All posts by Lisa Goodwin

Twilight of the Gods  

written to contest the Bardic Chair of Glastonbury in the Ynys Witrin Open Gorsedd 2015. With this piece I became the 10th Bard of Glastonbury… (I should add it was written to be performed, and performed in two halves at that, but people have flattered me by asking to see it, so here goes):
Way out to the West, in his jewel-splendoured evening boat, Ra had turned from a falcon to a ram, and become Atum. And the top of his ram horns had just gone below the horizon, as the reddened sun-disc he carried on them began the final part of its nightly descent into the Underworld.
Venus, as she nearly always was, was the first to appear –
at first as a bright spot on the horizon, then nearer,
and brighter, and brighter, and nearer, and brighter,
and nearer, and nearer, until she alighted
on the deck, running, barefoot, her full-muscled legs
going past each other and slowing fast, as if she’d just come off a swing.
She re-ordered the setting of the tables, just slightly.
Laying a glass on its side, or ruffling up a cloth, so it wasn’t right,
but it was beautiful. Then she sat in the arrangement and waited.
It didn’t take long. A few breaths in and out, and then a great
whoosh, and a thump on the deck of the boat: a harpoon
had shot out of the sea and stuck in it. As soon
as it landed, its rope stretched as taut as a bowstring
and Venus looked down at the starboard sea,
and grasping the rope there was Repun Kamui.
A flick of his great Orca tail brought him clear
of the water; then, as he hauled himself nearer,
it flicked into feet he could plant on the strake,
and his feet, rope and hands worked together to take
him up over the gunwale.
He planted his feet on the decking, and beamed,
then bowed to the beauty of Venus, who seemed
not entirely sure who he was. “Hello”, she tried, “um…”
“Repun!” he helped her.
“Ah, thank you. Repun. Have I had the pleasure?”
“Yes… yes… miss Venus” – he tried not to look crestfallen. “Repun Kamui? Sea god of the Ainu people? Indigenous people of North Japan and islands off mainland Russia… Two Summers ago. We did indeed have the pleasure. Well, I know *I* had the pleasure. I thought you had the pleasure too?”
“Mm-hm, yes. I’m sure”, said Venus, not sure at all, but after all she was an exceptionally popular god – “well, it’s lovely to see you again.”
There was an awkward silence for a moment, then:
“Do you know any other gods who are coming?”
“I’m not sure…”
“I think there’s going to be quite a few of us.”
“Right”, said the sea-god.
“There don’t seem to be any nibbles…”
At this, something in Repun started. Food was very important to him.
“A gathering of gods demands,
a feast!” he cried, and clapped his hands,
and into each and every dish
there rained divinely tasty fish.
Venus, rendering herself ever-so-slightly less beautiful for a moment, pulled a
“What’s wrong?” asked the whale-boy, as more splatted down.
“Raw fish!” exclaimed Venus. “They’re slimy. They’re smooshy”.
“Where I’m from”, he countered, “we call raw fish sushi”.
“Well it won’t do at all. I don’t like how it looks”,
said the looker, and went on, “God feasts need god cooks”.
With that their cheeks were warmed by a wall of heat
as if a great oven door had swung open at the stern.
It came with an aroma as welcome and as sweet
As the scent of baking bread. They both turned
to greet them – not one kitchen god but two –
from China, Zao Jun of the stove, and who, else
alongside him, with her golden ladle
but India’s Annapoorna? They made for the tables
and started to fry up the feast.
And as soon as the sizzle began, from the East
drifted laughter and song,
and before very long,
a raft made of barrels was knocking against the ship’s port.
So just in case any amongst you had thought
There was something missing from this party, they’d come!
The gods of beer, and wine, and rum!
Bacchus, Sucellus, Dionysus,
Nin-kasi, and Yi-ti, who made wine from rices.
The Aztec Tezcatzontecatl was there,
and, of course, the Green Man, from whose copious hair
sprang grapevines that climbed up the side of the ship
and the gang of gods climbed them, up over the lip.
One wine-god more arrived then, bearing cheeses
– the god who bled wine. You may know him as Jesus.
Then – since the drink had arrived – god after goddess arrived on the deck.
A panoply of pantheons, set to get wrecked.
But in the hold below there was a pirate gang. And their names were Prometheus, Bochica, En-men-dur-ana, Gwydion, Imhotep, Merlin and Sir Isaac Newton.
And in the hold with them were all the gods’ treasures:
magical marvels beyond any measure.
A cornucopia of cornucopias!
There were bowls that could never be emptied of grain,
There were cups full of wine that could never be drained,
Swords that would always best any fighter,
And best of all, there was… a lighter.
It was a glorious hoard of so much hoarded glory
That, never mind crazy – the gods must be Tory!
Now, with all the sea gods unwitting on the deck above, the gang made a hole in the side of the boat, and brought as much of the treasure and knowledge as they could manage up with them, to the raft made of barrels that the gods of beer and wine had arrived on, and stole away unseen.
And you can probably guess what happened next:
The boat started sinking.
The glasses stopped clinking.
Bacchus stopped drinking.
Athena stopped thinking.
Shiva stopped dancing.
Macuilxochitl stopped chancing.
Mars stopped raging.
Geras stopped aging.
Odin stopped blowing.
The Green Man stopped growing.
Saturn stopped farming.
Aphrodite stopped charming.
Baldr stopped shining.
The Fates stopped twining.
Flora stopped gardening.
Priapus stopped hardening.
Loki stopped flashing.
Thor stopped crashing.
Thoth stopped learning.
Brigid stopped burning.
The Devil stopped lying.
The Angels stopped flying.
Jesus stopped bleeding.
The Muses stopped reading.
In short, and all together, the sea-gods stopped roaring,
The war gods stopped warring,
The gorgons stopped hissing,
And the love gods stopped kissing.
And Prometheus’ pirate gang, on their barrel-raft, brought the treasures and the knowledge of the gods back to the mortal shore. And in the East, a bright disc rose, and it wasn’t Ra, or Helios, or Belinos any more – it was simply the Sun. Our Sun. The Sun in all its radiating, Helium glory. It wasn’t carried on a golden chariot or a bejewelled boat. It didn’t come out of a great charred hole in the ground. It was over a million times larger than the earth, and it was real. And for that, it was even more magnificent. And we still marvelled at it. And marvelled at all the things around us. Because with the gods gone, the time had come for the women and men of the Earth – to write our own stories.

