the alphabet), though he had never seen them before. Now here at one time God wrought a threefold miracle for Patrick, the wellspring of water from the earth, and his eyesight to the blind youth, and skill in reading aloud the order of baptism without knowing the letters beforehand. Thereafter Patrick was baptized.


Hallown Well


Patrick’s birth should be connected to the Well of Hallown at Emmott – with baptisms taking place here as far back as AD 835 -, a site known to have healing properties well into the modern age, just as Gornias had his eyesight restored.  Thatamong the miracles attached to Patrick’s birth one clearly stipulates a well is highly significant. An ancient holy well on the site supports the Nemeton to Emmott philochisp, & with miracles being attached to Saint Patrick own baptism, no wonder it would be used as a baptism site centuries later.  Also on the site stood  a 7 foot high medieval cross-shaft, before it was moved to Colne churchyard in the 1960s from Emmott Hall, showing just how sacred a spot it was.


At this point let us have a look at some other evidence that places Saint Patrick at Emmott, by looking at the two variant names we have for Patrick’s birthplace – Bannavem Tarburnaie & Ventre.

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.  (Confessio)

This place, as I am informed beyond hesitation or doubt, is Ventre. (Milúch)

Now then, look at the names of these three places all within a couple of miles of one another. ‘Tre’ & ‘Traw’ both mean farm.

N-EMT-hur – Emmott
VEN-tre – Winewall
Ven-TRE – Trawden

The Vinheath - Emmot Hall is near Winewall (top right hand cormner)
The Vinheath – Emmot Hall is near Winewall (top right hand cormner)

The Ven element leads to the Wendune & Vinheath placenames in the Brunanburh manifest,  Both the ‘dune’ & ‘heath’ elements of Wendune & Vinheath mean the same as banna: pinnacle, peak, mountain, bare hill, etc.. Near to Emmott is the Lancashire town of Burnley, which naturally leads to the the ‘burn’ element of Bannavem Tarburnaie. 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 topographical differentation.

The transition from the Brythonic ‘Burn’ to the Saxon ‘Brun’ would have taken place during the reign of Athelstan (926-939), confirmed by Layamon‘s, ‘
& the names of the towns in saxish speech…
 & in saxish he gan speak the names of the men,‘ & the Angol-Saxon Chronicles use of both name variants on the early 930s;

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

The antique metathesis between these two names occured several times in the early middle-ages. In the early 12th century, the Anglo-Norman chronicler Geoffrey Gaimar gave the names Bruneswerce & Burneweste for the battle of Brunanburh itself. Other examples include Saint Brynstan/Burnstan & Roger de Burne/Brun. But I digress to far once again.


That on the day of the Battle of Brunanburh the routed Vikings made the safety of the Irish Sea supports the kidnapping of Patrick by Irish pirates. Further exploration of the Brunanburh matrix allows to come full circle, so to speak, to Emmott, which the older locals in the area pronounce it as Ee-ah-mut.  It is significant that the borders of Strathclyde, Northumbria & Mercia all meet here, while a Roman road passes just a few miles to the North, giving Emmott easy access to the twin Viking capitals of York & Dublin. That Emmott has a famous baptising well connects with William Malmesbury’s description of the events at Eamoton, in which Athelstan takes a son of Constantine hostage; ‘Out of regard to this treaty, the king himself stood for the son of Constantine, who was ordered to be baptized, at the sacred font.’ Is this ‘sacred fon’t the Hallown? The ASC states that the kings ‘renounced all idolatry,’ just as the local pagans had done at the same well in 835.

A.D. 926. This year appeared fiery lights in the northern part of the firmament; and Sihtric departed; and King Athelstan took to the kingdom of Northumbria, and governed all the kings that were in this island: — First, Howel, King of West-Wales; and Constantine, King of the Scots; and Owen, King of Monmouth; and Aldred, the son of Eadulf, of Bamburgh. And with covenants and oaths they ratified their agreement in the place called Eamoton, on the fourth day before the ides of July; and renounced all idolatry, and afterwards returned in peace.


I’ve also discovered a key philochisp in the next step of Saint Patrick’s vita. Folkore states that that Niall of the Nine Hostages, a very ancient King of Ulster, was the man behind the capture of Patrick – known as ‘Succat’ – & now we can toss in more support. We begin with the Latin Life;


Now this was the cause of Patrick’s coming to Ireland. Seven sons of Sechtmad, to wit, seven sons of the King of Britain, were in exile. They wrought rapine in the land of Britain, and Ulstermen were along with them, and so they brought Patrick in captivity to Ireland, and his two sisters Tigris and Lupait, and they sold Patrick to Míliucc maccu Buain, that is, to the King of Dalaraide.


indexThe name Sechtmad transchispers into Sachell Balb, a king of the Saxons given in an Irish text known as ‘The adventure of the sons of Eochaid Mugmedón.’ Sachell’s daughter, Cairenn Chasdub, is the mother of Niall. Thus the ‘Seven sons of Sechtmad’ would be Niall’s uncles, & it is through them that they invited the ‘Ulstermen’ on their raids on Britain. This presents a hyperbasis based on Sechtmad/Sachell being a Saxon king in Britain.  Indeed, Siggeat and Seabald appear in the Anglo-Saxon genealogies as father and son 9-10 generations before Aelle, the first king of Deira, in the North East of modern England, from AD 560.


