‘The Taliesin Soliloquies’ is a sequence of poems based upon the Welsh legend of Taliesin. It was first published in The Way of Awen: journey of a bard (O Books, 2010), with a detailed commentary of each stage. Recently I have recorded it, restoring it to the living breath. The link is shared below, and I will post each poem over the coming month. There are 22 poems in total.
Stoney Littleton neolithic long barrow, aligned with the midwinter sunrise.
Inspired by Stoney Littleton long barrow, near my former home of Bath, where I walked one winter solstice in the snow.
Featured in my collection, Silver Branch:
Follow the Sun Road Home
Waking to a dreaming world,
the road winding,
ancient shadows in the land
the mist rising…
The brook running deep and clear
to the slumbering barrow on the hill –
crossing the faerie bridge with a kiss,
the door to the Otherworld is there still.
Follow the sun road home
called by the song of the Sidhe
Follow the sun road home
over the Westering Sea
beyond this world of bones
to the place where the spirit is free.
Within the chambered tomb
we wait for the crack of dawn,
within the dripping darkness
we wait to be reborn.
In the stillnes and the silence
we listen to our forefathers,
before the horn of solstice blows
heed the heartbeat of the Mother.
The gathered hold their breath,
feel the thrill of Earth’s quickening –
gaze thru the grey and pray,
a Grail for the sickening.
A swift kestrel takes wing,
the sun has risen, has risen –
friends depart, and wheels turn
may we meet over the horizon.
Down hollow lanes, and shining leys
Follow the sun road home.
Down hollow lanes, and shining leys
Follow the sun road home…
Copyright (c) Kevan Manwaring, 2022
A poem about the inbreath of midwinter, the embers of the year, and tending the hearth.
Smooring the Hearth
The clock ticks towards
the midnight chimes.
The sands of the year drain away.
Sip your anaesthetic,
reflect upon all that has gone,
the deeds un/done, the words un/said.
Bank the fire down, my friend,
before going to bed.
The memories glow and fade
like the coal, slow time
locked in its fossil heart.
Each a dream, once cherished,
come morn, a pail of dust
to be scattered on the dormant earth.
The day a squall of rain,
the nights come as fast.
The solsticed sun instructs us
to hiatus, to put down our tools.
Endless struggle, surrender arms,
as the Christmas ceasefire commences.
For a while we no longer
have to be anything.
Merely drop down into our being.
It is okay, friend, we can stop buying.
We can stop pretending to be nice,
so desperate to be loved back,
to be popular. For surely,
this is the measure of success.
That, and how much you own.
What you can show off to visitors,
the guests guessing your soul
from what’s on your shelves.
Shallow the depths of society’s
criteria. As though our lives
are no more than a lifestyle magazine,
a trending meme.
The fire dies down,
and what is discarded
slips through the bars of the grate.
Leaving the sine qua non of embers –
the truth only found
at the eleventh hour,
say, on the eve of execution,
when we face the cold, naked fact
of our mortality, our swift sparrow-flight
the length of a mead-hall.
Yet still, we bank the fire down –
thanking the warmth and light it has
bestowed, its borrowed grace –
in the hope that come dawn,
the last star can rekindle
our wintering king,
before it winks out.
Copyright (c) Kevan Manwaring, 2014
friends to the rooks
redstarts and hawk-moth
friends to the phantoms
caught between stations
‘Ash’, extract from Orlam by PJ Harvey
This is the 2nd collection by twice-Mercury Prize winner musician PJ Harvey, and it astonishes, disturbs, provokes, and exhilarates as much as her impressive back-catalogue. Drawing upon her own Dorset childhood, ‘especially its landscape and folklore’, this verse-novel set over a year tells the story of the 9-year old Ira-Abel Rawles and her dark miseducation amid a cast of sinister and comical grotesques, not least her own family and her monstrous father. Seeking solace in the local Gore Woods, she develops a strange relationship with a Christ-like ghost soldier called Twyman-Elvis. The work is steeped in local folklore and is written in the Dorset dialect, which offers a pungent word-hoard, e.g. ‘button-crawler’ (wood-louse); ‘chattermag’ (magpie); ‘chawly-whist’ (ashamed); ‘dungy’ (downcast, dull); ‘farterous’ (father-like); and ‘red bread’ (vagina) to give but a few examples. By adopting this approach Harvey picks up the baton left by Dorset’s unofficial laureate, the 19th Century polymath Willam Barnes, and carries it into the modern era. The ecolect is enervated by its juxtaposition to the grubby remnants of contemporaneity: abandoned cars, condoms, ‘a car battery/ a jerry-can/the electric fence’. This is poetry of the Anthropocene by way of Radiohead’s ‘green plastic watering can.’
