Chicken scraps

Chicken scraps

Rocket, iceberg lettuce, spinach,

cherry tomatoes sweet as candy,

Stilton rind, a little ham fat.

 

Our lean, brown chickens,

quick and merry as circus clowns,

pick peck and click cluck their way

 

on tip-claw through the scatterings,

bright-eyed in their gourmandising,

chuckling to each other like

 

Sloane Rangers

but perhaps

less fussy.

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On the death of a neighbour

Adam fell, not like the patriarch,
but closing the cattle gate
with his quad still in park,

throttle idling, and he late
back to the farmhouse for coffee,
Jean wondering if he might

be clearing a fallen tree
or helping a hobbling sheep.
She climbed the hill to see

and found him asleep
in Death’s gentle embrace
on the short and steep

curve of the muddy track.
His eyes were open wide
in his upturned face

as though he had tried
to get a better look
at the problem and slid

under Life’s axle to check.
She called his name,
tried to bring him back,

but he was gone,
in the youth of his new form
and already working on

his new farm.

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Dunadd

Dunadd is the ancestral seat of the kings of Dal Riada. A craggy outcrop of rock in a flat part of the Kilmartin Glen north of Lochgilphead in Argyll, it is famous for its unique stone carvings just below the upper enclosure, including a footprint and basin thought to have formed part of Dal Riada’s coronation

ritual. Like everyone else who struggles to the summit, I put my foot in the king’s “coronation footprint”. My guess is it’s about a size 7. The glass slipper was definitely too small for me.

This stone hollow is where they put their feet,

naked and white below a red-haired knee,

with brothers or bards or bishops to meet

the solemn, ancient, awful company

of wraiths of former kings, dead and divine,

their spectral breath hanging in the white mist,

their pale, bony fingers pointing the way.

 

Here they knelt, sons of their fathers, in line

for that glorious, deadly duty, here kissed

the dark rock, prostrated themselves to pray.

They drank their cup of pomp, their purple wine,

they called on gods’ or God’s help in the list,

on sprites and angels in the battle line,

on Mercy as they faced Death’s lonesome tryst.

 

In plaids and feathers, great lairds came to greet

their sovereign laird in all his majesty,

to celebrate his coronation day.

But when the ceremonies were complete,

no matter what he thought himself to be,

his royal feet were merely feet of clay.

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The Hawk Ring accepted for premium distribution

Exciting news – The Hawk Ring has now been accepted into the premium distribution channels of Smashwords.  This means that you can find it in Barnes and Noble (a NOOK Book), Apple, Sony, Kobo, Diesel, Amazon and Scrollmotion.

Here’s the Barnes and Noble link:

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/The-Hawk-Ring/Yowann-Byghan/e/2940011269622/?itm=1&USRI=the+hawk+ring

Happy reading!

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Glenelg

Glenelg, a broad glacial valley sloping gently down to a wide, handsome bay, used to be a main route to Skye, until the new ferry (and more recently the road bridge) were established at Kyle of Lochalsh. Nowadays, the little ferry carries only a few cars at a time to Kylerhea, its two operators being helped by a friendly but manic border collie.

The valley itself, still very unspoiled, is packed with history. A little to the north are four sets of barracks built after the 1715 Jacobite rebellion. The best-preserved broch in mainland Scotland is Dun Telve (pictured), in Gleann Beag in the southern part of Glenelg. These Iron Age defensive settlements, with their intricate double-walled construction, are an impressive reminder that our ancestors were often far more ingenious and sophisticated than we sometimes suppose.


Glenelg

 

My lips are cold as the tip of my spear.

I stamp my feet, swathed in supple deer hide,

but my toes still ache, my breath is a cloud,

my nose runs, I cannot feel my ears.

Father Sun is pale and weak, an old man.

He hides behind the white mist this morning,

like a coward in battle shivering,

covering his golden eye with his hand.

Today will be long. I will stand today

like a forest oak whose leaves barely stir,

like a rock, like the wise Old Man of Storr,

and all men and things evil will keep away.

My wife, gods preserve her, and my wee bairns

lie safe and warm, I trust, within these stones

behind me, this broch, this keep and home

my brothers and I built with our own hands.

No wolf will dare approach, no hungry bear,

no men of the south shaking their white spears,

no dark-faced, bearded sailors from northern shores,

no petty lordling seeking fame and honour.

We carried these stones, my brothers and I,

and our knuckles bled. That blood sacrifice,

little and simple as it was, has sufficed.

We fear nothing but the falling of the sky.

 

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The Little Drummer Boy

It was a little drummer boy

marched tae Culloden Moor;

Prince Charlie was his hert o’ joy,

Duke Cumberland his foe.

Though cold and rain had struck him dumb,

though he was wet and sair,

he struck his drum till Kingdom Come,

and drums for ever mair.

 

The Butcher had his meat that day,

and days that followed on;

he slaughtered a’ that came his way,

slew mony a mother’s son.

The wives and bairns he also slew;

the streams wi’ blood ran reid.

He torched their crofts and stabbed them through,

and left them lying deid.

 

In London town they raise a glass

and toast their glorious king;

for Cumberland, that pompous ass,

their sangs o’ praise they sing.

Prince Charlie’s fled, his day is o’er,

he sips his brandy wine,

and on Culloden’s bloody moor

the carrion corbies dine.

 

Of kings the drummer boy kenned naught,

of causes great and sma’;

for Scotland and for hame he fought,

for them he gave his a’.

A bullet struck him in the jaw,

anither pierced his brain,

and as his life’s blood flowed awa’,

he struck his drum again.

 

It was a little drummer boy

marched tae Culloden Moor;

Prince Charlie was his hert o’ joy,

Duke Cumberland his foe.

Though cold and rain had struck him dumb,

though he was wet and sair,

he struck his drum till Kingdom Come,

and drums for ever mair.

Copyright © 2011 by Yowann Byghan. All rights reserved. No portion of the material contained in this site may be reproduced without the expressed written consent of the author.

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Welcome to My New Blog

I have just started this blog, which contains some poems from a new collection which I hope to have finished by the end of the year. It also has the first chapter of my historical novel, The Hawk Ring (see below). I’ll also be putting other writing, songs and photos in the blog as time goes on.

My novel The Hawk Ring is now available from Amazon on Kindle. For further details, go to:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004RWU908.

The Hawk Ring is set in 50 CE, when the main character, Cadno, is aged 19 and beginning his druidic training, and takes place amidst the British revolt against the Romans that was led by Caratacos (Caractacus).

Yowann Byghan

Copyright © 2011 by Yowann Byghan. All rights reserved. No portion of the material contained in this site may be reproduced without the expressed written consent of the author.

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