Battle of the Trees poetic version

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    david poole

    This is not a memory exercise, this is my first attempt at poetry. I adapted it from the lessons, it is not my own work. The aim was to try to create something within the poetic form, which I have never done before. I tried to make it read like a poem, but cannot tell how well it works. The flow and the wording changed quite a bit, here and there. It does have some resemblance to the form used by the Havamal; I don’t know whether this was coincidence or not. What made me think this was the way in which the narrator is speaking to his audience, this poem does remind me of that quite closely.


    The Battle of the Trees

    I have existed within a multitude of shapes
    Until I finally assumed a consistent form
    I have been a sword, narrow and variegated
    I will believe that when it is apparent

    I have been a tear in the air
    I have been the dullest of the stars
    I have been a word among letters
    I have been a book in the making

    I have been the light of lanterns
    For a year and a half
    I have been a continuous bridge
    Over three score Abers

    I have been a course
    I have been an eagle
    I have been a coracle in the seas
    I have been compliant in a banquet

    I have been a drop in a shower
    I have been a sword in the grasp of a hand
    I have been a shield in battle
    I have been a string in a harp
    Disguised for nine years

    I have been in water
    I have been in foam
    I have been a sponge in the fire
    I have been the wood in a covert

    I am not he who will not sing of combat though it be small
    The conflict in the battle of Godeu of sprigs
    The battle against the Guledig of Prydain
    Where passed the central horses and fleets full of riches

    There passed an animal with wide jaws
    On this animal there were a hundred heads
    A battle was contested under the root of its tongue
    And another battle was on the back of its head

    There was a black sprawling toad with a hundred claws on it
    There was a snake speckled and crested
    A hundred sinful souls shall be tormented in its flesh

    I have been in Caer Vevenir
    Where thethe grass and the trees were hastened
    Minstrels were singing there, warrior-bands were wondering
    At the exaltation of the Brython that Gwydyon had effected

    There was a calling on the Creator, upon Christ for causes
    Until when the Eternal should deliver those whom he had made
    The Lord answered them through language and elements
    Take now the forms of the principal trees, arranging yourselves in battle array
    And restrain the public where they are inexperienced in battle hand to band

    The trees were enchanted expecting not to be trees
    The trees uttered their voices from strings of harmony
    Their disputes soon ceased

    Let us cut short the heavy days
    A woman restrained the din
    She came forth altogether lovely
    The head of the line she was

    The advantage of a sleepless cow would not make us give way
    Even though the blood of our men was up to our thighs
    The greatest of importunate mental exertions sported in the world
    One man died from considering the deluge

    Christ has been crucified and the day of judgment is near at hand
    The alder-trees are the head of the line forming the van
    The willows and the quicken-trees came late to the army
    The plum-trees are scarce and unpopular among men

    The elaborate medlar-trees are the objects of contention
    The prickly rose-bushes set themselves against a host of giants
    The raspberry brake which did better still failed
    For the security of life there is privet and woodbine
    The ivy on its front like furze to the combat

    The cherry-tree was provoked
    The birch, notwithstanding his high mind
    Stood long before he was arrayed
    Not because of his cowardice
    But on account of his greatness

    The laburnum bore in mind that your wild nature was foreign
    The pine-trees in the porch were the chair of disputation
    They were greatly praised by me in the presence of the kings
    The elm with his retinue did not go aside a foot
    He would fight with the centre
    And the flanks, and the rear

    Hazel-trees, it was judged
    Ample was their mental exertion
    The privet was happy with his lot
    The bull of battle and the lord of the world

    Morawg and Morydd became prosperous in pines
    Holly was tinted with green
    He was the hero

    The hawthorn was surrounded by prickles
    Pain was at his hand
    The aspen-wood has been topped
    It was topped in battle

    The fern was plundered
    The broom was in the van of the army
    In the trenches he was hurt
    The gorse did not do well, but let it overspread

    The heath was victorious
    Defending on all sides
    The common peoples were charmed
    During the marching of the men

    The oak was moving quickly
    Before him trembled heaven and earth
    He was a valiant door-keeper against an enemy
    His name is now well reknowned

    The blue-bells combined forces
    And caused a consternation
    In rejecting they were rejected
    Other were perforated

    Pear-trees, the best intruders in the conflict of the plain
    They were a very wrathful wood
    The chestnut was bashful
    The very opponent of happiness

    The jet has become black, the mountain has become crooked
    The woods have become a kiln
    Existing formerly in the great seas
    Since was heard the shout:

