Thursday, 30 July 2009


A single shadow falls

from my feet into the forest

The wind has wet weather

in its mouth

Words splinter, running away

and I chase as fast as a thought

As fast as a hand might grasp another

touch and examine- lines, scars, patterns

Whose hand then?

Writhing in my palm

Fingers washing a story onto my skin

So now I prepare to decide

What has this year produced

What notions remain

Were the moments as rich as the story

Will my bruises and cuts heal

Another feast that strikes the year in questions

Each finger a different place to follow

A valley, a curve, an edge, a health mark in every nail

All you need is glove.

Roger 30/7/09

Return from WOMAD....

I've been busy...WOMAD and workshops (making printing blocks)...but back now in time to celebrate Lughnasadh (pronounced loo'nass'ah) one of the four festivals of Celtic year.
The festival of the Irish god Lugh marking the first day of the harvest.
Traditionally a time of community gatherings, market festivals, horse races and reunions with distant family and friends.
Among the Irish it was a favored time for handfastings - trial marriages that would generally last a year and a day, with the option of ending the contract before the new year, or later formalizing it as a more permanent good Celtic Yearites we have celebrated this tradition...all be it a little early....WOMAD Handfasting The Movie...see it here soon!
Sally x

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

'Words & Ideas' at Coleford Festival


during the Coleford Festival of Words, one of the events was called 'Words & Ideas' and involved myself, Sally, Liz (all of the CY project) and Lori Strong Wisdom, a visual artist from just over the Welsh border.

We four were presenting a 'show and tell' about the multi-art form or artist-collaborative activities that we've been enjoying recently. The concept of the event was that everyone should 'have a go' at creative expression, in whatever form they wished to ... to just play!

In the audience was Bridget. I met Bridget when she came to a Writing Fairy Tales workshop that I delivered at Beechenhurst Loft in the Forest, this was about three years ago, so it was lovely for me to see her again.

And then even more lovely, a few days after the Festival to receive through the post a letter and accompanying poem from Bridget. I've copied the letter and poem below - after asking Bridget's permission to do so. She refers to the event as 'Words and Images' which methinks is a better title, maybe we'll retitle the event for next year's Festival :-)

Bridget doesn't have internet access, but I'll pass on to her any comments that you might want to make after reading the poem.


Dear Fi

It was good to see you at the Festival. I found your 'Words and Images' an oasis calm in the middle of a hectic week. How wonderful adults can allow themselves to do something for pure enjoyment and admit it!

I threw a few words together to help me remember the evening and enclose a copy so you will know someone listened to what you had to say!

I still can't believe you put that in your pocket!

Kind regards


Do you remember play?
Carefree, unfettered joy,
Mind and body
Free to wander the
Path of imagination.
Young child's 'friend'
Known only to the believer
Invisible to those
Trapped by convention,
Rules and regulations.

Some break free.
One tore pages
From a favourite book
Then placed them
On banana sheets.
Gave words life,
Colour and movement,
Her reward – FUN –
To a loved one
A precious gift.

An artist put aside her work
Painted for pleasure
Immortalising a dream.
Orchard rich with bloom
Bathed in moonlight.
These blossoms will not fade
Or be forgotten.
Her birch trees too
Remain erect, unscathed
Nature's everlasting cathedral pillars.

Another, given
Unexpected time and space
Chose to play with words,
Some her own,
Others lent by friends.
She stirred them round
Sought bits that fit,
Helped them to join together
Releasing poetry
She had not expected.

Another, opening her eyes in dark places
Found Nature's magic in
Fungi, black and apple-shaped
Which she carried in a pocket.
To her delight
It drew mysterious circles overnight.
When spent she placed it in
The garden to revive.
This was not its element
It belonged in dark, damp places
Yet it was here she found her
Light at the end of a tunnel.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Exhibition Photos

Some photographs from the exhibition. Taken by Lindsey and Sally. More to follow.
But here's one of our project manager...

Icelandic solstice

The image is on the site of the early "Parliament" I imagine the storyteller/musician standing on the large rock in the forground....

Word below from this website.

Some men could sing and play the harp. This made the stories all the more interesting. People called such men "skalds," and they called their songs "sagas."

