As the wild and vivid colours of autumn consume the landscape around me and the nights draw in, illuminated by a full moon, I have been reading 12th century Irish verse…my ancestors had a deep respect for the natural world as displayed in these extracts…
“Little antlered one, little belling one, melodious little bleater, sweet I think the lowing that you make in the glen.
Home-sickness for my little dwelling has come upon my mind, the calves in the plain, the deer on the moor.
Oak, bushy, leafy, you are high above trees; hazel-bush, little branchy one, coffer of hazel-nuts.
Alder, you are not spiteful, lovely is your colour, you are not prickly when you are in the gap.
Blackthorn, little thorny one, black little sloe-bush; water-cress, little green-topped one, on the brink of the blackbird’s well.
Saxifrage of the pathway, you are the sweetest of herbs; cress, very green one; plant where the strawberry grows.
Apple-tree, little apple-tree, violently everyone shakes you; rowan, little berried one, lovely is your bloom.
Bramble, little humped one, you do not grant fair terms; you do not cease tearing me till you are sated with blood.
Yew, little yew, you are conspicuous in graveyards; ivy, little ivy, you are familiar in the dark wood.
Holly, little shelterer, door against the wind; ash-tree, baneful, weapon in the hand of a warrior.
Birch, smooth, blessed, proud, melodious, lovely is each entangled branch at the top of your crest.
Aspen, as it trembles, from time to time I hear its lovely rustling, and think it is the foray…
Taken from: ‘Suibhne the Wild Man in the Forest’
Irish; author unknown; twelfth century