Kestrel's Nest

The Second Year - Summer
Beltane - Lammas 2004

Life continues to change. The old house is finally sold. I cut my last ties with psychotherapy. The roots and branches of my new life continue to grow and flourish...

The Raven
Aphrodite Defends Her Magic
Sea of Tears


The Raven

I read Tarot for friends. It can be frustrating sometimes when a friend comes several times and gets virtually the same reading each time and yet she still does nothing about it. Recently I bought The Druid Animal Oracle by Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm and I draw a card each day to give me a theme for the day. The Raven, Bran, offers initiation, protection and the gift of prophecy...

I drew the Raven this morning.

What would you have me do?
Would you have me predict
    the second fall of Troy
    upon the turning of a card?
Would you have me say that Rome will rise again
    and fall once more;
    the stars will fall,
    the moon dissolve away?
This I cannot do.

I drew the Raven this morning.

I can tell you from the depths of your soul
    the possibilities that lie within you,
    nothing more – for in the end
    the choice is yours.
You can choose to take a chance
    and follow the winding road
    that leads to the soul’s gain
    or dwell forever in the sloughs
    that now beset you;
    the choice is yours
    to be reborn or stay just as you are
    lost in life’s forgotten corner.

I drew the Raven this morning.

© Angela Grant (Kestrel) 16/5/2004

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Aphrodite Defends Her Magic

A reply to a friend's poem that can stand on its own two feet, or is it eight?

How would you have me change my spell?
Endless joy would be a curse
   and loss of love would grant a joyless life;
   you'd turn from me and look for other gods.
There has to be a longing in the soul
   to keep you deep enthralled until the pleasure comes
   to give the joy a piquancy it could not have
   if it could come at will.
For every gain there has to be a loss;
   for every joy-filled night
   there may be full score full of emptiness.
And is it so ill to die of love?
To hold the wave too long and drown
   in ecstasy?
There are worse means to part this fleshly trap
   that I have set for you.
And as the spider turns its prey
   and binds it ever tighter
   so will I you.
'Til I can suck the heart's red milk
   and send you on your way
   to yet another life, with other loves,
   more soundless siren calls,
   more weak beaten sybaritic longing
   that you will choiceless choose
   and forever will to be...

© Angela Grant (Kestrel) 19/5/2004

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Sea of Tears

In the Living Druidry course I am in Water - oh, how much in Water...

If I bring death, life I shall not restore;
    if I give pain, I cannot bring relief.
Is there no way I can amend;
    bring back the balance of the web
    or is that balance given by the act;
    is my pain in giving pain the steadying of the wheel?
Uncertainty is all I have, I cannot know;
    and is the pain I give, all unintending,
    the fate that I must bear;
    the blood sacrifice
    without spilling the vintage of my heart?
I have no way of knowing, I can only hope,
    for hope is the sole compass that I have
    to stay me from the despair of Scylla’s whimpering call
    and the pull of Charybdis’ swirling pool;
    the lodestone that leads my ship,
    its tiller in my unsteady hand
    and, as I cross this sea of tears,
    all that sustains me, knowing that some time
    those tears will dry
    and sun no longer harshly burn
    but in comfort warm
    and bring the knowledge
    that cool darkness soon will come,
    more welcoming than the dawn
    the shrouding night foretells…

© Angela Grant (Kestrel) 18/6/2004

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I saw this as a vision one morning as I woke; make of it what you will...

