One of the most unknown poetic lore - containing the most complete and real poetic - is the four cycles of Irish myth, the mystical knowledge therein constituting what the druids called
On Coimgne - A spiritual term, whose eytmology is unknown but which stretches back and connects to flitting shadows in the cave Plato talks of as being the poetic omphalos of all verse.
Knowledge held in trust for the common mob, by their druidic betters, the Nemed (aristoi) status of the top dog lot, intellectual mandarins in an ancient culture, probably beyond the comprehension of modern wo/manity to grasp, such was it so all encompassingly different from what goes on today.
And this knowledge was effectively contained in the four cycles of Irish myth. The Fianna cycle, Historical cycle, Mythological and Ulster cycles. A compact myth pack where all the narratives are completely domestic, with the odd brython or pict making an appearance, but essentially the islands very own system equal to, and in some cases we can argue goes beyond, the graeco-roman system on which the modern English poetic tradition founded itself 400 years ago.
An imititive act of copying; unlike the goidelic lore; still purring like a bunch of kittens, in full working order, oiled and ready to be took on and used in the bardic sense of the word, to express whatever one wishes, any whim and it can convey still, the deepest of spiritual swirl within ones most secret inner self, in any spelling yer wunt.
For there is little awareness or understanding of this 1200 year tradition of gaelic writing, which began with the proto-old Irish ogam alphabet - based on Latin glyphs - around the 3C and which ended 1300 years later.
And by ratio, it has been dead - wrong word - for but a third of the time it existed; first murdered during the cultural holocaust the Tudor monarchy pro-actively rent upon the island and all life on it. cromwell being the antichrist, the man who believed he was some kind of messianic instrument - as his insane scribblings demonstrate - and thus a policy of total scorched earth and famine - cromwell believed - should be visited upon the Irish, as the will of what terrible God his poor deluded brain conjured during his lunacy, commanding him to slaughter these gaelic sinners, speaking a language he did not understand and wished to, only destroy.
And i do not wish to sound like an embittered racist who has the mind set
"I can't speak my language coz of them britz, british b.stards..i can't speak gaelic, coz of them britz, british b.stards, blah blah blah" - But i was tossed off the Guardian books blog at the weekend, for contravening their talk lore - rightly so - for being too windy, in effect, for being a poet and for writing in a register which sought to speak of Love. Daft perhaps, but my take is that poets have a responsibility to promote Love and peace, not war.. This was after a four month full on trolling exercise that saw my word count go up to 5000 a day, and i realsied in reptrospect that that was the final ascent to Anruth - Enobling stream level in the bardic tradition.
The editor, her drippy staff and i had been dancing a pretend game of poetical mindplay, and they outed themselves as cultural facists after four months of me working there as a troll seeking to speak only to promote a love for Literacy and not the marketing and spin of commercial activity a poet must engage in aside from the act of poetry.
And thus, was I tossed off her rag, for being too windy - rightly so - for contravening the talk lore there. I had 800 pages of sheer wind come out over four months and knew i was learning something at the time, as this is a natural occurence, the white hot tide of constant language-gushing out as we ascend to the next stage of our poetic attainment.
I knew what i was doing, even if some of the spacier stuff looked odd; and i do not mean in an aggressive or threatening way, just odd. This is because i am a poet, who is quite individual in my approach, though naturally I understand why they who conform to a normal consumerist, commercial notion the collective poetic brain defines as poetic identity, do so.
Basically now, the consensus is that a poet is someone who writes stuff they call poetry, publish it in a book and do a bit of moaning in the rags now and again, about how untalented most other people writing what they call poetry, are. The odd one being nice and human, but these, unfortunately, few and far between, in the sense of them being able to be happy to talk wo/manly and choose friends from the lower orders, date a bin man or dine in a canteen for drug addicts and the homeless on a regular basis, perhaps.
And thus after four months at work, effectively learning how to become a better journalist than the pros in the guardian, at the final, when i had out-faced the hacks, i got carrried away and probably said stuff that was too satirical and upset a drip or two, the moany ones who love writing in to complain to, someone, anyone, it doesn't matter, as long as the target of their culturally facist wangst stops spieling their dream on the page because drippy aint happy wiv 'em.
