Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Hunted Boar

A poem from the Mabinogion, attributed to Amairgen.
I am wind on sea,
I am Ocean-wave,
I am Roar of Sea,
I am Bull of Seven Fights
I am Vulture on Cliff,
I am Dewdrop,
I am Fairest of Flowers,
I am Boar for Boldness
I am Salmon in Pool
I am Lake on Plain.
Powerful in a way that depends upon its muscular obscurity. But it’s hard to avoid the sense that this is, really, boasting (I am Ocean-wave!/I am Roar of Sea!/I am Bull of Seven Fights...) in a distinctively masculine manner. The mirror verse would retreat into itself, like Tennyson’s tiny seashell on the Brittony shore:
I am the windless air,
I am ebb,
I am the mourning ocean,
I am calf on unsteady legs
I am grassblade bending down,
I am teardrop,
I am fallen redleaf,
I am the hunted Boar
I am the Salmon that pounds the soil with my tail
I am as I am not.

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