Porth Annwn

Porth-Annwfyn. Some numinous, arcane agnomen, but which to my dream cognition was livid as moonshine and did plainly signify: Gate of Elysium.’
– David Jones The Dream of Private Clitus

Where is the door?
The shadowy portal exists
In the thickness of the veil
In the heart of mist
Where life divides
And fateful cataracts meet.
There are as many doors
As you have eyes that open.

And who is the porter?
It is never who you thought it would be.
It is always who secretly you knew
From the world’s beginning.

There are many doors
And I can speak of but a few.

Trees keep doors.
They are not in the front or back
But in the spiralling melt
Into arboreal existence.
This is the forest path.

Look into a river
To find yourself on the mirror side.
Remember to be returned
With the turning of the tide.

To reach the summer stars
Seek out a silver space ship.
Beware for Elysium’s bliss
Is more deadly than Annwn’s darkness.

Beside the door of death
A spectral hound sits.
He’s black or white-
Depends on the way
You’re looking.
He swallows whole souls.
The lucky ones hit the ground running.

6 thoughts on “Porth Annwn

  1. Nicolas le Becheur says:

    Needs a rewrite, as it seems to me the Awen comes and goes. Lines 5 and 6 of Stanza III are weak, but 8 to 11 are superb. Last stanza: A white hound (with red ears) is negative, and you’d expect that, when Andedubnon’s darkness is our light, and its light, our darkness. But you know Arawn has a whole pack of them. Rigantona rides a coal-black mare (Mari Dhu) on the other side. Did you know Elysium is one of three planes in the Classical Otherworld? One head of Dis Pater’s hound regards each. So much more it evokes, than it says. I think you could simply lose the arboretal spiralling melt and describe the Forest Path (‘there is no road through the woods’, as Kipling said) in just those three remaining lines. The name of the silver space ship, is it not Prydwen? If you don’t mess around with these ideas, I promise you I will.

    • lornasmithers says:

      Thanks for your comments. Agreed, there’s alot of room for improvement, and filling out that calls for further explorations. Interesting that you’ve also noted the colour shift. I’ve never seen this made explicit anywhere. The ship can sail the deeps of both sea and sky (not sure if ultimately they’re the same- as above so below?). It didn’t tell me it’s name.

      Like most of the poems on these pages this one is part of the groundwork for… I’m not sure what.

  2. Blau Stern Schwarz Schlonge says:

    Reblogged this on Blau Stern Schwarz Schlonge and commented:
    Here is a great poem by Lorna Smithers about various doorways into Annwyn, the Otherworlds. She also has a new post on the Moon Books blog which fleshes out her Bardic Druidic path a little more. And there are others to explore at that site too. I had to laugh reading this poem because i have used a silver disk shaped ship to astrally travel to the star worlds since i had a vision of such back in 1987. Enjoy and Blessed Be as ye travel thusly.

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