Monday, June 30, 2008

Winterbourne Monkton church

Winterbourne Monkton, 761 ha. (1,879 a.), lies in the upper Kennet valley north of Avebury. ) The eastern head stream of the Kennet flows through the parish from north to south and by 869 had given the name Winterbourne to lands there.
From: 'Parishes: Winterbourne Monkton', A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 12:

Female giving birth to what? note blue waves. The figure looks like it has been carved in at a later date to the zig-zag, this probably accounts for some of the discrepancy in the body, having scratched the 'waves', out the carver was unable to 'add' the face - so is this medieval graffiti relating to a pagan story......

Winterbourne Monkton Church

A probable cap stone brought to the church in the 18th C from the nearby Mill longbarrow, destroyed by a farmer
staddle stones under the old wooden building by the church

Colouring in the font - this seems to be a window

note blue paint on Norman zig-zag

slight protuberance (the only one) on decorative work below the female depiction
There are two interesting fonts in this particular area, the one at Avebury and the Winterbourne font. Some would argue that the above is a Sheela na gig figure but it is not that apparent, is she giving birth to foliage? why is her face blank? And why do her arms seem to represent twisting snakes or even perhaps similar to an Indian goddess.
the font seems to have been carved in the 12th century, and has the definitive Norman 'wave'
zig-zag highlighted in blue paint in places. Red paint also appears, some just beneath the figure and some on the decorative arcading beneath.
The land around here was owned by the Benedictine Glastonbury Abbey, and can be seen as a monastic grange, with lay brothers probably farming the land. The desmene lands here at Winterbourne totalled 550 acres; in addition the abbot held a further 235 acres of hillside pasture, open to all tenants in the manor. ( The Monastic Grange in Medieval England - Colin Platt)
Note; B.M. MS Harley 3961 - On the desmene land, 1 acre was occupied by the site 32 acres were meadow and pasture, and 517 acres were arable.
From the above it can be seen that it was mostly an arable farm, and this would account for the windmills in the village itself for grinding corn, and of course the old staddle stones under the wooden building at the front of the church keeping the rats and mice at bay from the grain.
A windmill was built west of the village for Abbot of Glastonbury 1265 (Adami de Domerham Glast.Cart.) was let in the early 14th century. A new windmill was built in the early 16th century. Another windmill stood north-east of the village in 1815 but was disused in 1889. In 1980 only the stones if its base remained beside Windmill house.
Before 1229 Winterbourne Monkton vicarage was endowed with certain small tithes and all offerings. (fn. 135) The hay tithes of Winterbourne Monkton and 1 qr. of corn and 1 qr. of oats, due annually from Cirencester abbey's lands in Avebury, were then added. (fn. 136) An additional payment to the vicar of 3 qr. of wheat and 2 qr. of barley from the abbey's Avebury lands and of all tithes from a piece of land called 'old land' was agreed in 1268. (fn. 137) All the allowances of grain were replaced c. 1630 by a yearly pension of £8. (fn. 138) At least two further augmentations of the vicarage were made but in neither case is the date or donor recorded. In the 1670s the incumbent received hay, wool, lamb, and lesser tithes from all but the demesne of Winterbourne Monkton manor, and corn tithes from a few acres in the parish. (fn. 139) In 1815 grain tithes from 100 a. and other tithes from all but the 640 a. of the demesne were paid to the vicar.....
From: 'Parishes: Winterbourne Monkton', A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 12: Ramsbury and Selkley hundreds; the borough of Marlborough (1983), pp. 192-198.
The dedication of the church of ST. MARY MAGDALENE has not been traced before the mid 18th century. (fn. 161) The church is built of coursed sarsen rubble and has a chancel with north vestry, a nave with south porch, and a timber-framed and boarded tower rising from the west end of the nave. The bowl of the font is of the late 12th century but the earliest part of the building is the 13th-century chancel. The nave was completely rebuilt in the 14th century. Beside the chancel arch there are cusped niches and a small piscina to serve an altar. In the 15th century the east window and the nave roof were renewed and the porch was added. The tower, the date of which is not known, is supported on the west side by the nave wall. On the east side there are two heavy cylindrical wooden posts which rise from the floor of the nave. The church was refitted in the 17th century. A communion table of 1678 and an early 17th-century pulpit survive and there were formerly pews and a communion rail of similar date to the pulpit. In the 18th century a gallery was built at the west end of the nave. It was removed before 1878 when the church was restored
From: 'Parishes: Winterbourne Monkton', A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 12: Ramsbury and Selkley hundreds; the borough of Marlborough (1983), pp. 192-198.
Christianised megaliths in Brittany St.Michel chapel on top of tumulus in Brittany..
The above two christianised sites in Brittany are included to show that the heavy foot of the church came down heavily on anything that had pagan beliefs or a pagan past which included the worship of stones.
Richard Hayman in his article Green Men & the Way of All Flesh, argues that such things as sheela na gigs and green men found in church stone decoration are the result of style related to christian beliefs and stories. In fact that the sheela na gig came to this country in the 12th century, it had previously started in the 11th century in France. How does he translate them then? it is in the transition between secular and sacred, Christian art showing the opposition of both virtue and vice......

