The Head of Annwn Addresses Arthur’s Raiding Party

This pearl-rimmed cauldron within the earth filled with stars and jewels,
how alluring it is, how you long for it. What will you learn from its mysteries?
Has it not already given you enough dark secrets? Secrets that could destroy your world?
What lies in the cauldron now you have done away with the knowledge of wise women?
Split the witches in half? Killed the giants? Driven to the seas the most ancient of boars?
You are on the wrong quest, looking for the wrong grail, the cure-all that does not exist.
Why don’t you go and take a long hard look down the darkest mines of yourselves?
At how in sleep and wakefulness constellations light the hallows of your world?
From these dull panels forged by a blue giant in red flames at an iron forge
when your world was young you cannot read your Awen: these are giants’ thoughts
and not for men who have given up love for old women, scrawny bald wolves,
a bony haggish earth, whose minds are shrunken and empty of gods.
The breath of nine maidens will not be earned until you kiss like true lovers.
So… Llenlleog lay down your sword. Taliesin cast your mind from praise poems.
Arthur be true to your bear-skin past hear your bones and the star of the north.
Welcome fires burn at Annwn’s doors for all who come in peace to my hospitality.
You will feast on mead, salient boar, nine songs strummed on the harp of eternity.
Yet know if you intend to kill me I have been killed a thousand times before.
The warm breath of maidens will turn to ice as they pursue you on raven’s wings.
Your stolen treasure will turn to dust. Nothing good will be brewed by the cauldron.
Every blow you strike is felt in both worlds and we will be waiting for when you fall.

*On Awen and Awenydd we have added a section on Annwn (the Brythonic Otherworld). There are new contributions on ‘Glossing Faery‘ by Charlotte Hussey and ‘Alternative meanings of ‘dwfn’ in Gogynfeirdd poetry‘ by Gwilym Morus-Baird. We’d love to hear from other folk exploring Annwn, interacting with its deities, or interested in Brythonic mythology. The website is open to submissions and you can say hello on our forum.

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One thought on “The Head of Annwn Addresses Arthur’s Raiding Party

  1. Another fine post. “Looking for the wrong grail” sums up too much of contemporary life in the West. But a remedy is at hand: the counsel of Annwn is pointed and individual as well as universal. When will we learn “every blow we strike is felt in both worlds”? Now that’s a worthy question!

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