But another compelling reason, was after four months a bloke called Mr Bomber, who bombed in trolling two months ago, below the line, appeared above the line, plucked from the dregs of the commentating classes, and at this point an ossification and clearing of mental mist occured, as it collectively dawned on us long termers and heavy users of that board, that ..hold on..if Mr Bomber can go above the line, so can we.
And compounding this was Jo Ridgwell - bomber - his piece was effectively the manifesto for a loose collection of his dring and drug pals, only three of whom where personal freinds, the rest a rag bag sort of dissaffected writers unhappy at the no-chance they stood with normal publishing routes, and the manifesto for these writers, poets etc, was "F.ck You" I kid ye not.
And i ended up setting up a lit site and a few of the grandie mob came on board, which the ed did not like, stealing her thralls and getting them thinking of not being a muppet for others all the time.
And so i was cast out, banished, ComBod snipped me, and yet i managed to return under a different guise and posted within the limits, on an irish thread that turned into the usual book list; which - after 200 deposits - had no mention of this gaelic bardic past, the 1200 and more years of the native island language, on which the 200 years of english is thus spake.
For some reason ComBod lost the plot and totally excised any and all trace of my writing, leaving mesages of "deleted by ComMod as this poster mentions one who is no longer here", and several other bits of text that made it clear his head was completely done in and he was taking it very personal; acting like a wronged wo/man cutting up their ex-lovers clothes, scrubbing all trace of a chavvy oink who dared view this gaelic past.
Who had the cheek to point out that there was not one reference to the gaelic bardic culture, and sought to remedy it with a few lines from one of the most highly respected poets in the 1200 year tradition. Three times longer than the English poetic tradition and based - not on an imititive graeco-roman metrical lore - but a native one.
So, as i say an all, forgive me for bringing certain psychic baggage and sense of injustices to this forum, but it is within the broad scope of what i wish to address here today..
The literal meaning of On Coimgne, is elusive and not fully known, lost in the primordial spume of the oral tradition on the island where memory is queen, and the poets from this tradition, we can pretend to believe its trace is distilled into us at our conception.
The aul irish cod of it being our collective psychic dna, a way of out-facing the charge of being racist about poets from different cultures; though the truth is this island is one of the few places in the world who could get away with such a claim; or rather, the rest of the world will go along with our cod of being natural born poets.
A perfect piece of linguistic avoidance, of not getting bogged down in the contemporary PC side-show of shout and counter shout by thought cops and mind sheriffs seeking out potential wrong-thinkers, patrolling and bossing about in the madness of a divisive western culture based on the - essentially roman - Penal concept of a binary understanding; where the shades and grey subtleties of existential reality are ignored in favour of opting into a mediatised hygenic fiction that this is good that is bad, and even when one is believing they are doing things impulsed for and by love, as in the Love poet; some nasty troll chancers will try to point out why you are actually the devil for saying the most innocuous and harmless of utterances.
And thus the druids held the knowledge in trust for the people, this On Coimgne, and in reality, it meant learning the four cycles off by heart and the various meters that sprung up and were invented over the course of the tradition, and there is an old quote that has come down to us, believed to be of druidic origin, as it is used in conjuction with this slippery, grey, almost invisible On Coimgne word none can say for sure they know what it means.
S"he is no poet who does not synchronize and harmonize all the ancient knowledge."
And so poets from the island, the descendants of this mythic bunch of mad-heads, can learn from this neglected myth system, what knowledge the druids and fili held in the oral tradition, or at least attempt to learn of the On Coimgne, the four cycles. For as the saying goes that
S"he is no poet who does not synchronize and harmonize all the ancient knowledge." The On Coimgne effectively, the four myths. And whilst i wouldn't hold this as a truism or a must for the irish poet, what a larf it would be if someone actually did try to work, or rather, engage with the world as a poet on this one base premise?