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Solstice and a Grey Misty Day

mock orange

There is something totally enchanting about the soft rain that falls so gently at this time of year. Today of course it should be sunny for Solstice day but unpredictable nature says sod the humans today I will cover this particular patch of England with a grey mist, enhancing the purple seed heads of the grasses, hanging the creamy elderflower heavy with saturated rain, turning the whole world a lustrous green. The dog and I stride through the long grass soaked to the skin and I meet another walker with his dog and we laugh at our soaked appearance.
Coming back I walk beside the old stone wall, there is a tableau of mosses on one stone, little miniature islands in a sea of gray. Tiny brown flower stalks, even tinier seeds perfect in their formation, and I'm reminded of last night radio and Heather Cooper explaining the galaxies and stars and the fact that there was literally nothing before the big bang. Sometimes it is impossible to believe that nature can craft such beauty as these soft mounded plants, little worlds safe in their environment for a time, before time itself comes and sweeps them away.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Edward Thomas - Spirit of Place - Cornwall

The following are short extracts from The South Country written by Edward Thomas when he travelled in Cornwall. His prose has the magical touch of Jefferies, and Thomas did indeed write a biography of Jefferies. Strangely when I was looking for a piece of writing for today, Rememberance Sunday, I was looking for Siegfried Sassoon's bleak poetry on war,Thomas writes about the bronze age barrows that are strung along the cliff tops looking outward to sea, his prehistory is somewhat muddled, Beowulf is alluded to, and a lovely extract on a stone circle evokes druids the inscription upon the chair of the Bards of Beisgawen was 'Nothing is that is not for ever and ever'. Poetical licence must be granted in lieu of the truth, the factual accounting of today which drags the mind away from lilting prose should be set aside...

