Kestrel's Nest

The First Year - Harvest
Lammas - Samhain 2003

This period was highlighted by a Druid Retreat I went on in early September and by confirming my Bardic vows at the Gorsedd of Caer Abiri at Avebury at the Autumn Equinox. The Retreat was important to me, not only because four poems came directly from it but because it introduced me to the village where I now live and its glorious woods. I took a year off from my psychotherapy course, which gave me a breathing space and made me look closely at my life and make changes that otherwise would have been more difficult.

Moon Drift
Dawn Woodland
Heart of Darkness


Why do I weep?
I who have all that I desire?
Because the world is weak
And willing to follow false gods
Of greed and envy, power and control?
Because the world is sad
Through sickness, war and need?

No, I weep because I am me
And I cannot have all I desire.
I cannot have another soul with me
To fill my heart and my senses
With love and true companionship.
I cannot have the work I love
Because to do it I must sell my soul
To the false gods I abhor.

Then I must find another way,
To follow where the Lady leads,
To seek the path trod by so few
And find myself in quiet and meditation,
To loose the chains that bind me to my past,
To free my heart and mind to older ways
And find the truth that lies in the soul of life,
The quiet spark of Divine strength
That lies in me and everything
And live anew…

© Angela Grant (Kestrel) 17/8/2003

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The first of the four poems written at the Druid Retreat.

Golden is the Ash Tree turning;
Golden seeds, then Golden leaves,
Telling me the year is turning;
Autumn comes and as it comes
It calls to me that with the season
I must also change.

At Golden Lammas-tide I knew the change must come
But safe and slothful ways still hold me back.
Many a tear of pain I yet have shed
And many more to come; but still I stay.

Is there a Golden future set for me?
I know not, but I know that change will come.
As surely as the year must change, then so will I
Or waste the Autumn of my years in idle tasks
And lose what might yet be…

© Angela Grant (Kestrel) 5/9/2003

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There is a place
Where two trees have fallen.
Twin stumps yet both alive with growth,
And from their feet a spring arises
And water trickles down the slope
And all around the music of the wood.

This is a magic place, a sacred spot
Where life’s fluid springs from Mother Earth.
A place of life rooted in death.
A parable for all to understand.
Where Death comes, there will life arise
And new-born run its course.

© Angela Grant (Kestrel) 6/9/2003

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Moon Drift

Pure word music. Published on The Druid Network website.

Mind drifting, Moon drift
Lost on a silver night.
Mist-carried to strange lands
Of silver clouds and frosted light.

Candle lit evening talking
Laughing, crying, sighing, dying.
Like fire embers falling
In soft shadows calling.

Mist-lost in silver night.
Cold frost in ancient light.
Frost drifting, lost drift,
Mind drifting moonlit night.

© Angela Grant (Kestrel) 6/9/2003

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Dawn Woodland

The spirit woods are calling,
Carrying their call on the dark morn light.
I answer: ‘Will you welcome?’ They say: ‘Yea’.
I ask then: ‘Is there danger?’ They say: ‘Nay.’
I must beware of spirits for
They cannot always know what’s true
For their truth is not mine.

But still I enter in the dark
Enchanted ways full of night noise.
Owls call; tardy in dawn’s first grey
Not yet gone to rest.

The pigeons murmur, crows call,
A hundred thousand creatures stir
And drown church bells with their cacophony.
I make my way avoiding briar and nettle,
Mud pits and stream water,
Lost paths with broken branches cross’d
To fool the traveller into uncertain ways.
What is the true path? What is truth itself?
There is no black and white for
In this dawn light all is grey.

I ask a passing tree: ‘Is this the way?’
The spirit answers: ‘It may be’.
I do not know but still I press on
Past fallen tree with hornet hive
Not yet awake save for a solitary guardian
Who checks me and lets me pass.

At last the wood’s edge I reach
And with it see the Sun in glory rise
Heralding a wondrous day and filling
All the wood with golden light.

The grey shadows gone the secrets
Of the wood are now revealed.
Or are they? An inner mystery still remains
And ever will…

© Angela Grant (Kestrel) 7/9/2003

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Heart of Darkness

I wrote this one evening in a sort of half-trance. I just wrote and wrote without knowing what I wrote. I tried to read it then but could make no sense of it. I woke up the next morning with a final line in my head. On inserting that into its proper place I began to understand what I'd written and it sent shivers up and down my spine.

The darkness lengthens,
And with it comes the cold,
Icy darkness that claws my living breath.
The old year is dying
And as it dies
I turn from sun’s warmth
To womb’s warmth.
I call the Heart of Darkness,
The Mother and the Soul of Darkness,
The heart stopping
Breath smothering
Beautiful warm Darkness
That envelopes all.

And in that Darkness
I will dream
The dreams of death
And feel the breath
Of the Nine Maidens
Who warm
The Waters of Life
And be born anew.

From such warm Darkness
Are heroes born
To challenge the Gods themselves.
And from that warmth
I will gain such strength
To bind myself for ever
To the force that turns
The stars in their allotted course;
That feeds the fires of hell
And the wild winds that
Turn the desert sands
Into fierce tornadoes.
The force that sends the seas
Crashing on innumerable shores
And makes a snowdrop show
From out the enfolding snow.
That Divine force
That feeds all things
That ever have been
And ever will be;
That binds me to itself
For ever in a symbiotic ecstasy
That is complete
In its infinity…

© Angela Grant (Kestrel) 8/10/2003

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Inspired by watching a TV play about her.

I gaze across green pastures
In the red glow of a winter sun.
Is this the valley that drew you to your fate?
Are these trees descendants
Of those that saw your end?

I hear the wild cries yet again
Echoing across the centuries
And the tales of how
You avenged your daughters’ rape
With a thousand more.
Of how your own defilement
Brought forth revenge so bitter
That children’s heads rolled in the gutter
Of many a burning town.
Of how you challenged an alien strength
And nigh brought it to its knees.

And finally, your heart bursting in its hate
You flung your armies at a steel wall
That would not be denied your blood.
You perished in a mad frenzy
Piling corpse on corpse in pursuing waves
Against a cliff of impenetrable steel.

And yet your memory still feeds
Those that are oppressed
And lack the strength of your hope
To defeat the tyrant’s hand.

Live on, dread queen!
Let grey officials quake
On thinking you could be reborn…

© Angela Grant (Kestrel) 9/10/2003