An old god is stirring…

A time there was, fair and blessed,
When the Lord of Annwn, exalted Arawn,
Ruled the otherworld, his caldron ‘neath the clean Welsh sea.
Hunter, shape-shifter, magician: the god of Autumn,
And of beloved Nos Calan Gaeaf, when the spirits of the dead
Roamed freely ‘cross the Earth –
The old year giving birth to new possibilities.
A benevolent god was Arawn, a dancing god,
With his white-eared, red-eyed dogs,
Searching for compassionate souls
To people a wat’ry paradise.

But change hung in the crisp air, once so pure and bracing,
As English-Saxon muck seeped into Arawn’s realm, a poisonous embrace,
With the Severn channel o’erflown with filth.
What followed wrecked sweet Annwn,
As black-brained parasites traversed the sea,
And swarmed across the Welsh topography.
With this assault came gossamer prayer and blood – and after blood,
Obedience to alien mythologies and laws,
O’erseen by a distant power – an esurient spider at the web’s heart.

Truth to tell, Great Arawn, traduced by venomous tongues,
His realm corrupted by so much darkness,
Sank into himself in deep despair.
The black-brained crew knew nothing
Of fair Annwn, and designated it a kind of hell,
With Arawn the very devil, great lord of the damned.

Reflecting at length on his new status,
And thinking to himself, ‘let their fancies prove an undoing’,
The master of Annwn cast aside the bright trappings
Of his ancient, old as history, godly estate,
Renounced joyful enterprise, put on a sombre grey cloak,
Trashed his own kingdom, and retrained his bright dogs
To become hell’s howling, slavering hounds,
Eager to seize every blasted, empty soul they could.


All that was long ago.
O’er time, the black-brained and the native
Merged, mixed and mingled – so much so
That these days, it’s hard to tell which is which,
Since one has bled into t’other.
These heirs of old Briton begin to agitate,
Worn down, as they are, by a string of ever-present,
Never-present, edacious ghouls, ignorant and selfish,
Residing at the hub of alien governance,
Oblivious to aboriginal and adoptive alike.
New voices begin to emerge – angry, resentful, demanding –
Rooted in semi-remembrance of cleft history, culture, lore,
And a longing for recognition of common degree,
Free and easy ‘neath the vault of heaven.

Ear to the ground, an inflation of cries and whispers:

There is, in this land,
A spirit which shall rise up, and vanquish all injustice,
All lies, all hurt.
There is, in this land,
A love which shall sweep away all division,
All rancour, all sourness.
There is, in this land,
A decency which shall wipe the slate clean,
Which shall prove its worth,
Shall sort out the wheat from the chaff.
There is, in this land,
An honour, which combines intimate with public,
Which speaks as it really finds,
Which talks true – no forked tongue.
There is, in this land,
A people dispossessed, flattened in soul,
That, one day, will dare to proclaim itself –
Watch out! Watch out!

A song of reclamation,
A brave, thrusting kind of hymn,
Which echoes ‘cross the mountains and through the valleys
Of a land grown poor with theft; a people dulled by design.
And even as these lyrics radiate through freshening air,
From down, deep deep down, below earth and water,
Comes a growling and a rumbling and a groaning,
As long-silent forces start to rouse from deliberate slumber.


In the kingdom of Annwn, once so fair and blessed,
An old god is stirring.
Rejected, dejected Arawn twitches half awake, rubs his crusted eyes clear,
Sniffs at the change in the atmosphere, and senses something… different.
Hauling himself out of a wretched bed of rank decay,
Discarding his grey garb, whistling for his white-eared, red-eyed, bright dogs,
He stands almost-tall for the first time in centuries:
Exalted Lord, Great Arawn, hunter, shape-shifter, magician.

O yes, a transformative power is blowing in the wind –
He feels it, he knows it, and so should we.


Dafyd ap pedr





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