"On the barrows themselves, which are either isolated or in a group of two or three, grow thistle and gorse. They command mile upon mile of cliff and sea. In their sight the great headland run out to sea and sinking seem to rise again a few miles out in a sheer island, so that they resemble couchant beasts with backs under water but heads and haunches upreared .......
....and near by the blue sea, slightly roughened as by a harrow, sleeps calm but foamy among cinder-covered isles; donkeys graze on the brown turf, larks rise and fall and curlews go by; a cuckoo sings amongst the deserted mines. But the barrows are most noble on the high heather and grass. The lonely turf is full of lilace scabious flowers and crimson knapweed among the solid mounds of gorse. The brown-green-grey of the dry summer grass reveals myriads of the flowers of the thyme, of stonecrop yellow and white, of pearly eyebright, of golden lady's fingers, and the white or grey clover with its purest and earthest of all fragrances.
On every hand lies cromlech, camp, circle, hut and tumulus of the unwritten years. They are confused and and mingled with the natural litter of a barren land. It is a silent Bedlam of history, a senseless cemetery or museum, amidst which we walk as animals must do when they see those valleys full of skeleton where their kind are said to go punctually to die. There are enough of the dead; they outnumber the living, and there those trite truths burst with life and drum upon the typpanum with ambigous fatal voices. At the end of this many barrowed moor, yet not in it, there is a solitary circle of grey stones, where the cry of the past is less vociferous, less bewildering, than on the moor itself, but more intense. Nineteen tall, grey stones stand round a taller, pointed one that is heavily bowed, amidst long grass and bracken and furze. A track passes close by, but does not enter the circle; the grass is unbent except by the wieght of its bloom. It bears a name that connects it with the assembling and rivalry of the bards of Britain. Here, under the sky, they met, leaning upon the stones, tall fair men of peace, but half warriors, whose songs could change ploughshares into sword. Here they met, and the growth of the grass, the perfection of the stones(except that one stoops as with age), and the silence, suggest that since the last bard left it, in robe of blue or white or green - the colours of sky and cloud and grass upon this fair day - the circle has been unmolested, and the law obeyed which forbade any but a bard to enter it........And the inscription on the chair of the bards of Beisgawen was "nothing is that is not for ever and ever" - these things and the blue sky, the white, cloudy hall of the sun, and the green bough and grass, hallowed the ancient stones, and clearer than any vision of tall bards in the morning of the world was the tranquil delight of being thus ' teased out of time' in the presence of this ancientness,....

The Stone circle of Beisgawen is in actual fact Boscawen -Un

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Hound Voice
BECAUSE we love bare hills and stunted trees
And were the last to choose the settled ground,
Its boredom of the desk or of the spade, because
So many years companioned by a hound,
Our voices carry; and though slumber-bound,
Some few half wake and half renew their choice,
Give tongue, proclaim their hidden name -- 'Hound Voice.'

The women that I picked spoke sweet and low
And yet gave tongue. 'Hound Voices' were they all.
We picked each other from afar and knew
What hour of terror comes to test the soul,
And in that terror's name obeyed the call,
And understood, what none have understood,
Those images that waken in the blood.
Some day we shall get up before the dawn
And find our ancient hounds before the door,
And wide awake know that the hunt is on;
Stumbling upon the blood-dark track once more,
Then stumbling to the kill beside the shore;
Then cleaning out and bandaging of wounds,
And chantS of victory amid the encircling hounds.

The Harp of Aengus

Edain came out of Midhir's hill, and lay
Beside young Aengus in his tower of glass,
Where time is drowned in odour-laden winds
And Druid moons, and murmuring of boughs,
And sleepy boughs, and boughs where apples made
Of opal and ruby and pale chrysolite
Awake unsleeping fires; and wove seven strings,
Sweet with all music, out of his long hair,
Because her hands had been made wild by love.
When Midhir's wife had changed her to a fly,
He made a harp with Druid apple-wood
That she among her winds might know he wept;
And from that hour he has watched over none
But faithful lovers.

The drawings are by W.H. Bartlett and appear in a book by N.P.Willis, The Scenery and Antiquities of Ireland 1842.

The Wild Swans of Coole - W.B.Yeats

THE TREES are in their autumn beauty,
The woodland paths are dry,
Under the October twilight the water
Mirrors a still sky;
Upon the brimming water among the stones
Are nine and fifty swans.

The nineteenth Autumn has come upon me
Since I first made my count;
I saw, before I had well finished,
All suddenly mount
And scatter wheeling in great broken rings
Upon their clamorous wings.

I have looked upon those brilliant creatures,
And now my heart is sore.
All’s changed since I, hearing at twilight,
The first time on this shore,
The bell-beat of their wings above my head,
Trod with a lighter tread.

