Old Magic… #Poetry




The Chalice Well, Glastonbury


Old Magic

Does Merlin wait close by the great tower of Avalon

Where Arthur sleeps waiting to be called

To save us all from holy hell.

Healing waters close by, where many go in search of blessings

Does the holy cup lie beneath the Chalice Well?

Will the truth of these long-loved stories ever be known?

Fantasy, legend, who can tell?

Stand on the broken castle wall of Tintagel

Feel the old man of the woods, his power dancing in the breeze.

A touch from centuries gone.

You may walk home feeling two or three inches taller.

That’s the magic of a long-loved story

Medicine for the soul…

©Anita Dawes

Nonbeliever… #Poetry




Image by Pixabay.com




I don’t believe in heaven nor hell

I float in between the space

where nonbelievers think they know all

when I speak of it, I am shot down in flames

friends turn on me as if I spat on Excalibur

defiled Arthur’s memory.

Merlin waiting in the wings

To lay a spell on this heretic

I wish it were true that someone could help me

Believe in more than nothing

More than you live, you die

In between, you make your own heaven and hell

If miracles be true, then I am in need of one

If asked can the future be glimpsed

I would say no, until now

Accompanying a friend to church

Yes, I don’t mind stepping inside

I watched as she lit a candle

The flame danced with a life of its own

I felt a strange chill blow through the aisle

With the door closed there should be little air here

I noticed the flame turn from orange to blue

It grew to twice the size

Within the blue halo, I could see the face of a woman

A voice beside me whispered

She is to be your wife

I shook my head, thinking I had too many coffees

Leaving the church, thinking no more of it

My friend suggested lunch

I was hungry enough to eat a horse

Here my friend met a colleague

The face within the flame stood before me

As if she had stepped out of the church of Avalon

Where we had been moments ago…

Anita Signature

A Very Special Moment…




Merlin has been sitting on the desk with me a lot lately, so when he turned up again this morning, I simply stroked his head and went back to what I was doing on the computer.

He moved a little closer and I began to wonder if something was wrong. I studied him for a while, then gently put my hand on his head. He looked bright enough and his head and ears felt cool, so I let my hand slide slowly down his back. He looked up at me with so much wisdom and intelligence in his amber eyes and at that moment, I experienced a deep communication between us as our eyes met.

It is usually difficult to see Merlin’s eyes properly, as they seem to vanish in his black face, but for once I could clearly see him looking at me.

He stretched his head towards me until our heads were almost touching. I was sure he had something to tell me, but all I felt was such overwhelming sadness. Was it just his sorrow, or my own somehow joining together?

“You okay, Merlin?”

I had the strongest feeling he wasn’t, as I knew old age was creeping up on him too. I had seen how many times he missed the couch when a jump failed, and how he often stumbled as he walked around. I found myself wondering if he ever thought about how much time he had left, as I often did. The thought that neither of us might not last much longer brought tears to my eyes.

He stayed with me for a while and I with him, sharing something very special.

Two old souls, emotionally communicating on some deeper level.

AAA (2)


#Writephoto ~ Blade #Poetry

Thursday photo prompt: Blade #writephoto


Image by scvincent.com


From the Mist

An ancient wall, an offering made

to Gods of old, whose stories

have never truly be told.

Of Arthur, Merlin and Guinevere

Of a time when a child was born

under cover of Merlin’s mist

From mischief born, a King he would make.

A time of peace was Merlin’s thought

The child is born, a king is made

With sword in hand, he promptly broke

Arthur’s blade lay on the ground

Merlin watching, knew what must be done

A King without a sword cannot be

The Lady of the Lake beneath the water

waiting, with sword in hand

The second blade would be the one


A time of peace ran through the land

Guinevere his second wife did break this peace.

Lancelot had fled to France

War did rage as Mordred thought to take Arthur’s crown

With scabbard lost, the wound was made

Arthur lay bleeding, death too near

His trusted Knight on bended knee

took Arthur’s sword and heard his plea

The sword he carried to the lake

The Knight returned to where Arthur lay

“What did you see?”

A lie was told and Arthur knew

“Go back and do as I have asked

Return and tell me what you see.”

This was done. A lady’s hand

thrust through the water

She caught the blade in mid-air

then sank beneath the lake.

I heard the whisper on still water

“He shall return…”


Our Cat Merlin…




My daughter and granddaughters gave him to us and he has been a great blessing. Each day he greets you when you rise, very vocally.

He talks a lot and sits on the arm of my chair, his face too close to mine. I have the feeling he wants to get inside my head. I cannot reach for my coffee, so I shoo him away.

My son says he doesn’t know why he loves me so much. I am told that whenever I leave the house, he howls, for he doesn’t like me to go away.