Yet here the fossil record is the protagonist’s own embodied memory box, unearthed and picked through. It is as though Harvey herself is showing us the mulch of her imaginarium. Although she emphasises this is a ’work of the imagination’ it is hard not to see the development of her darkly distinctive style as a songwriter, singer and musician in these (possibly) analogous experiences. How much autoethnographical material the poet draws upon, only she and her closest friends and family could say – but there is a sense of a coded confessional here.
Yet such a reading risks intentional fallacy; and the calendrical sequence can be savoured for its own literary merits. It is a heady, often disturbing brew – a deep dive into the psychogeography of Dorset, which shows how the hills and dells shaped the lives of those who live among them. Avoiding nostalgia and the pastoral, Harvey seems at pains to deconstruct any hoary notion of a rural idyll: there is abuse, bestiality, violence, madness, sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll – Harvey’s own musical chops now doubt informing the latter. Pop culture references intermingle with the folkloric, the Biblical, and the literary. Everything is entangled, as though one has come a-cropper down a Dorset Holloway.
And yet the poems themselves are disciplined, without an ounce of fat upon them. Pared back, at times brutally so, the reader is left to interpret the negative space of what isn’t said. Harvey obfuscates and occludes, but this makes their magic more potent: many have the lexical energy of spells and charms (as do some of her songs), and at times they are reminiscent of the loricas and incantations of Alexander Carmichael’s Carmina Gaedelica.
Yet here in the West Country is something as numinous and destabilising of consensus reality as anything from the rarefied fastness of the Highlands: a secret commonwealth of sooneres (ghosts), bedraggled angels (wet sheep) and veäries (fairies). The supernatural element is pervasive. All is watched over the titular ‘Orlam’ – the all-seeing eye of a dead lamb, Mallory-Sonny. Miscarriages, premature births, afterbirths, the still-born, and ‘ash-wraiths’ of lost children haunt the woods of Ira-Abel’s world. Along with the more-than-human, this crowded ecology evokes an animistic paradigm informed by an indigeneity perhaps stretching back, like Laurie Lee’s Slad, to the end of the Ice Age.
Certain there is a strong sense of vertiginous deep place; and yet also something atemporal and beyond the material, as in Dylan Thomas’ dream-town of Llareggub. And the way Harvey ranges between lives and voices evokes Under Milk Wood. At times Orlam‘s heteroglossia feels like a spirit-radio. Out of the crackle and hiss of white noise, the ‘noiseless noise’, emerge the lost voices of the marginalized. And this echoes the liminal status of its viewpoint character who straddles the perilous terrain between girlhood and womanhood – and at its heart Orlam is a bildungsroman about her coming-of-age. Which codes and signals should she heed, and which should she ignore? The whispers in the static – the voices of the dead, the earth – often come through the loudest; whileas the living cast become shadowy presences whose baleful influences, like a Hardyesque heroine, she struggles to escape.
The uncompromising use of dialect (counter-balanced by the translations by Don Paterson, Harvey’s poetry mentor) creates a similar effect to Russel Hoban’s Riddley Walker; or the dark speech of Paul Kingsnorth’s The Wake. And yet this remarkable tour-de-force is 100% PJ Harvey – it shows the sui generis workings of an arrestingly original voice. It is a sequence worth delving back into again and again to find riches – echoing the biodiversity one can find in a quiet Dorset backlane where beauty and ugliness, death and the maiden, and the sacred and profane can rub shoulders on any day of the year.
Kevan Manwaring, 13 May 2022
Orlam is published by Picador
Know you every tree-tear
in these woods, every place
of good and not-good,
‘tween sleep and wake
and bellyache, each path
unhealed and stumpied.