Unwearied still, lover by lover,
They paddle in the cold,
Companionable streams or climb the air;
Their hearts have not grown old;
Passion or conquest, wander where they will,
Attend upon them still.

But now they drift on the still water
Mysterious, beautiful;
Among what rushes will they build,
By what lake’s edge or pool
Delight men’s eyes, when I awake some day
To find they have flown away?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Seamus Heaney

These are the last of Heaney's bog poems, in the last verse there is a lovely line evoking two images in one, "A world-tree of balanced stones" . The world tree is part of religious myth but if you would envisage the great ash tree Ygrasdil, with the wells beneath, and combine it with the Cornwall tor image of stones precariously balanced one on top of another, ancient nature wonders, you would understand the deep power of nature within the minds of prehistoric people.


'They just keep turning up
And were thought of as foreign'-
One-eyed and benign,
They lie about his house,
Quernstones out of a bog.

To lift the lid of the peat
And find this pupil dreaming
Of neolithic wheat!
When he stripped off blanket bog
The soft-piled centuries

Fell open like a glib;
There were the first plough-marks,
The stone-age fields, the tomb
Corbelled, turfed and chambered,
Floored with dry turf-coomb.

A landscape fossilized,
Its stone wall patternings
Repeated befor our eyes
In the stone walls of Mayo.
Before I turned to go

He talked about persistence,
A congruence of lives,
How stubbed and cleared of stones,
His home accrued growth rings
Of iron, flint and bronze.

So I talked of Mossbawn,
A bogland name 'but Moss'?,
He crossed my old home's music
With older strains of Norse.
I'd told how its foundation

Was mutable as sound
And how I could derive
A forked root from that ground,
Make bawn an English fort,
A planter's walled-in mound.

Or else find sanctuary
And think of it as Irish,
Persistent if outworn.
'But the Norse ring on your tree?'
I passed through the eye of the quern,

Grist to an ancient mill,
And in my mind's eye saw,
A world-tree of balanced stones,
Querns piles like vertebrae,
The marrow crushed to grounds.


Come to the Bower

My hands come, touched
By sweetbriar and tangled vetch,
Foraging past the burst gizzards
of coin hoards
To where the dark-bowered queen,

Whom I unpin,
Is waiting. Out of the black maw
Of the peat, sharpened willow
Withdraws gently
I unwrap skins and see

The pot of the skull,
The damp tuck of each curl
Reddish as a fox's brush,
A mark of a gorget in the flesh
of her throat. And spring water

Starts to rise about her
I reach past
The riverbed's washed
Dream of gold to the bullion
Of her Venus bone.

A Wind of the Sea by Jeremy Hooker

It exhausts me at last,
This querulous petition
Of a chalk Hamlet
To the ground.
The sea-wind needs
No addition from complaints;

It has touched
Chert and flint,
Left the smooth boulder
Unmoved, but acquired
Something of the character
Of stone. I leave
My mouth as its portion.

Let it resolve my breath
Into a taste of salt,
A scent of thyme,
A touch of stone.
My image I leave
To whoever it reflects;

But my body is the sea's;
It is a piece broken
From the hill, a chalk
Stack, not formed,
But worn down by the tides.



There is a moment
No one sees,
When earth is formed
In the image of neither
Mist nor light.

Grey flowers grow
On the giantless hill,
Over the untouched graves.
Sleeper and sleepless lie
Without a name.

Colour breaks and this day
Is one of the millions,
Bloodred, gold, with a streak
Of unearthly green
Like the eye of a god.

Dawn is perfectionOf a kind.
Now I wake
To the unfinished act
And the dead lie complet
For ever, under their names.


Fossil Urchins

A tribe found them, believing
They grew like dandelions
In the soil.
An exquisite
From the Age of Fishes
Became the sun's icon,
Crowned with rays
,And a ring of suns,
Sacred to the resurrection,
Was placed around the dead.
There is still
a touch of man.
They are composed
Of blood and fire,
Where the sun roots in the earth
They are not clammy like potsherds,
But shapely and warm to the hand.

