Poetry for Gwyn ap Nudd

When You Hunt for Souls in the Winter Rain

For Gwyn on Nos Galan Gaeaf

When you hunt for souls in the winter rain
With your snorting horse and hound unleashed
I shall listen in the gaps between towns knowing
Through trembling years you come in many guises.

When you hunt for souls in the winter rain
I shall listen in the gaps between towns knowing
Your face is the night storm of the underworld
And you shall bring terror to end all terror

With your snorting horse and hound unleashed.
Knowing through the years you come in many guises
I shall not only hail you as a warrior or medieval king
On the corpse roads I walk to ancestral graveyards.

When you hunt for souls in the winter rain
I shall listen in the gaps between towns knowing
You shall not only lead the hunt or coffin bearers
To the toll of bells casting your glamour

With your snorting horse and hound unleashed.
Knowing through the years you come in many guises
I shall be wary yet ultimately know you bring peace.
Beneath these catacombs is something beautiful.

~

Winter King

you take me back to what is raw,
glacial plains of horror,
the obnoxious beauty of it all

to beyond the ice age
when millennia ago we met
when the universe drew breath,

when the binding song coalesced.
You came as cold wind
and your inspiration was death.

You are the muse that moves the forest,
the ice that strips the hills,
the hunt that runs without flesh or bone

by the force of its boreal will.
Your voice is the chill that keeps me alive,
the poem that sparkles when all else dies.

When frost rimes my window I cannot forget
you were there at my beginning
and will greet me again at the end.

~

If I Had To Fight Your Battle

For Gwyn on Nos Galan Mai

If I had to fight your battle
could I wake every day
and live with growing trepidation
about the coming of May?

If I had to fight your battle
could I prepare every year,
knowing the inevitability of cycles
still face my rival with honour?

If I had to fight your battle
could I do so, wind, rain or shine
or would I flee the harsh rule of these islands
and head for sunnier climes?

If I had to fight your battle
would I do so for woman or man,
stature, sovereignty,
or the broken heart of this land?

If I had to fight your battle
would I do so with sword and spear
or resort to guns and nuclear arms
to blast away this deadlock with my fear?

If I had to fight your battle
could I do so until Judgement Day?
If I lost could I let go,
knowing love will never die?

~

Gwyn’s Death and Departure

You say you come from many battles and many deaths.
I try not to hold on or shed tears on the edge
of summer.

You’ve been doing this for many years.
I’m the fearful one.

After death you staunch your wounds,
draw your blood back
into itself

before your hounds come forever guides into the mists
with your horse who carries the dead.

You’ve never been more yourself.

You remind me of the November
we touched the moon and tell me not to mourn.

You are long-lived and my summers are limited:
hours to be savoured as a bee
drinks nectar from
a gold cup.

I cast off my grief
for my gown is not yet a shroud.

On the motorway bridge
where the railings sing like hummingbirds in the gale

I am alive yet your hunt is never far off.

~

Gwyn’s Hall

Summer here and winter there
My longest day your darkest night
Hoar frost drapes your haunted fortress
Whilst swallows ride my glowing sunlight.

Summer here and winter there
My brightest day your longest night
Whilst blackbirds sing my endless fanfare
Crazy owl streaks across your vaunted midnight.

Winter there and summer here
And I between them like the song
That lies unsung between the years
Between your hall and my brief home.

~

No Theodicy

I.
Gwyn ap Nudd, they say you delight
in the crashing of spears in the underworld.

Gwyn ap Nudd, they say you hold the wrath
of the demons of Annwn within your soul.

Gwyn ap Nudd, they say you stole
the most majestic of maidens to your underground home.

Gwyn ap Nudd, they say you ripped out
Nwython’s heart and fed it still beating to his own damn son.

Gwyn ap Nudd, they say you are a fallen god.

II.
Is this rumour and hearsay or does myth hold truth?
Well then you are terrible, yet I fain to judge

for you cast no shame on the troubled souls
you gather together in your golden halls.

Why you wrest the battle dead
from the killing fields and horror of slaughter

and rescue those wandering the limbo-lands
of fear and depression I still have no answer.

I see you surrounded by a cloud of mist
with a hound at your side making plans for the future.

As your visions pass I cannot guess them
but know they are won from the weight of the worlds.

I examine and question the ways of the gods
yet make no excuses for you or my path.

I love my life and adore your mysteries.
This is no theodicy.

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