‘A Noiseless Noise’, extract from Orlam by PJ Harvey
Saturday, 22nd August, 2020, from noon til late
A day of vibrant voices celebrating the living Bardic Tradition in the British Isles and beyond. Join us to be entertained and stimulated by our inspiring line-up of poets, storytellers, musicians, and speakers. After each slot there will be a chance to discuss, make comments, and ask questions.
Nicola Chester – Berkshire-based nature-writer, Guardian Columnist, Author, Wild Writing Workshops.Blog: https://nicolachester.wordpress.com/ Twitter @nicolawriting @JogLibrary
Kirsty Hartsiotis – storyteller and art-historian.https://www.kirstyhartsiotis.co.uk/
Daru McAleece – druid, bard Website – https://tracscotland.org/storytellers/daru-mcaleece/ Website for anthology – https://www.hauntpublishing.com/books/haunted-voices
Paul Flinn – runner, poet
Rob Farmer – singer-songwriter https://robertfarmer.bandcamp.com/
Charlotte Hussey – Canadian poet (Glossing the Spoils; Soul of the Earth from Awen)
Helen Moore – ecopoet, writer, socially engaged artist & outdoor educator https://www.helenmoorepoet.com/
Peter Alfred Please – storyteller and writer http://www.peteralfredplease.co.uk/
Kirsten Bolwig – writer & storyteller Linked In profile
Brendan Georgeson – pop poet
Richard & Misha Carder – Gorsedd of Caer Badon (Bath), co-ordinators of the long-running ‘Poetry and a Pint’ night in Bath.
Henk Vis – druid, Avebury gorsedd
Gordon Rimes – musical bard of Avebury gorsedd
Scott Freer – banjo-maestro
Simon Andrews – singer-songwriter
Svanur Gisli Thorkelsson – Icelandic writer and tour-guide
Marko Gallaidhe – Irish musician and writer
Kevan Manwaring – author, lecturer, and storyteller
Online via Zoom (100 maximum – booked early to guarantee a space).
Donations invited to the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust and the Trussell Trust.
Please make a donation, then contact Kevan for Zoom details.
Contact Kevan: firstname.lastname@example.org
A Tintagel Conception
awaiting to be reborn
here on this rough island.
Storm forged, sea girdled,
palace of choughs and seals,
this, the cracked cauldron of your making,
where you were conceived,
— so the poets sing —
a gleam in the eye of Uther,
using Merlin’s magic to
inveigle his way into Igraine’s
bower, guised as Gorlois.
Good enough for the guards.
But a wife knows.
Did she keep mum,
as her belly bloomed
with another’s child —
a Pendragon pregnancy?
Where you first saw the light
Of day, who can say?
Did Merlin spirit you away,
swaddled in spells,
to raise you a king
in some gramarye-tangled grove?
who raided Annwn,
who pulled the sword
from the rock;
Arthur of the Celts,
who gathered men
to him, a wolf-pack —
no shiny knights of courtly romance
these, but mud-cloaked
dwellers of the wild wood,
moving swift, striking deep,
inspiring love and loyalty
by deed and word – not
by wealth or birthright.
How we need you now –
to put steel to justice,
an edge to truth,
a backbone to the beleaguered.
Hope to the underdog,
healer of a broken kingdom.
Recarve the table round
so all may sit as equals,
so all may partake of the feast,
so all may be heard and seen,
so all may taste of the Grail.
Copyright (c) Kevan Manwaring 2020
‘The Passionate Man’s Pilgrimage,’ Sir Walter Raleigh
I have just returned from a week-long pilgrimage to Glastonbury for the summer solstice – wild-camping along the way and staying with friends. Walking in glorious sunlight (at least for the first couple of days) and holding vigil for the sunrise on the Tor I had plenty of time to think about why I was undertaking such a walk and why the solstice means so much to so many (over 3 million watched the summer solstice sunset and sunrise from Stonehenge online). We live in dark times, and having spent 3 months in lockdown I was desperately in need of a change of scene, and to feel like it was actually summer. I had also finished my teaching for the (very intensive) academic year, and needed a break to mark its end — a hiatus to avoid the relentless monotony that recent weeks have become. However peaceful and pleasant (and productive) the enforced home-stay has been in many ways (especially where I am fortunate to live) the lack of variation in rhythm, in texture, was beginning to feel stultifying. To celebrate the longest day of the year, the joy that summer (usually) brings, and the minor miracle of being (and staying) alive seems like all good reasons to make the effort to witness what of course happens every single day. I have been waking up at dawn lately, and every single time I do and get to eavesdrop upon the dawn chorus and witness the rising of the sun I feel blessed.