The Two Trees

by: William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)
BELOVED, gaze in thine own heart
The holy tree is growing there;
From joy the holy branches start,
And all the trembling flowers they bear.
The changing colours of its fruit
Have dowered the stars with merry light;
The surety of its hidden root
Has planted quiet in the night;
The shaking of its leafy head
Has given the waves their melody,
And made my lips and music wed,
Murmuring a wizard song for thee.
There the Loves a circle go,
The flaming circle of our days,
Gyring, spiring to and fro
In those great ignorant leafy ways;
Remembering all that shaken hair
And how the wing├Ęd sandals dart,
Thine eyes grow full of tender care:

Beloved, gaze in thine own heart.
Gaze no more in the bitter glass
The demons, with their subtle guile,
Lift up before us when they pass,
Or only gaze a little while;
For there a fatal image grows
That the stormy night receives,
Roots half hidden under snows,
Broken boughs and blackened leaves.
For all things turn to barrenness
In the dim glass the demons hold,
The glass of outer weariness,
Made when God slept in times of old.
There, through the broken branches, go
The ravens of unresting thought;
Flying, crying, to and fro,
Cruel claw and hungry throat,
Or else they stand and sniff the wind,
And shake their ragged wings; alas!
Thy tender eyes grow all unkind:
Gaze no more in the bitter glass.
Lob by Edward Thomas

AT hawthorn-time in Wiltshire travelling
In search of something chance would never bring
,An old man's face, by life and weather cut
And coloured,--rough, brown, sweet as any nut,--
A land face, sea-blue-eyed,--hung in my mind
When I had left him many a mile behind.
All he said was: "Nobody can't stop 'ee. It's
A footpath, right enough. You see those bits
Of mounds--that's where they opened up the barrows
Sixty years since, while I was scaring sparrows.
They thought as there was something to find there,
But couldn't find it, by digging, anywhere.

"To turn back then and seek him, where was the use?
There were three Manningfords,--Abbots, Bohun, and
Bruce:And whether Alton, not Manningford, it was,
My memory could not decide, because
There was both Alton Barnes and Alton Priors.
All had their churches, graveyards, farms, and byres,
Lurking to one side up the paths and lanes,
Seldom well seen except by aeroplanes;
And when bells rang, or pigs squealed, or cocks crowed,
Then only heard. Ages ago the road
Approached. The people stood and looked and turned,
Nor asked it to come nearer, nor yet learned
To move out there and dwell in all men's dust.
And yet withal they shot the weathercock, just
Because 'twas he crowed out of tune, they said:
So now the copper weathercock is dead.
If they had reaped their dandelions and sold
Them fairly, they could have afforded gold.

Many years passed, and I went back again
Among those villages, and looked for men
Who might have known my ancient. He himself
Had long been dead or laid upon the shelf,
I thought. One man I asked about him roared
At my description: "'Tis old Bottlesford
He means, Bill." But another said: "Of course,
It was Jack Button up at the White Horse.
He's dead, sir, these three years." This lasted till
A girl proposed Walker of Walker's Hill,
"Old Adam Walker. Adam's Point you'll see
Marked on the maps.""That was her roguery,
"The next man said. He was a squire's son
Who loved wild bird and beast, and dog and gun
For killing them. He had loved them from his birth,
One with another, as he loved the earth.
"The man may be like Button, or Walker, or
Like Bottlesford, that you want, but far more
He sounds like one I saw when I was a child.
I could almost swear to him. The man was wild
And wandered. His home was where he was free.
Everybody has met one such man as he.
Does he keep clear old paths that no one uses
But once a life-time when he loves or muses?
He is English as this gate, these flowers, this mire.
And when at eight years old Lob-lie-by-the-fire
Came in my books, this was the man I saw.
He has been in England as long as dove and daw,
Calling the wild cherry tree the merry tree,
The rose campion Bridget-in-her-bravery;
And in a tender mood he, as I guess,
Christened one flower Love-in-idleness,
And while he walked from Exeter to Leeds
One April called all cuckoo-flowers Milkmaids.
From him old herbal Gerard learnt, as a boy,
To name wild clematis the Traveller's-joy.
Our blackbirds sang no English till his ear
Told him they called his Jan Toy 'Pretty dear.'(She was Jan Toy the Lucky, who, having lost
A shilling, and found a penny loaf, rejoiced.)
For reasons of his own to him the wren
Is Jenny Pooter. Before all other men
'Twas he first called the Hog's Back the Hog's Back.
That Mother Dunch's Buttocks should not lack
Their name was his care. He too could explain
Totteridge and Totterdown and Juggler's Lane:
He knows, if anyone. Why Tumbling Bay,
Inland in Kent, is called so, he might say.