2015 Finals – 10th Bard of Ynys Witrin

A new Bard has been appointed in Glastonbury following the town’s annual contest for the ‘Bardic Chair’ on Tuesday 19th May 2015. Wes White – one of the local Library Assistants – won out after a contest featuring five finalists in total. To win the title, contestants are required to impress a panel of judges with a performance of their own original written work. The theme for the contest is chosen by the outgoing Bard, and this year that was Therèse Liddy, who chose the theme ‘Twilight of the Gods’. She was assisted in hosting the night by Glastonbury’s first Chaired Bard, Tim Hawthorn.

Several other awards are traditionally made by the town’s Bardic College on the same night. The ‘Crown’ is the runners-up award and this year went to Lisa Ceneri. A ‘Fool’s Hat’ is awarded to the most ‘foolish’ performance, foolishness being a much-valued quality amongst the bards. For the fourth year running it went to local artist and poet Richard JG Field for a typically madcap and entertaining act. Who will ever be foolish enough to beat him?

In a double-whammy for the Library, Wes’s fellow Library Assistant, Steve Leighton, was awarded the Tim Sebastian Memorial Trophy on the same night. This trophy is awarded by the judges to a member of the community nominated by audience members for ‘elevation of the word’. Steve is a prize winner in multiple short story competitions and his latest short story collection, ‘The Heart of the Sun’, is available now.

The other finalists who captivated the Assembly Rooms were Annabelle Markwick and Lin Hennessy. The contest was judged by performer and actor Nick White; filmmaker Kevin Redpath; local businessman and Hemp crusader Free Cannabis; and by two former winners of the Chair (known as ‘Elder Bards’), Tony Atkinson and Gerry Barnett.

At the end of the evening, the assembly was joined by a contingent from the Town Hall as Glastonbury’s newly inaugurated Mayor and Deputy Mayor arrived, and an honorary bardship was awarded to the Reverend Sister Diana Greenfield.

Wes’ winning piece can be found on his own blog at His primary duty is to ensure a similar event takes place for his succession next year, and the theme for next year’s contest will be announced in March. For more details of the Bardic College and past events follow @BardOfAvalon on Twitter for ongoing updates.

Hail the Bard!


Pictured left-to-right:<br />
New 'Chaired Bard' of Glastonbury Wes White;<br />
New Deputy Mayor of Glastonbury Jon Cousins;<br />
New Mayor of Glastonbury Denise Michell (also one of the founders of the Bardic College);<br />
Winner of the Tim Sebastian Memorial Trophy, Steve LeightonPictured left-to-right: New ‘Chaired Bard’ of Glastonbury Wes White; New Deputy Mayor of Glastonbury Jon Cousins; New Mayor of Glastonbury Denise Michell (also one of the founders of the Bardic College); Winner of the Tim Sebastian Memorial Trophy, Steve Leighton

Open Gorsedh 2014

2014’s contest for the Bardic Chair of Ynys Witrin on the theme ‘The Waters of Avalon’ was won by Therese Liddy and the Crown was awarded to Stephen Cole, whilst Richard Field won the fool’s prize for the third year running! The Tim Sebastian Memorial Trophy was awarded to Tim Hawthorn.

