Maponus Chant

Sun set over Penwortham, December 2012From a night of long sleep
In the dark of the womb
Maponus Maponus
Awaken the dawn

With a beam of bright youth
From a wild shy horse
Maponus Maponus
Illumine the morn

In a smiling ascent
To a shining throne
Maponus Maponus
Rise high at noon

Emblazoning clouds
And falling through leaves
Maponus Maponus
Colour the eve

With a sinking yawn
To the arms of trust
Maponus Maponus
Descend at dusk

6 thoughts on “Maponus Chant

  1. Gwynn ap Nudd says:

    I think this poem is absolutely brilliant.
    It does not really need comment.

    But I’ll share some of my thoughts sat here a day after the solstice as now at 4.30pm the darkness returns outside through my window.
    What I like is the hope there is in the poem for something new and something kinder for all of us in the future
    I thought of a poem like this by Maya Angelou.
    It’s called..

    Still I rise

    Your poem starts..

    ‘From a night of long sleep
    In the dark of the womb
    Awaken the dawn’

    And Maya Angelou talks about something being born, growing out of a painful past, out of a ‘black ocean’- like a womb-and like Maponus rising into daybreak and into the ‘shining throne’ of your poem.
    Maya Angelou is a black American poet-one of her poems was used by Clinton in his inaugural address.
    Well worth getting to know.
    She speaks in this poem below of slavery and exile.
    The figure of Maponus is linked in Welsh mythology (via the Mabinogion) to Mabon.
    Mabon was abducted from his mother after 3 days and Angelou’s poem is like a chant with 3 refrains of
    I rise
    I rise
    I rise
    Jesus of course was buried for 3 days before the resurrection that Christians believe in.
    ‘He was crucified, dead and buried. After three days he rose again’
    According to the creed.
    This is a time now when the sun is on the change and for 3 nights it seems like we have our shortest 3 days before the days shorten and we gradually move to new lfe in spring.
    And three is a magical number to the Celts. Patrick referred to this with his shamrock
    Mabon was held apart from his mother in captivity,in prison, and in myth was eventually freed by Arthur’s men.
    So Mabon knew exile and slavery too.
    I can’t repeat the whole poem-but do check it out-here are the last 2 verses of
    Still I Rise.

    Still I Rise

    Out of the huts of history’s shame
    I rise
    Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
    I rise
    I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
    Welling and swelling, I bear in the tide.

    Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
    I rise
    Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
    I rise
    Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave
    I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
    I rise.
    I rise
    I rise.


  2. Gwynn ap Nudd says:

    I say again ‘thanks’ for a great poem
    Or perhaps I should say its a Chant.

    You ask Maponus/Mabon to….
    Awaken the Dawn
    To illumine the morn
    Rise high at noon
    Colour the eve
    Descend the Dusk.

    Just as if he were the Sun.

    We may think we are the centreof this world but we are not.
    We may think this world is the centre of the solar system but it isn’t.
    We can’t yet do much but depend on the Sun.
    So in a ay we sing away our chant in a gilded cage.

    But it was Mabon/Maponus who in myth knew what it was like to be in prison
    To have to depend.
    To be exiled.
    To be lost from the orange sun rays, unable to claim the sky.

    For Maponus/Mabon it seems his wings were clipped and his feet were tied
    The first solstice remembered like the Last.
    Buried with no hope of resurrection.
    Not as in your poem.
    No bright youth, no smiling ascent to his throne

    But then in the Mabinogion.
    He was saved

    How lucky we are to be free.
    If indeed like the sun we are free
    Free as a bird.

    I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

    The free bird leaps
    on the back of the win
    and floats downstream
    till the current ends
    and dips his wings
    in the orange sun rays
    and dares to claim the sky.

    But a bird that stalks
    down his narrow cage
    can seldom see through
    his bars of rage
    his wings are clipped and
    his feet are tied
    so he opens his throat to sing.

    The caged bird sings
    with fearful trill
    of the things unknown
    but longed for still
    and his tune is heard
    on the distant hill for the caged bird
    sings of freedom

    The free bird thinks of another breeze
    an the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
    and the fat worms waiting on the dawn-bright lawn
    and he names the sky his own.

    But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
    his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
    his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
    so he opens his throat to sing

    The caged bird sings
    with a fearful trill
    of things unknown but longed for still
    and his tune is heard on the distant hill
    for the caged bird
    sings of freedom.


  3. Gwynn ap Nudd says:

    Thank you so much -I say again-for a great poem that is so absolutely right.
    The poem chants to Maponus
    Even as Dusk Descends
    There’s still hope in this poem of yours.
    We need something to take with us into that night.

    Hold fast to dreams
    For if dreams die
    Life is a broken-winged bird
    That cannot fly.
    Hold fast to dreams
    For when dreams go
    Life is a barren field
    Frozen with snow.
    Langston Hughes


  4. Gwynn ap Nudd says:

    Thanks for this wonderful poem about A Chant for Maponus/Mabon.
    Just as darkness falls, we can have a sense of the futility of it all
    and hope seems to be gone in the bleak mid-winter
    But your poem is like a Winter Wonderland for me.
    Perhaps we are here for some purpose or we can find one.
    Its like the rhythyms of nature will it that way.
    Like you can feel the wind in your sail when you least expect it or when its darkest, its atually preparing for light.
    This one’s for the little birds this winter
    Who matter every one.
    Who are there for a reason
    Can a solstice bring a new age?
    Fulfill prophecy?
    Our lives are short and this world is a mystery
    Do we face a day when the songbird never sings
    A Silent Spring.
    The answer is blowing in the wind
    Songbird please sing.

    ‘Awaken the Dawn
    Illumine the Morn
    Rise High at Noon
    Colour the Eve
    Descend the Dusk’
    Sing for me
    Blowing in the Wind
    A Bird

    In the salt meadow
    Lay the dead bird.
    The wind was fluttering its wings.

    Sheila Wingfield

  5. Gwynn ap Nudd says:

    Great poem is your poem.
    Yes I’m back at it
    Still takng it in.
    The solstice and this Chant to Maponus/Mabon.
    Everything is Going to Be All Right

    How should I not be glad to contemplate
    the clouds clearing beyond the dormer window
    and a high tide reflected on the ceiling?
    There will be dying, there will be dying,
    but there is no need to go into that.
    The poems flow from the hand unbidden
    and the hidden source is the watchful heart.
    The sun rises in spite of everything
    and the far cities are beautiful and bright.
    I lie here in a riot of sunlight
    watching the day break and the clouds flying.
    Everything is going to be all right.
    Derek Mahon

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