Thursday, 9 August 2012


Well, i'm sure it seems as if i have been talking about it forever, but 'SNOWY TOWER: Parzival and the wet, black branch of language' has zipped across the atlantic to White Cloud Press and will emerge, blinking in spring 2013. The last few weeks saw the poetics of the thing go up a notch - with the ideas in place, i could really get dreamt by the wider mood.

So, here is some of the prose-poem it has, in places, become. Sleep - the first section is from Parzival's time dreaming in the woods. Love - is when he is transfixed by three drops of blood in the snow, and longs for his wife. Battle - is when he faces his Magpie Brother on the field of combat. I like his guts. None of that will make much sense if you don't know the story i realise.

Only a handful of tickets left for next weeks Dark Mountain Festival - i'm talking about 'gambling with the knuckle-bones of wolves' if you can make it.



He is a subterranean diver, splendid in the lions blood of his dreaming.

In dark blue armor, he strides the skull of the whale
as indigo language spurts from its blow hole.

He muscles the seas green teeth, caught in Viking ecstasies,
iron-bright words gurgle the grey shale.

He is sharp-eagled in the twigged nests a-top Yggdrasil.
He befriends the moon; he guzzles its blond honey, hears its furry speech.

Alone in a Northern forest
he suckles the dark teat of a rain-bear

In his dream croft, antlered thoughts
hang like animal hides from smoky rafters

And everywhere the snow falls


The lover surges from the warriors breastplate
The old, bird-dreaming of his youth returns

His blood cooks like red branches under blue skin
His longing is sharp like an Irish knife

for the Bright Daughter
Sea white foam is her arm

Curly heaven between her hips
Deep rooted in the soil of her goodness

She rides the whale-road of his soul
Calls up the dark storm in his heart

Grass does not bend under such a foot


If my life be short may my fame be great!
Let herds of bear surround me

Give my sword the death-screech of the owl
My very fists rain-daggers from the hills of Ceredigion

My mouth tusked and blood-drunk
my skill a leap of smoke, mud and darkness

causing a hard slip to my beautiful enemy

Like Brave Tyr
I place my hand in the wolf’s mouth

I will not count cost
but shake the frame of all that comes for me

loosen my sly magics, my immaculate damage

I am a storm-line


I suck on the pap of life

and will be a good butcher

to those that come to wrench me from it

Copyright Martin Shaw/White Cloud Press 2012

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