Thanks to our 2014 judges, Su Real, Paradox, Danu Forest, David Reakes and David Williams who did a fine job of judging the competition and to the wonderful bards, poets and musicians who shared their inspiration with us on the night.

The Gorsedh ceremony on Sunday was a beautiful afternoon with Clare representing ‘The Lady of Avalon’. I (Lisa Goodwin) graduated to Elder Bard and initiated six new Bards. We welcome Stephen Cole, Jack Goodwin, Therese Liddy, David, Jim Killeen and Louise Stewart-Daisy,  as new members of the college.

Gratitude to Tim Hawthorn, Lydia Lyte, Dreow Bennett, Shamus Joy and Denise Michell for holding a wonderful ceremony.


Lisa Goodwin

Taliesin’s Tale

Nature applauds us with cheers of thunder,
And cascades of rain. Every moment under,
Her grasp, so tenacious, she threatens to take me.
To devour and love me, yet forsake me.
Gwion am I who took from her cauldron,
The three blessed drops of pure inspiration.

Oh, she is not happy, she’s making a fuss.
She will tear me apart, I know that I must,
Flee the Enchantress, so crooked, yet fair.
There beats in my chest, the heart of a hare.
I dart over the earth with a bitch on my heel.
The start of a quest to discover what’s real.
And so I embark on my fateful folly;
Seeking to find I am not my body!

Rain claps the river and cold water beckons,
My sense of self just another obsession,
I dive in the water, my heart skips a beat,
As my salmon body leaps into the deep.
Transformed into otter, she threatens to eat me,
Still, I am determined she won’t defeat me,
So I sweep through the rivers and scale the oceans;
Seeking to find I am not my emotions!

Now cold blue lightning lashes the water,
And I know that the otter bitch will not falter.
So fins turn to wings and I take to the air,
Hearing the birds sing of freedom up there,
Her hawk eye is on me. She’s still on my back,
Clipping my feathers and poised to attack!
I look to the wind, ask how I’m defined.
Only seeking to find I am not my mind!

And now as my body descends from the flight,
The clouds reveal a crescendo of light,
And riding it’s rays, I blaze into the corn,
I await the goddess, I will be reborn.
Surrendered, devoured, I am not beaten,
As by the holy Ceridwen I am eaten.
I look to my mother to ask what I got,
Only seeking to find, I am not, I am not, I am not.

I grow in her belly, a year and a day,
I am birthed and re-birthed, and then cast away.
Swaddled in crane skin, thrown in the sea,
There I come to All knowing, or it comes to me.
And there stops my seeking and wishing to be,
For what I am seeking is resting in me.
And as you can tell by the fire in my head,
I am the Bard Taliesin; Thrice blessed.

Lisa Goodwin – Chaired Bard of Ynys Witrin – April 2014

The Legend of Prometheus

prometheus_chainedStanding up in front of you is like walking on fire,
and that’s my passionate muse and my deepest desire.
I teach and share, to break down limitations.
I lay myself bare – In Truth – Inciting transformation.

I keep this sacred flame, that never grows cold,
and I make no claims on this flame I hold.
The light of divine consciousness arising within man,
Burns at White Spring, cavernous, within this sacred land.

And I nurture yet another flame, smouldering ember in my heart.
Breath of muse ignites a blaze, to stand me here playing the bard.
Well it’s the legend of Prometheus, I’ve got to play my part,
and when I check in with the Awen – I find something to impart.

Always reaching for the light, that bold Prometheus,
Refused Titanic fight spared the jail in Tartarus,
He spent night after night, with his brother Epimetheus,
Shaping man after might, in name of his love.

And so by his design, and his love for all humanity
He shaped mankind, then; no mere technicality,
Athena was consigned, to breathe life; mortality.
Human being was defined, but what of personality?

Endurance, strength and nerve, an afterthought to give,
To the creatures of the earth, Epimetheus’s gift,
but it never does occur, to give humankind a lift,
and Prometheus observes this rift.

Epimetheus’s cup had nothing left for man,
The animals all supped from the lion to the lamb,
but we were snubbed in favour of his plan.
So Prometheus stood us up and the resistance began.