Pilgrimage is an act of intentionality, and stopping in a porch in Oakhill to shelter from the heavy rain I was asked by the vicar there, Rev. Richard Priestley, who was just locking up, what I was undertaking mine for. I found it hard to articulate at the time, being soaked and exhausted, but it was, I realised, a journey to the light — a physical prayer to help bring ‘light’ (goodness, peace, kindness, truth) back into the endarkened world. This is not to deny the shadow — we’ve had plenty of opportunity to consider that lately — but to kindle the light that seems so fragile at the moment. On all sides we see how hard-won liberties, and humane values are being torn away or challenged by a disturbing neo-fascist discourse. Those craving power are determined to demonise the marginalised and drive a wedge between communities. It feels like the 1930s all over again. I must admit to being sick to death of social media and the news – I needed a break from it.
Every year around this time I go for a long walk and have a ‘digital detox’. I have walked many of the long-distance national trails in Britain. Last year I walked the 192 mile Coast-to-Coast (or ‘Wainwright Way’) in the north of England, and ended up on an accidental pilgrimage.* That experience made me realise I no longer wanted to do just secular geographical walks — however satisfying they can be — but to have a spiritualised experience. Having a focus, like St Bee’s on the Cumbrian coast (the monastery there celebrates its 900th anniversary this year), with its Midsummer associations (the 9th Century Irish St Bega landed there on Midsummer Eve) transformed my walk into something meaningful. And it was there I decided that this year I wanted to walk a route I had devised in 2017 connecting Tintagel to Glastonbury, a legendary trail in the ‘footsteps’ of King Arthur from the place of his conception to his grave. It felt more powerful to do synchronise this with the summer solstice – as I found that build-up of energy over two weeks really powerful and motivational. It gave one a tangible ‘deadline’ — as though one was racing the sun. Over the winter I planned the route and prepared my pack meticulously. Of course, life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans, as John Lennon wisely sang. Lockdown happened, and even with some easing, all the campsites and pubs remain closed. I was prepared to wild-camp but having nowhere to get a hot shower, charge a phone, or fill up my water bottle (or treat myself to a hot meal and a pint now and then) would make the whole thing more like a SAS training challenge — far too hard-core. It was meant to be my holiday as well, and it is hard to feel very spiritual when you are soaked, chilled, hungry, and exhausted: all you can think about is getting dry, warm, fed, and rested. Also, I didn’t want to risk a 4-5 hour train journey at present. And so I decided to postpone that until it was more viable, and opt for a compromise – a ‘shorter’ walk (1 week, rather than 2) from my doorstep near Marlborough to Glastonbury. It felt like a practical solution that also allowed me to honour the solstice, and scratch my pilgrimage itch.
I have put together this podcast to capture the spirit of my pilgrimage, and to evoke this beautiful time of year. I hope you enjoy it.
The Golden Room episode 12 track-listing
- Sunrise Praise – Kevan Manwaring
- Reverie pt1 – Rosemary Duxbury (from Thread of Gold)
- The Passionate Man’s Pilgrimage – Sir Walter Raleigh
- Reverie pt2 – Rosemary Duxbury (from Thread of Gold)
- In the Name of the Sun – Kevan Manwaring
- Reverie pt3 – Rosemary Duxbury (from Thread of Gold)
- Ascension Day – Henry Vaughan
- Reverie pt4 – Rosemary Duxbury (from Thread of Gold)
- Adlestrop – Edward Thomas
- Drifting By – Fly Yeti Fly (from ‘Shine a Light in the Dark’)
- The Green Rooad – Edward Thomas
- Serendipity – Simon Andrews
- A Midsummer Summoning – Kevan Manwaring
- King of the Fairies (trad.) – Shenanigans
- The Haymaker’s Song – anon.