And at this point, i have to admit i am addicted to irish myth, and the more i study the easier it gets to talk of poetry and verse with a certain knowledge few other poets possess, even though this myth system is supremely compact compared to the sprawl of european myth; ultimately all connected, as there was no sea and thus no narural boundary or terminus where european myth could safely be said to stop.
But the gaelic myth is not like that. It is all there on the pages time forgot and should one choose to try and re-connect, or just browse through with no intention but to pass an idle five minute, it is there, purring and ready to be took on; in around six years or so, should on possess the thirst and focus to take on the full of this knowledge, contained in a voluminous four cycles.
And it was only in the sixth year of study, once one had progressed from the fifth grade of Clio - ridgepole - to Anruth, or Enobling stream, one could practice publically for material reward. A great system to talk of poetry with, as it is a one founded by druids - the ultimate poets - and evolved along soley poetic lines.
1200 years uninterupted poetic culture, name me one poet from it Dave?
Exactly, mad and proof that the purest source of poetry, containing the most answers - or certainly as productive as any other - few poets practicing today are even aware of; preffering instead to make up and cobble their own from a mix and match of various cultures poetics.
But one can liken this collective ignorance to the metaphor of silence we need for true gravitas. For the really important things in life aren't "tidy yer bedroom", but the murdering of people and the killers to be the state. The cop in the street who kills ones brother, father, mother, sister, whoever, with everyone knowing and unable to do nada, whaddya say dave? Exactly, the worse the crime perpetrated by the state, the bigger the silence as the truth is supressed by the idiots who haven't copped on that life is much more civilised and enjoyable in the long run when people are straight with one another instead of seeking to be great all the time, to possess the arogance of a Great briton. And indeed it is only because they have stuff to hide, dishonest intent wrapped up in a christian ethos, as bush and blair did in Iraq ..that it's actually all your fault dave..the middle east..
But i digress, the fili/poet had to take on the full of it, and the whole thread, the entire history is there and can be read, understood, the lineage and pedigree, all there in black and white, with no missing portions, no centuries unaccounted for; right back to the ogam; invented by and used for 150-200 years during the time the druidic culture was crossing over to christianity and they devised a system of writing with an orthography all their own, based on the latin alphabet.
The annals state goidelic to be a mixed combination of the three best areas of langugae in greek, hebrew and another one which slips my mind. Clear and total myth, but this particular tale is very thorough and worthy of further inspection..but not now dave..not now..later, after we've got to know each other a bit better..
The detailed myth for its invention involving 72 scribes who were sent round recording the various langugaes that came to be after the tower at Babel collapsed and speech fragmented.
And so, what of the poet who has the dream, of being the poet according to the above quote? Indeed if followed to the letter this quote would exclude every poet who did not study their native myth.
But for the perfectionsist of verse, the prize one can plan to acquire in a pretty empty field where all other irish competitors are connected more to the graeco roman mythos, is ones very own universe, become as influential as Cromwell, but for Love dave, love...
And it is only now the bones of it have ossified in my mind, in my sixth year of full time 14 hour a day study, i know how to use it; as once one has their own personal myth kitty, one can say owt thee wunt, effectively, when we learn how to initial and upper the case of i and strike the most important glyph:
you is the writer.
But i suppose what i've learnt is that we all need a myth system, be it self created using 50's American cartoon lore or the four cycles. I prefer the cycles and after six years have took the skeleton of it on board; though it do be very daunting when my eyes first apprehended the ogam, and various names in the mythos.
Indeed, it excludes all but the highest of poetical minds and is a year - two really - before you even find you feet, such is the strangeness when first met, reconnection to a forgotten and criminally ignored tradition, that does hold answers for all poets, should they chose to gamble on finding poetic answers there.
Welcome to my gulag dave..Let me be your reader, please, all welcome.., the real irish bard..a plastic shaman, a pretend mick, an English git, british..b.stard, i can speak my language coz of the british gits, i hate me..just get chatting..everyone's bleeding resigning anyway. Ditch this board and come wiv me..
Rule no 1 - post something back, even if it's just one word.
Thank you very much, Love..peace go slag them hacks off