Categories
Field Trip Folk-Lore Observation Psychogeography

The wild wood

 

Beyond the Hawthorn

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Beyond the hawthorn, lies the wild wood

“cuckoo, cuckoo”

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over the threshold

forms and colours

of the Otherworld

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… snake-eye stirs

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jaw click, snout

and a slither

of tongues

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threat or supplication?

paw or claw?

who  hears the cry

of the wild wood?

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no-one here

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anyone?

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the oracle

of the wood

whispers:

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… always the leaves

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Invitation to the light

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… always the light

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 ≈≈≈

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Hawthorn bushes and the call of a cuckoo conjure up the tale of Thomas the Rhymer a thirteenth century Scottish mystic, wandering minstrel and poet. Folklore tells of how Rhymer meets the Faery Queen by a hawthorn bush from which a cuckoo is calling. The Queen takes Rhymer on a journey of forty days and forty nights to enter the faery underworld.  Some versions of the tale say Rhymer was in the underworld for a brief sojourn. Others say for seventy years, after becoming the Queen’s consort. Eventually, Rhymer returns to the mortal world where he finds he has been absent for seven years. The theme of travellers being waylaid by faery folk and taken to places where time passes faster or slower are common in Celtic mythology. The hawthorn is one of the most likely trees to be inhabited or protected by the faery folk.

The wild wood can be found amongst the terra incognita of farmland, old paths and hedgerows between the village of Pattiesmuir and Dunfermline, Fife.

Now playing: Bert Jansch – ‘The Tree Song’ from Birthday Blues.