Kent, is called so, he might say."
But little he says compared with what he does.
If ever a sage troubles him he will buzz
Like a beehive to conclude the tedious fray:
And the sage, who knows all languages, runs away.
Yet Lob has thirteen hundred names for a fool,
And though he never could spare time for school
To unteach what the fox so well expressed,
On biting the cock's head off,--Quietness is best,--
He can talk quite as well as anyone
After his thinking is forgot and done.
He first of all told someone else's wife,
For a farthing she'd skin a flint and spoil a knife
Worth sixpence skinning it. She heard him speak:
'She had a face as long as a wet week'
Said he, telling the tale in after years.
With blue smock and with gold rings in his ears,
Sometimes he is a pedlar, not too poor
To keep his wit. This is tall Tom that bore
The logs in, and with Shakespeare in the hall
Once talked, when icicles hung by the wall.
As Herne the Hunter he has known hard times.
On sleepless nights he made up weather rhymes
Which others spoilt. And, Hob being then his name,
He kept the hog that thought the butcher came
To bring his breakfast 'You thought wrong,' said Hob.
When there were kings in Kent this very Lob,
Whose sheep grew fat and he himself grew merry,
Wedded the king's daughter of Canterbury;
For he alone, unlike squire, lord, and king,
Watched a night by her without slumbering;
He kept both waking. When he was but a lad
He won a rich man's heiress, deaf, dumb, and sad,
By rousing her to laugh at him. He carried
His donkey on his back. So they were married.
And while he was a little cobbler's boy
He tricked the giant coming to destroy
Shrewsbury by flood. 'And how far is it yet?
'The giant asked in passing. 'I forget;
But see these shoes I've worn out on the road
And we're not there yet.' He emptied out his load
Of shoes for mending. The giant let fall from his spade
The earth for damming Severn, and thus made
The Wrekin hill; and little Ercall hill
Rose where the giant scraped his boots. While still
So young, our Jack was chief of Gotham's sages.
But long before he could have been wise, ages
Earlier than this, while he grew thick and strong
And ate his bacon, or, at times, sang a song
And merely smelt it, as Jack the giant-killer
He made a name. He too ground up the miller,
The Yorkshireman who ground men's bones for flour

"Do you believe Jack dead before his hour?
Or that his name is Walker, or Bottlesford,
Or Button, a mere clown, or squire, or lord?
The man you saw,--Lob-lie-by-the-fire, Jack Cade,
Jack Smith, Jack Moon, poor Jack of every trade,
Young Jack, or old Jack, or Jack What-d'ye-call,
Jack-in-the-hedge, or Robin-run-by-the-wall,
Robin Hood, Ragged Robin, lazy Bob,
One of the lords of No Man's Land, good Lob,--Although he was seen dying at Waterloo,
Hastings, Agincourt, and Sedgemoor too,--Lives yet.
He never will admit he is dead
Till millers cease to grind men's bones for bread,
Not till our weathercock crows once again
And I remove my house out of the lane
On to the road." With this he disappeared
In hazel and thorn tangled with old-man's-beard.
But one glimpse of his back, as there he stood,
Choosing his way, proved him of old Jack's blood
Young Jack perhaps, and now a Wiltshireman
As he has oft been since his days began.
June 14, 2008

