The Bull-Horned Fortress

In the Age of Dragons you were a dragon and when you battled against your rival and were killed I built your fortress from your dragon bones. Crowned it with the horns from your dragon brow, the jewel in your forehead, light of the North.

In the Age of Giants you were a giant and when you battled against your rival and were killed I built your fortress from your giant bones. Crowned it with the horns from your horned helmet, your faces four looking out, rotating, turning. 

In the Age of Bulls you were a bull and when you battled against your rival and were killed I built your fortress from your aurochs bones. Crowned it with your mighty horns, the hooves of your many feet took it north, stampeding, snorting.

In the Age of Men you were a man and when you battled against your rival and were killed I built your fortress, as men do, from stone, from glass, from stories. I gathered your bones, laid you within, crowned it with your horned helmet.

Thus endures the story of your Fortress of Wonders and your sleep until Winter.

This prose piece and image were created following a meditation on Gwyn’s death and departure on Calan Mai. For many years I have experienced visions of his Bull-Horned Fortress and this morning I had a profound sense of it enduring through a series of mythic ages and myself being present throughout to tend his death and build his fortress.

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.