The use of cauldrons

Aug 13th, 2017 | By | Category: Articles, Nimue Brown, Poetry

By Nimue Brown

In the Taliesin myth, the events leading to the central character becoming a famous bard are kicked off when sorceress/goddess Ceridwen sets out to make a potion. She does it to try and give her son wisdom to offset his apparent insufficiency. She has an old man and a young boy watch over the cauldron for the year of its brewing, and nothing goes as she intended it. The three drops of inspiration from the cauldron of Ceridwen are a key image for modern Druids, but the story itself troubles me. So, this is a poem about a different sort of cauldron, with deliberate echoing of the Ceridwen story.

(Steampunk druid art by Tom Brown.)




The use of cauldrons


My cauldron will brew for a year and a day

Which is to say, forever.

No child slave labour,

No relentless using of the elderly

Never permitted to retire to ease.

Mine is not that sort of cauldron.


My children will eat from it,

The dark ones and the fair,

The nimble of mind, foot or finger,

And those slower in their ways.

All are beautiful to me and all shall be fed.


Some will say “must we have peas again?”

And “Mine’s got lumpy bits in it”

And “I don’t like it.”

They will eat the sweet and the sour,

The smooth, the chewy.


What comes from my cauldron is life.

None will have blinding flashes

Or burning heads

But I will feed them my potions,

Day by day.

Feed them with love, soil food, soul food.

Earth made, and nurturing.

I will answer what hunger I can.


This cauldron does not crack, or poison.

It offers everyday gifts.

Inspiration you can live with,

Ladled steaming into many bowls.


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