    “The tops of the birch covered us with leaves
    It has transformed us, changing our faded state
    The branches of the oak have ensnared us
    From the Gwarchan of Maelderw”

    There was laughter on the side of the rock
    The lord is not of an ardent nature
    Not of mother and father, when I was made
    Did my Creator create me
    Of nine-formed faculties, of the fruit of fruits

    Of the fruit of the primordial God
    Of the primroses and blossoms of the hill
    Of the flowers of the trees and the shrubs
    Of the earth or of an earthly course

    When I was created from the flowers of nettles
    Of the water of the ninth wave
    I was enchanted by Math
    Before I became immortal
    I was enchanted by Gwydyon
    The great purifier of the Brython
    Of Eurwys, of Euron, Of Euron, of Modron
    Of the five battalions of scientific ones
    They were the teachers and the children of Math

    When the removal occurred I was enchanted by the Guledig
    When he was half-burnt, I was enchanted
    By the sage of sages in the primitive world
    When I had a being, when the host of the world was in dignity
    The bard was accustomed to receiving benefits

    To the song of praise I am inclined
    Which my tongue recites
    I played in the twilight, I slept in purple
    I was truly in the enchantment with Dylan
    Who was the son of the wave

    In the circumference, in the middle
    Between the knees of kings
    Scattering spears not keen
    From heaven when came
    To the great deep there came floods

    In the battle there will be four score hundred men
    Divided according to their will
    They are neither older nor younger
    Than myself in their divisions.

    A wonder, Canhwr arc born, every one of nine hundred
    He was with me also, with my sword spotted with blood
    Honour was allotted to me by the Lord
    Protection was there wherever he was

    If I come to where the boar was killed
    He will compose, he will decompose
    He will form languages

    The strong-handed gleamer is his name
    With a gleam he rules his numbers
    They would spread out in a flame
    Whenever I went on high

    I have been a speckled snake on a hill
    I have been a viper in the Llyn
    I have been a crooked bill-hook crooked which cuts
    I have been a ferocious spear
    With my chasuble and bowl I will not prophesy badly

    Four score smokes on everyone that will bring
    Five battalions of arms will be caught by my knife
    Six steeds of yellow hue
    A hundred times better is my cream-coloured steed
    Swift as the sea-mew which will not pass
    Between the sea and the shore

    Am I not pre-eminent in the field of blood?
    Over it are a hundred chieftains
    Crimson is the gem of my belt
    Gold is the border of my shield

    There has not been born in the gap that has been visiting me
    Anyone except Goronwy
    From the dales of Edrywy

    Long white are my fingers
    It is long since I have been a herdsman
    I have travelled in the earth before I was a proficient in learning

    I travelled, I made a circuit, I slept in a hundred islands
    A hundred Caers I have dwelt in
    Oh you intelligent Druids, declare this to Arthur
    What is there more early than I that they sing of

    And one is come from considering the deluge
    And Christ was crucified
    And the day of future doom looms

    A golden gem in a golden jewel
    I am splendid and shall be wanton
    From the oppression of the blacksmiths


    Hi David.

    Nice work. I like some of your alliterations too.



    The ogham script was changing, and the meaning of the trees were now different, so the language was changing and the battle for meaning was on. Are you as mighty as an oak or as long living as an apple, the trees were changing reality, the world, is not set in concrete, and the stone is living. Are you sure the past really happened the way you think it did, or is the clock now broken, and only the trees remember, and know. Or is it only the living stone that remembers. What does a holly stand for, or the horns of dilemma, the mistletoe, white in winter, the king of healing, but who is the queen? And why are the trees changing their meaning? Has the world changed with man’s treating trees with disrespect, only to be used for furniture and toilet paper. We owe our lives to the trees. As druids we are close to the trees, and know them. Relax, and sit under a tree. I hope the older meaning of the trees wins and not the new meaning of the trees. think of the tree cards that Greywolf made. They are much better than the tarot of the golden dawn with its Egyptian gods. what are the tree cards meanings now, and were they different before the battle? Christ died on the tree, and he was a Kabbala master. Did Alister Crowley know about the magic of trees or was he too busy with Thoth, and Anubis standing ten feet tall outside his door at dawn. The Egyptian gods are still going strong today. But we druids are only looking for truth, and Egyptian gods don’t concern us, or partisan politics. We are beyond all that. We work with the trees, and the living stone, and the Celtic Gods and Goddesses. The druids speak in early welsh, which is close to what the trees speak. Relax, is the key, speak with the trees, speak with the living stone, and not the slabs of concrete that the British poured into the holy druid site of Newgrange. And leave holy druid sites alone from now on. they are not tourist attractions, but the druid temples. How can we understand what a druid is unless we use their language, which welsh is very close to, like the world experience, which is Profiad, or brofiad in welsh. Druids would profiad or brofiad life. I like brofiad better. You have to brofiad life. Unerstanding is all about the language, and there is no way to understand a culture without using their language because their words hold different meaning, and ways of understanding things. I think I will brofiad that tree, and be the tree, be the brofiad. And profedig the tree, dude. Welsh is the closest language to old gaelic. Taliesin would have been written is something like welsh, and we get the word awen from welsh. When we lose language we lose culture, and much more, we lose understanding of spirituality. And what better way to wipe out the scotish and irish than to try to wipe out their language like the british did. Even today there are Scottish people who are against learning gaelic. The words are the reality. Inspiration is not the same thing as awen. The welsh at least are holding on to their language. And if welsh was lost we would lose much more than language, we would lose magic and reality. So, I will profedig the trees.