- The Corn King – Jehanne Mehta
- In Love, at Stonehenge – Coventry Patmore
- Summertime – Simon Andrews
- Praise Song for St Bega – Kevan Manwaring
- The Rollright Stones – Jehanne Mehta
- Praise Song for a Lost Festival – Kevan Manwaring
- Stonehenge – Shenanigans
- Pilgrim’s Way – Kevan Manwaring
- The Sun – Jay Ramsay & Rosemary Duxbury, from ‘Thread of Light’
- A Pilgrim’s Joy – Kevan Manwaring
- The Faery Beam Upon You – Ben Johnson
Compiled by Kevan Manwaring, 21 June 2020
*My full account of walking the Coast-to-Coast to St Bee’s,’The Accidental Pilgrim’, features in issue 3 of The Pilgrim, available here: https://www.thepilgrim.org.uk/shop
The skills and wisdom of the Bard are as relevant today as they have ever been, in fact, in a world of communication breakdown and collective amnesia – where we fail to honour our geo-cultural heritage, and forget again and again the lessons of the past – possibly more so. The Bard was far more than ‘just’ a teller of tales or singer of songs: he or she was the remembrancer and chronicler for the tribe – of ancient lore, bloodlines, land rites, battles, geasa, great events, important details… In short, their living memory. And furthermore, a celebrant, in an official or unofficial capacity – whose tales and tunes would mark the cycles of life within the circle of the community: the wooings, the weddings, the nativities, comings-of-age, and other thresholds of change. With their words they could bless or blight. Warriors would vie for the honour of being immortalised through their elegies, kings and chiefs would take care to avoid their satire, lords and enemies feared their curses. The system of patronage may no longer be viable, but that also means the Bard is no longer at the behest of a liege. In a world where most forms of communication are monitored, perhaps only the Bard is truly free to speak his or her mind without having to kowtow to so-called ‘political correctness’, corporate values or media fads. In the age of spin, we need more than ever a re-enchantment of language, where people actually mean what they say, free of Post-Modern irony, and a man is as good as his word. It is not a return to spurious ‘old values’ but a re-imagining and renewing of what those values are, by learning from the lessons of the past and acknowledging the perspective which history affords. The wisdom of the past is ever-present, if we but listen. It is an insult to our collective ancestors to do otherwise, for it is their countless sacrifices which have enabled us to have come thus far: to be in this relatively privileged, but precarious, position on the cusp of a new millennia.
In an age of Climate Change and global turmoil, the importance of community, of common people helping one another, having a voice, being heard, validating personal ‘narratives’ outside the hegemony of a grander one, drawing upon their own resources and talents, wealth of experience and motherwit, could never be more imperative. The Bard’s ability to express the inexpressible, to celebrate the lives of all that live and have lived, and preserve for posterity the little epiphanies, personal triumphs and tragedies, heroics and hard-won wisdom from extinction, or from being drowned out in the white noise of endless trivia, enables excellence of expression and freedom of information at a grassroots level beyond webs and nets, dishes and boxes. It offers a folk democracy of the tongue and the limitless possibilities of the imagination.The Bard helps us to celebrate being human and enables us to appreciate other cultures, other perspectives, at the same time as being more fully in our own. It praises the universal through the particular: the local and microcosmic, the parts that make up the whole, which make something bigger than their sum – the biodiversity of humanity.
So, I have devised a 3 year training programme in the belief that everyone can benefit from Bardic skills: either as a listener or performer, whether you only wish to improve your public speaking, entertain your family and friends, or aspire to be a fully-fledged professional Bard, with ‘harp on back’, fire in the head and hundreds of stories at your fingertips. I can claim with complete conviction that you will benefit, however far down the path of the Bard you wish to go, because I certainly have. It has transformed my life: improving not just my communication skills (I never had the ‘gift of the gab’, although I always had a good imagination), but social ones as well (at school I was the introvert wallflower and now, it seems, I can keep most audiences entertained, although everyone has bad days). Becoming a Bard has given me, and is still giving me, so much: it has given me a community and a role to play in it and, perhaps most importantly of all, it has given me a way to live – a true and reliable guide for life.