That Claudian wrote ‘The Orcades ran red with Saxon slaughter,’ in response to the activities of Theodosius in 398 now has more substance & we can at least present a solid hyperbasis that there was a Saxon occupation of the Orkney islands, whose king was Siggeat/Seabald, from whom descendents a greater kingdom was established in the 6th century. There’ll be more to it, obviously, but this what we can pin down for now – a toehold on the truth just as Siggeat made a toehold in the Orkneys.

Now, in an earlier post I showed how Woden & Cunnedda were Huns.  According to Snorri Sturluson, another of Woden’s sons was a certain, ‘Siggi, who ruled over what is now France.’ The Icelandic Völsunga saga states that Siggi was a Hun & tuis with some simple philochisps we can see how Siggeat/Sechtmad was a Hunnish ‘King of Britain’ at the very same time that his brother, Cunedda, was a Hunnish king of the Picts. This now presents double support for Bede’s placement of the Huns among the English gene-pool, when;

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

 But why is there no mention of the Huns settling in Britain? Well, I believe there is, & we can finally solve the Attacotti conundrum, the obscure tribe named as part of the Barbarian Conspiracy of 368.  According to Priscus, a 5th century Byzantine Historian, there existed a tribal group  called the Acatziri, who led a nomadic life on the Lower Volga, who were reported as having been Hunnic subjects before the time of Attila. Priscus relates anecdote in which two brothers, Denghizikh and Hernak were discussing making war on the Romans, but Priscus says that the the Acatziri, Saraguri, and the other Hunnic tribes, who lived by the Caucasus and the Caspian, were then engaged in a war with Persia; and that it would be folly to engage in two wars at once.

Jordanes located the Acatziri to the south of the Aesti (Balts) — roughly the same region as the Agathyrsi of Transylvania — describing them as “a very brave tribe ignorant of agriculture, who subsist on their flocks and by hunting,” which resonates with Ammianus Marcellinus’ description of the Attacotti  as ‘a warlike race of men.’ The Acatziri were a main force of the Attila’s army in 448, whose chieftan was Karadach/Curidachus, a name which clearly contains the Ceredic/Wradech shared by the early British kings including Cunedda’s own son.  Also named Ceretic was the Vortigern’ s translator, employed in his negotiations with Henghist, whose descendancy from Woden also indicates he was Hunnish.

My final hypothesis, then, is that the Acatziri were used by the Huns to cement their 4th century conquests within Britain…

…& of course, Saint Patrick was from near Burnley

The New Divan: Smoke

Reza Mohammadi

This next transcreated poem is originally by Reza Mohammadi, an Afghani born in 1979, who originally composed Smoke in Persian. From this point Reza himself & Narguess Farzad made English translations, which were then comblended into one by Nick Laird. It was from this last version that I made the Goethe-friendly poem you are about to read.



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

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

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

Carry off, great Lord, this flower,
To tables fill’d by my mother,
& to the house of my father,

& to the fish of the rivers
Whom, three times a day, take lovers,
Suicide’s soft deliverers.

I’m six years old, care to buy bread?
What am I doing here, I said.

Carry my soul to the tented
Gypsy mystic, tinted, scented,
Take it to be finger-printed.

I’ll never leave this street, y’know,
That named a missile long ago.

You’ll see I only came to buy
Some rolls of bread – you’ll see that I
Have seen exactly six years by.

Before the next man join’d my thread
Morning stopp’d gorging on his head,
& like this poem’s folding, he
Was thrown, was caught, within old me.

Hey! This much wind my shirt won’t stand,
We should not let this much cloud land.

The blacken’d body’s shrapnel flew
Right back to eat, snack, feast on you.

Why should I be God’s kick’d up dust,
I flow like ink from His fingers.

The broken lighters of his feet
Flicker & flare in mine like heat.

His heart a wet, spent ciggarette,
His mother’s lashes crudely set
Inside his pocket, food for worms,
With sister’s hair that fistfull squirms,
& those barb’d eyelids of his wife.

I wish somebody in his life
Had told him moons dont burst in flame
When clad in clothes by top brands made.

The one runs from me as he ran
From his ma’s table & her pan,
Thus I would like to tell him this,
How poet’s metamorphosis
Grows on lips like little roses
Caus’d by earth – which decomposes!

Even the river dodges me,
Even the doves take flight to flee
& all the Judas trees within
Are made of debris from this bin;
How was your face made up, I said,
What shade the scarf swath’d round your head?
Black-sooted in black suit I stand,
A dandelion in one hand,
Addresses I can’t call to mind,
As on moth-wings descends dusts fine,
Dusts upon petals de-scend-ing –
Now I’m forgetting everything.



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: 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.