I feel the burning;
in that soft, sweet moment of waking
I feel the burning within me.
I shift and gaze over the valley
from my high perch on the mountain
looking down from the harsh sharpness
of crag and crevice
to the green fertility,
the waves of life
on the valley floor.
I have been here centuries
alone and waiting.
I shift uneasily,
my iron-hard scales
grating on the rock.
What has awoken me?
Why has the sleep of ages been disturbed?
I sniff the air
but only the scent of dew-wet grass
drifts up to me.
I listen and hear the birdsong,
the barking of deer, sheep calling.
What has awoken me?
I stretch, allowing the stiffness of sleep
to pass from me.
I am all attentive now, and hungry,
my yellow eyes, slit-pupilled,
study all that I can see.
There is something;
smoke rises far up the valley;
there is faintly a noise I have not heard before.
I sniff again.
A scent of burning, metallic
drifts up to me.
Why should I be disturbed?
I know that smell, the smell of battle;
blood and death.
Why should that trouble me?
I do not care if men destroy each other;
it saves me the bother.
Yet it persists on my brain.
I rise, yawning, full stretch
and unfurl my wings.
I spring from the edge
and soar across the valley
towards the smoke and noise.
They cannot see me;
they are too busy in the toil of death.
There are thousands, like marcher ants,
destructive in their swarming.
They have burned a forest
and scarred the earth,
creating only desolation;
and more they war,
machines spewing out death
at a distance.
No more the hand to hand;
sword, spear and lance,
where one fought another,
but here they kill by dozens
with bomb and shell,
snuffing out lives
as the harvester
scythes away the corn stems;
but where the farmer leaves
good earth to grow again
they leave only desolation
where nothing grows for generations.
I am angry now and the pangs of hunger
drive me.
In my gaping maw I tear up dozens
of these madmen and
they notice nothing;
destruction is all one to them.
I swoop again and again
until I have ate my fill
and with my searing breath
destroy the rest.
The valley is quiet now
as I soar rising from the heated ground
where nothing stirs.
A few wisps of smoke mark the battle’s course.
A few stragglers run, deserting the scene.
I wonder what tales they will tell;
what myths their children will be fed
about this day?
I soar circling,
watching that all is over,
then return to my place
among the rocks.
I have fed well
and now will sleep
until another day.
I curl my wings,
the colour of rocks.
They will not see me;
I do not exist to them.
Only I know my power.
They are blind;
masters of the earth,
or so they think,
until the dragons rise
once more…

© Angela Grant (Kestrel) 2/7/2004

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I started learning to glide in May. It started back in March when, in the Living Druidry course I was on, I was asked to experience the element of Air. So I thought going up in a Glider would be a great way to do it and, through a friend, arranged a couple of trial flights. They were great and three months temporary club membership came in the cost. So I thought I'd have another go before it ran out and one thing led to another. Anyway, so now I'm a full member of the club and learning, slowly, to be a glider pilot. Two days before this poem was written I had, with the help of my long-suffering instructor, the longest and highest flight I'd experienced, 1 hour 31 mins up to 4,350 feet. What follows is what came out of that flight...

It gets cold up here
right at the top of the climb
just under cloud base
my only companion the buzzard
curious at what is with him
in the sky
after circling for what seems like hours
riding the thermals on the ridge
keeping to the rising air
ever upwards with the birds
the silence is profound
only the whistling of the wind
around the canopy
the ear-popping whoosh
up in this place
where going round in circles
has some purpose
unlike on the ground
oh, the difference!
up here only air supports me
no firm feet planted on the ground
no contact with the earth I come from
with the sure knowledge
that a wrong touch
would send me spinning
downwards to rejoin the Mother
oblivion so easily achieved
but why should I do that
when there is so much up here
to see and feel?
at one with the elements
the air is like water here
the plane a raft
to cycle the emotions
in never-ending spirals
ever upwards
flowing with the stream of life
the sun's fire is stronger here
with much less air to keep me from him
and only the canopy
to block his burning ray
and always the earth below
so solid and familiar
like a map drawn out
with pocket-handkerchief fields
and houses like little boxes
in ant-hill villages
hugging the contours
and vehicles like ants themselves
moving in straight lines
following each other
unlike me, circling the wind
without fences to confine
my soul flying like the birds
but like them
as evening draws
and the rising air dissolves
returning so reluctantly to earth
sinking to more solid cares
the solid world portends
and leaving me only
with fresh hope
that another day
I will soar again...

© Angela Grant (Kestrel) 30/7/2004