Thursday, October 01, 2009

(Y)our shadow knows all ...

I was yesterday under the good leaves, sheltering from the rain under a green cloak of birch leaves, waiting like a young fool for Gwen with Helen's brow; when Standing dismally before me face to face, I saw a figure; at which, though it stood mild and harmless, I shuddered, and against some evil Visitation crossed my body with a holy charm.

"Speak! Break your silence! If you are a man, what are you?"

"I! - I am your shadow, strange. For Mary's sake be silent, and not hinder me from telling you ... kindly, I am come here, and stand naked at your side, showing you by enchantment, your own image.

"Why should you, a sheltered shrinking creature, follow me? Are wages paid you, long-legged scarecrow, by Jealousy, that cold and wailing wolf, for watching me?"

"Dear man, I am no spreading ghost, no hideous chimera ..."

"Then what? A giant's offspring? A bald and monstrous spirit? No more of a doddering old man an apparition of bitter yet not even in your shape a man; with the shanks of a hag limping on black crutches; herdsman of a foul pack of ghosts, bogey in a bald monk's form! Like the heron that plucks at the reeds of the bog, or rises on ghostly shanks over the corn, with the face of a palmer and a blockhead rolled in an old rag, your back smeared dark with mud Where were you rolled then? In the muck of the farmyard?"

"Secretly I follow you for ever among the pleasant woods: weak though I am, remarking your deceits and thousand tricks. Your whole day I could describe to you, and this I know ..."

"Which of my faults should you know, more than the whole world knows? You with your pitcher's neck, the devil's dung to you! I've not disowned my country, nor killed a dog, you slanting shadow! Nor killed hens with a hurling-stone, nor frightened little children, nor have I offended against virtue, in interfering with strange women!"

"But if I told these things I know to some who do not know them, then would their rage quickly be loosed and ... faith! You would be crucified!"

"Then draw a knot tight against publishing these things, and on these faults of mine, sew up your lips against the world."

Dafydd ap Gwilym


  1. Me...and my shadow....good thing shadows can't talk.
    I thoroughly enjoy this man's writings.

  2. Beautiful presentation: text and photo.

  3. Myladies,
    I am thankfully bowing in the name of the bard.