To summarise: the overall aim of the Silver Branch Bardic Training programme is to empower people to find and use their true voice for the good of all. Its objectives are to:
- offer initiation for the budding Bard
- provide a practical 36 month training programme
- teach the art of storytelling
- teach techniques of poetic inspiration, composition and performance
- develop the power of the memory
- widen understanding of Awen
- develop awareness of the Bardic Tradition
- explore what it means to be a Bard in the 21st Century
- provide resources, such as a reading list, contacts, etc.
- connect with the wider community
- encourage respect for diverse global traditions and cultures
- foster ‘mythic literacy’ and an understanding of mythic levels in modern life
- act as a catalyst for new Bardic circles and the re-establishing of Bardic Chairs
- facilitate deep study on a myth, legend, fairy tale, or song cycle of one’s choice with critical support & appraisal.
- provide critical and creative support for a final project – performance, publication, public event.
An edited extract of the introduction to The Bardic Handbook: the complete manual for the 21st Century bard (Gothic Image, 2006).
Silver Branch Bardic Training
A 3 Year Bardic Development Programme
with Dr Kevan Manwaring, (aka the ‘Bardic Academic’), lecturer, author of The Bardic Handbook, and founder of the Silver Branch Bardic Network.
Awaken the Bard within on this intensive 3 year training programme. Each module can be taken individually, at one’s own speed, and is customised to your unique Bardic path. Silver Branch Bardic Training is not a one-size-fits-all course that is set in stone, but is ‘bespoke’: tailor-made to your individual needs and interests. It is delivered by one-to-one mentoring with an experienced, published Bard.
Learn directly from an acknowledged expert in the field: ‘Kevan is a senior Bard in the UK and world landscape and author of the famous Bardic Handbook.‘ (Dr Thomas Daffern)
Programme of Study
Year 1 – Anruth to Bard (for beginners – no experience necessary)
During this year you shall work through the Bardic Handbook, which sets out a 12 month study programme that will take you from Anruth (apprentice stage) to declaring yourself as a Bard in a dedication and naming ceremony – with direct mentoring from the author himself. Your growing bardic skills will be honed through private study and participation in an online bardic circle.
Year 2 – Bardic Deep Study (Intermediate – for students who have completed Year 1)
With a theoretical focus, this year you will use The Way of Awen: journey of a bard as a guide – which explores the Welsh legend of Taliesin in great detail – but you will be asked to self-select a myth, legend, or song-circle to work on intensively. The fruits of this deep study will be manifold, but will include an extended non-fiction essay reflecting upon the themes of the selected tale/s in a critical way.
Year 3 – Bardic Practical Project (Advanced – for students who have completed Years 1 and 2)
With a practical focus, this final year the Silver Branch: bardic poems will be used as a guide as an example of an approach to an original creative project with a community/ecological aspect. You will conceive and complete a Bardic project of your choice: a spoken word performance, a collection of poems or short stories, an audio recording, a film, a stage play, etc. This final project will be the culmination of your study, which will be launched during an end-of-study celebration, which you will design and organise. This is when you fully step into your role as public Bard, serving your community. Your project will be assessed on not only its originality, skill, and vision, but also how it responds to the challenges of modern life, engages with multimodality or emergent technology, and serves and celebrates community and biodiversity.
- Weekly online bardic circle: a chance to raise the awen, connect with fellow bards, and share one’s latest poem, song, or story.
- Fortnightly lecture: a talk and connected activity designed to get the awen flowing.
- Monthly mentoring session: a chance to ask questions, receive feedback and advice, set one’s goals, reflect upon the previous month, and plan future activities.
- Quarterly review: an indepth review to assess progress and plan the next phase of study.
- Bardic declaration ceremony: when you received your bardic name and dedicate yourself to the path of the Bard.
- Critiques: of your creative and critical projects.
- Celebration: for the launch of your graduation project.
Year 2: Intensive support and feedback on one’s special study project. Critical appraisal on completion.