Every midsummer there was a great meeting. Men from all over Iceland came to it and made laws. During the day there were rest times, when no business was going on. Then some skald would take his harp and walk to a large stone or a knoll and stand on it and begin a song of some brave deed of an old Norse hero. At the first sound of the harp and the voice, men came running from all directions, crying out:

"The skald! The skald! A saga!"

They stood about for hours and listened. They shouted applause. When the skald was tired, some other man would come up from the crowd and sing or tell a story. As the skald stepped down from his high position, some rich man would rush up to him and say:

"Come and spend next winter at my house. Our ears are thirsty for song."

So the best skalds traveled much and visited many people. Their songs made them welcome everywhere. They were always honored with good seats at a feast. They were given many rich gifts.

Ian of Gort

The Exhibition Opening


I want to say how much I enjoyed the opening of the Celtic Year Exhibition on Sunday, loved it.

It had been great to meet Liz and Lindsey earlier in the week when they came down from Derbyshire to catch some of the Coleford Festival of Words, and we had such a fun day on the Thursday actually hanging the exhibition.

And on the opening day itself it was lovely to meet Marie in person and see Tony - though I missed having a chat with Tony, so am taking the opportunity now to say that I love the shape and feel of your lamp, and beautiful imagery when lit! I hear too that you quite like the book accompanying it.

The book I'm referring to, for those who haven't seen it, is a handmade book that I bought in Cornwall years ago and which has been waiting for a special use ... and now has in it some of my work on this blog - Yezriel, Gedesa, The Six Sisters of Stour - and which has blank pages waiting for further tales and poems of the Celtic Year ... and which I started to write on the day of the launch, more of this to come ...

Oh, and to walk through Bridget's path, created by Liz and Lindsey in the willow archway, on towards a gorgeous and ancient (got to be ancient, it's huge) Acer where Pete's Ogham installation is hung ... not to mention Pete's Ivy Throne at the edge of the large grassy area ...

I also really enjoyed doing readings of our work, with Liz and Lindsey, reading from the ruins of a stone balustrade that just begs for performance

Intermittent heavy showers didn't spoil the pleasure of the afternoon ... but maybe whetted (no pun intended) the appetite for Paul's goat curry, delicious!

I personally gained loads from being involved with this exhibition and finding ways to present my text in visual and sculptural ways has opened out whole new avenues of inspiration.

Thank you Sally for being the catalyst and continuing motivator for this project!

And looking forward to meeting up with Celtic Year folk later in the year.


Ogham ... a perspective


To accompany the Ogham character flags that make up such a beautiful display through and under the trees at the Garden Cafe & Gallery in Lydbrook, where the Celtic Year Exhibition is running from 3rd July to 2nd August, Sally was desirous of an explanatory piece of writing to position nearby, so that visitors could clue in to what the flags portrayed.

After a couple of much shorter drafts that were originally intended to be written on fabric (ran out of time to play with this, so that's something for the future) I wrote the following ...



Ogham is an ancient alphabet of runic origin.

It is said that early oghamists were most likely the druids, but the precise origin and history of Ogham is shrouded in mystery. Ogham is a secretive, encoded language that evades an easy understanding. The nature of its users, from ancient times to the modern, is mostly the basis of speculation.

It goes by many names.

As Finger Ogham, it is a secret system of hand signals. Certain fingers relate to specific letters or combinations. One can pass secret messages by touching another's hand in a certain way.

As Stave Ogham, it has the characters constructed by cutting a series of straight lines across a single stave or stemline – as in this manuscript below.

{Except this image hasn't come out, I'll play about and see if I can post it separately}

Inscriptions are to be found on standing stones where the sharp edge of the stone acts as the stemline (or druim) against which the letters can be cut.

As the Beith-Luis-Nin, the Virgular, the Celtic Tree alphabet, or Branch Ogham, it is a script created in a similar way to stave Ogham but is more usually carved on a branch of the specific tree that it is related to.

Because writing surfaces are regularly rocks and trees, this makes Ogham all the more difficult to translate.

It is known that Elgar used Ogham to communicate with a lady-friend to discuss his Enigma Variations, a collection of musical compositions wherein each composition was meant to symbolise one of Elgar's friends or family members.

One wonders who might be using it now …