    the slabs of concrete that the British poured into the holy druid site of Newgrange.

    When did that happen? The only concrete work at Newgrange that I’m aware of was some restoration done in the 1980s. The site was in a really bad conditions and so, commencing in the 1960s and 1970s, urgent conservation and restoration work was needed.


    It was the restoration work in the 60’s and 70’s, There was no urgent work necessary and they were only trying to make so that they could bring the tourist in without liability. The Problem Dowrigi is that concrete is not living stone and does not carry the same life force in it. The concrete slabs were extensive, and were put all along the entrance way to the vaulted chambers in the back. But in doing this they seriously hurt a world heritage site, and it is this type of thing that has to stop. There is nothing to be done now, but I hope the druids can stop or protest this type of stuff in the future. There are some really magical places in Scotland and Ireland and England, and the people in government just do not understand what they are. And of course there are local people who want to make money off of tourism. The magical world is still and will always be hidden to those who are not in the know. They don’t understand what the places really are, and even many so called druids do not have the first clue. There are many druids who are not looking for the spiritual side of druidism, they are only looking for the cultural and historical side of druidism, trying to bring back the heroic days of king author and the roundtable. This started in about 1880 and is still going strong. It is really more about nationalism than druidism. Druidism was marketed to the rich judges and lawyers and doctors and lords and ladies as a game and a reenactment. There is nothing wrong with this, but it is not what real druids are about. We are not about being cops and judges. We are not doctors, but we are healers. We are not royalty, but we are royal in our kindness and love towards nature. We do not, and never have hurt people, and we have never used our magic powers to hurt any person or animal. Again we are not cops, or warriors of the Morgan. We are not the judges, and we are not the doctors. No druid is ever going to around policing people and judging people. Druids who have walked through the hedge and experienced the otherworld know this is true.


    Hello again. I see. I was just curious because you said the British had poured concrete into it and I wasn’t aware of this. It seems like work was actually done by Irish academics and experts in the field of archaeology and conservation of ancient monuments.

    It’s always a dilemma with ancient monuments, but, to be fair, Newgrange was in a very bad state before the 1960s. I’m sure the good people of the mounds appreciate it that someone is caring for their otherworldly home. It’s similar with Stonehenge in a way, the whole complex was rearranged and tidied up in the 1930s if I’m not mistaken. What do you do? Let them fall down and disappear forever?

    I’m not sure about concrete, after all, it’s mineral based and the Egyptians were using early forms of concrete/cement 5000 years ago, so I wouldn’t be so harsh on those who are seeking to preserve and learn from these sites either. Restoration work always courts controversy at the best of times.

    As an aside, someone claiming to be a druid and then seeking to restore the realm of King Arthur and the Round Table, in the name of some kind of “Celtic” nationalism, should really go back to their history books. The Round Table was a medieval Norman invention, it isn’t found in the Welsh texts. Much like Merlin, the “historical” figure(s) has/have long been forgotten and we’re left with the composite figure invented by Geoffrey of Monmouth, moreover, a figure which, with later embellishments, has come to define Merlin in many ways. This is a shame, in a sense, because the story of the “real” Merlin, Myrddin Wyllt, is quite tragic yet also very informative for people studying to be bards and druids in our times.


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