He felt his love for humans like fire in his brain.
And under no delusion he nurtured tender flame.
To bring it to his people to rise against their pain.
And a way to keep all of us warm in wind and rain.

Zeus declared that sacrifice must be more robust,
He took the best of the flesh and left the rest for us,
So Prometheus did a trick and the jape was later sussed,
and with only bones to pick, Zeus took fire, left us dust.

Prometheus flew higher than Icarus, and even though it stung,
with treachery vociferous he lit a torch from the sun.
Imagine the aurora! Yes! Zeus was set to stun.
He sent pretty Pandora, deceptive heart and lying tongue.
And a funny looking box that should never be undone
Oh, what a stunning beauty, was sent to live among
Athena, Epimetheus, Prometheus and us.

Pandora’s curiosity, was bound to do us in.
Her apparent generosity was not to be boxed in.
And she unleashed an atrocity of suffering and sin.
and all manner of monstrosity to get under our skin.

Now it is debatable, who left us with false hope
so we could be capable, to cope.
Was it he in chains unbreakable, or that dope,
of a woman unobtainable who revealed the boxes scope.

Yes, he in chains unbreakable. The last part of my tale,
Prometheus unmistakable apparent epic fail,
Made his freedom unsustainable, his passion was curtailed,
He was seized by Gods unshakable, chained on Caucasian Jail.

Day and night tormented by a giant eagle’s need,
Prometheus never repented, Liver heal and liver bleed!
Man, I would go demented while the hungry beast did feed,
Yet Prometheus never lamented, it’s greed.

Then Zeus gave two conditions, his freedom to be met,
If he could proposition and somehow get,
An immortal volunteer to agree to be dead,
And a mortal so sincere to destroy the daily threat.

Then in walked tender Chiron and brave Heracles,
The trickster may find asylum with God’s such as these.
With a sweet surrender and sudden irony,
wounded healer and defender died with notoriety.
It was no small labour, but the mortal killed the bird,
And unchained poor Prometheus … at least that’s what I heard.

Until today,
When I met him on the bus!
Yes, I know it’s an unlikely place for people like us
Still, I took the chance to ask him, why Prometheus?
And he told me …

I Prometheus, wild adversary,
Thief Immortal, paradoxical trickery.
I bring you Fire! I offer Power!
Bring you liberation, to create or to devour.

I Titanic traitor chained unto a stone.
Bird satiater, cursed to live and die alone.
Yes, my fate was always marred, the gate to Olympus barred,
permanently scarred, and on what charge?

My unrepentant, holy burning heart.
He despised my cunning, he shunned my art,
Why? Because I dared!

Bound in chains, my Olympic fall from grace.
Each day an eagle’s feast, my sacrifice to warm your face.
Why? because I cared!

And a thousand vestal virgins, do not do me honour,
and a million clay built humans still shun the sacred fire.

Well don’t just stare!

You heard me! I gave up what I got!
I suffered and I sacrificed, for what?!

You! Yes, you! Clay built flora in God’s image,
tormented by Pandora, holding false hope’s privilege.

I conspired, I inspired you to take charge of your own,
to stand against authority, to take wisdom gods have known,
And now little metal boxes warm your heart and heat your home,
Orange coiling filaments, light switches. Flame dis-owned!

And you choke in the smoke of your ill fed bonfires.
Eyes burning acrid; blinded by fools and liars.
And like Zeus, you bind me! Another rock to sit upon
You stand me in eternal golden form, beside your temple to Mammon.
Rockerfella wraps me in a zodiacal chain,
To witness your torture again and again.

You take my fire, run it round, with a corporate charade,
New World Order bound, coca-cola reign on your parade!
Five rings for the race of man, five rings of fire ascend,
An Olympic spell with one to rule them all, one to pretend.
A million eyes gaze on the screen, open to suggestion.
‘Go back to sleep,’ they say. No need to beg the question.

All you vacant vestal virgins wear about your neck, false chains.
And my deluded clay creations. You know nothing of my pains.
Do you.
Or do I judge too quick?

Will you awaken from the eternal torture of your soul?
Will you break the chains that bind you before your liver is sold?
Will you tend a sacred flame? Will you keep it pure and clear?
Take the power of my prophecy to those who would hear!

Will you light a simple fire, to sit by with your friends?
Will you grasp your sovereignty? You have a planet to mend.
Do you dare to burn and sack your Gods of corporation?
Do you care to claim back? Reinstate your sovereign nation!

I Prometheus,
A living mythology.
In the darkness of mystery,
I leave with you my history.
Complete it!

Lisa Goodwin