One of my favourite epics is Lord of The Rings by J.R.Tolkien, it was one of those 1960s happenings that sprang into life and became fully formed for many people. Today it is still popular as the films testify. It was one of those extraordinary feats of writings encompassing a whole world of adventure, not set in the human world, though they did in fact appear, but in the make believe world of the Hobbits, elves, tree-ents, a tale of honour, courage and bravery against unknown dark forces that conspired to take over this middle earth. A pitched battle between good and evil and the films gloriously bought out the bloodiness of the many battles fought. Tolkien wrote other books, the Silmarillon being one of them, but he also wrote books within the history of his make-believe world, and one of them to be found in Lord of the Rings is the Red Book, fragments of prose, written poetry, etc. This book culminated in The Adventures of Tom Bombadil by Tolkien.
The first rather romantic poem is one of my favourites, a small story written into the poem, that makes you ask who are these people, the man sitting 'still as carven stone', and why the lady was wandering through the wood. There are other thoughts to be had from the images, the great stones along the Avenue at Avebury is supposed to reflect male and female stones, and I have often wondered whether they to were people who have been turned into stone by unseen forces.
I shall record three poems from the book, the other two I recited to my children, the Mewlips one of course with great relish and a leap at the end. The cat one is in response towards cats who I feel are completely selfish creatures who live with humans without giving much in return.


There was a man who dwelt alone,
as day and night went past
he sat as still as carven stone,
and yet no shadow cast.

The white owls perched upon his head
beneath the winter moon;
they wiped their beaks and thought him dead
under the stars in June.

There came a lady clad in grey
in the twilight shinning:
one moment she would stand and stay,
her hair with flowers entwining.

He woke, as had he sprung from stone,
and broke the spell that bound him;
he clasped her fast, both flesh and bone,
and wrapped her shadow round him.

There never more she walks her ways
by sun or moon or star;
she dwells below where neither days
nor any nights there are.

But once a year when caverns yawn
and hidden things awake,
they dance together then till dawn
and a single shadow make.


The Mewlips
The Shadows where the Mewlips dwell
Are dark and wet as ink,
And slow and softly rings their bell,
As in the slime you sink.

You sink into the slime, who dare
To knock upon their door,
While down the grinning gargoyles stare
And noisome waters pour.

Beside the rotting river-strand
The drooping willows weep,
And gloomily the gorcrows stand
Croaking in their sleep.

Over the Merlock Mountains a long and weary way,
In a mouldy valley where the trees are grey,
By a dark pool´s borders without wind or tide,
Moonless and sunless, the Mewlips hide.

The cellars where the Mewlips sit
Are deep and dank and cold
With single sickly candle lit;
And there they count their gold.

Their walls are wet, their ceilings drip;
Their feet upon the floor
Go softly with a squish-flap-flip,
As they sidle to the door.

They peep out slyly; through a crack
Their feeling fingers creep,
And when they´ve finished, in a sack
Your bones they take to keep.

Beyond the Merlock Mountains, a long and lonely road,
Through the spider-shadows and the marsh of Tode,
And through the wood of hanging trees and gallows-weed,
You go to find the Mewlips - and the Mewlips feed.

The fat cat on the mat
may seem to dream
of nice mice that suffice
for him, or cream;
but he free, maybe,
walks in thought
unbowed, proud, where loud
roared and fought
his kin, lean and slim
,or deep in den
in the East feasted on beasts
and tender men.
The giant lion with iron
claw in paw,
and huge ruthless tooth
in gory jaw;
the pard dark-starred,
fleet upon feet,
that oft soft from aloft
leaps upon his meat
where woods loom in gloom --
far now they be,
fierce and free,
and tamed is he;
but fat cat on the mat
kept as a pet
he does not forget.