Year 3: Editorial support and feedback on one’s special bardic project. Launch celebration.
Monthly instalments of £250, or quarterly of £750 by standing order, BACS, or paypal. A discount for full-time students, Senior Citizens, or those in receipt of other benefits is available on application.
Applications open. New term starts in September.
For enquiries: contact Kevan – email@example.com
21 June 2020
Fill your house with plastic,
and the oceans too.
Fly at least one long haul flight
every year, just for fun.
Drive a dirty diesel, or a 4WD,
even though you don’t live off-road.
Eat meat every day and
insist on out of season produce —
the more food miles, the better.
Have loads of kids, and
encourage them to do their bit for Malthus.
Vote for Climate Change denying,
oil-lobby funded politicians.
Sit in a traffic jam twice a day
alone in your big shiny box.
Only buy junk you know you’ll need
to throw away, or fill your garage with.
Learn the art of head-sand-sticking:
every night have one more drink,
and watch one more episode
until you pass out.
Pretend nothing is wrong,
and whatever you do,
don’t plant any trees!
Or, choose to act
to save the Earth
before it is too
The Golden Room podcast #02
An Ecobardic Showcase (part 2)
Welcome to The Golden Room podcast – a celebration of poetry, storytelling, music, song, conversation, and creative fellowship.
Created and hosted by writer, poet, and storyteller Kevan Manwaring, the plan is to release a new episode on the 3rd Sunday of the month – with this double launch on the Autumn Equinox being the exception! Roughly an hour long, each episode offers an immersive and relaxing medley of contributions – ideal to commute to, cook to, or sit back and unwind to: however you listen you are most welcome into The Golden Room.
The first two episodes offer a chance to eavesdrop upon An Ecobardic Showcase, a special evening which took place in Stroud, Gloucestershire, on 17th August, 2019. It was a double-celebration of Kevan Manwaring’s 50th and his doctorate. Proceeds went to Tree Aid – a worthy cause which you can still donate too (see below).
The evening was excellently MCed by the inimitable Anthony Nanson. His links and much of the convivial atmosphere is edited out, to tidy up the raw recording (expertly done by Chantelle Smith; with help from Brendan Georgeson on PA, and thanks to Simon Fairbourn for loan of the recording device) , but we hope you still get some sense of the atmosphere.
LISTEN TO THE GOLDEN ROOM PODCAST #02 HERE
- [00:00] Intro by Kevan Manwaring/Reverie by Rosemary Duxbury
(Catherine Musker, viola and Patricia Siffert, piano)
- [02:14] Welcome – a song by Chantelle Smith
- [02:38] The Harvest of Friendship – a poem by Kevan Manwaring
- [04:28] Skaldic Birthday Tribute – a poem by Svanur Gisli Thorkelsson
- [07: 03] Both Sides o’ Tweed – song by Dick Gaughan/performed by Marko Gallaidhe
- [09:45] The Tories are Going to Eat Us – a poem by Robin Treefellow
- [12:13] Un garçon pas comme les autres – a song performed by Violette Aubry
- [15:00] Lob – poem by Edward Thomas; with additional text from William Anderson; adapted and performed by Paul Flinn
- [18:10] The Corn King – a song by Earthwards (Jehanne & Rob Mehta; Will Mercer)
- [22:03] Extinction Rebellion/No, I Don’t Want to be Arrested, Helen – poems by Steve Micalef
- [22:57] Stoats and Rabbits – a tale by Peter Please
- [32:07] The Field of Runnymede – a song by Earthwards
- [36:03] The Axe: the call of the Earth – a story by Kirsten Bolwig
- [43:26] The Magic Arrows – a story by Anthony Nanson
- [51:19] May Queen – a song by Simon Andrews
- [54:49] Once Upon a Pimplov – monologue by Jim Tom … Say?
- [59:13] Jack in the Green – a song by Simon Andrews
- [00:00] Intro by Kevan Manwaring/Reverie by Rosemary Duxbury
If you have enjoyed listening to An Ecobardic Showcase please donate to Tree Aid and help fight poverty & protect the environment…
NEXT UP – THE GOLDEN ROOM EPISODE #3: An Extinction Cabaret special!