I call him dog because he acts like one. There are times he follows me so closely that I trip over him.

But he is a shadow I cannot do without…

©Anita Dawes


Merlin ~ part five


Image by Pixabay.com


It seemed as if no time had passed when they reached the clearing with the little huts. Hands were lifted in greeting as the Hermit passed by.

Merlin could see the roof that needed help, and the man he had met before stood outside. The man asked the Hermit if he had a good journey, and Merlin listened to the hermits answer. “There is still so much to do, yet I am hopeful…”

Hopeful for what, Merlin kept repeating in his head.

“I see you have brought young Master Merlin with you…”

“Stop hanging behind, boy. Meet Grombold, he will show you what needs doing.”

Hearing the Hermit call him ‘boy’ something he hadn’t done before made Merlin wonder if he was angry.  He was feeling as if he had been sold into service, but he was wrong, of course. Looking around the clearing, he could see that everyone was working. The women were cooking and those of his own age were cutting wood and piling thatch together. The very young were playing close by their mothers.

Merlin noticed a young girl crying. She held a small dead bird in the palm of her hand. As he watched, she took it to her mother, who took it from her outstretched hand. “No need for tears, little Blossom…”

Merlin watched, transfixed as the bird was handed back to the child, who kissed its head, held out her hands and watched as the bird flew away.

This had been no dream. The bird had clearly been dead…

Was it the mother or the child who had worked the magic?

Merlin walked towards them but was stopped before he reached them by the Hermit putting a hammer and nails in his hands. He pointed towards Grombold.  “They need you over there.”

Merlin walked over to the hut that everyone was working on and a young boy told him which pieces of wood to hammer the nails into.   He had hardly begun when a terrible grumbling began inside his head. Words crashing together, making no sense. Merlin wanted to ask questions but they wouldn’t come to mind. Something was stopping them from forming.

He knew who to blame. Looking around for the Hermit, he was nowhere to be seen, but Grombold was standing close by.

“Don’t worry about the Hermit, he will be back by tea time.”

By this time, Merlin had had enough of secrets and magic. He walked away from Grombold without saying a word.

The journey back to the cave seemed a great deal longer without the Hermit. The sky was beginning to darken and he could feel rain in the air. He whispered, “Please hold the rain back until I reach the cave, for I don’t need a bath.”

Within a short distance, the heavens opened and Merlin was soaked to the skin. It would seem that someone disagrees with me about not needing a bath, he thought.


Merlin started running. The Hermit was up to something, he could feel it. The people in the clearing didn’t need his help, they had magic of their own. He wanted Merlin out of the way!

When he was within a few feet of the cave he could see people leaving and walking towards the lake. He shook his head and rubbed his eyes, unsure of what he was seeing. These were not people, they looked like wisps of coloured smoke. Their shape was bigger than a man. Merlin watched as each one followed the other, floating across the lake. The last one turned to face the watching Merlin and he heard a voice say, “We will see you soon…”

Merlin fell to his knees, tears fell from his eyes and his breath was laboured. His head was full of strange images. He instinctively wanted to leave this place but knew he couldn’t, not yet. Then he had another thought, that one day he would have to leave.

He kept repeating “Not yet,” until he reached the mouth of the cave.

The Hermit greeted him as if nothing strange had taken place, and Merlin was far too tired to push his luck and lay down on his pelt. As he drifted off to sleep, he tried to remember what had happened that day. A sweet voice began to sing softly, lulling him off to sleep. It was only in the morning that he knew it had been his mother’s voice.

Swinging his legs from the cot, he rubbed the sleep from his eyes. He looked around for the Hermit and spotted him sitting in the corner of the cave reading a book. It was a big book with a black cover covered with strange signs that seemed to glow with a soft blue light.

The cat made a sound, causing the Hermit to close the book, realising that Merlin had witnessed something he shouldn’t. Too late, the Hermit knew Merlin had seen the glowing signs on the book cover and would want to know more. He would have to find a new place to hide it.

The Hermit wondered if Merlin had seen his company leaving last night, for that would explain his being so tired this morning. The Hermit had been working too hard. He needed to take a dip in the lake, maybe teach Merlin how to swim…



I think I will put Merlin on a back burner for a while, but I am sorry if I have disappointed anyone…

I think I might have bitten off more than I could chew with this, and wish I could place this in more capable hands, such as JK Rowling…


Merlin ~part four



“You have much to learn, Merlin before I can teach you the meaning of true magic. All the names of plants, herbs, and the trees in the forest. Thoughts, words, they all have power. Use each one with great care…”

Merlin’s head was by now so full of the Hermit’s words, no more could enter. He fell asleep at the table, but his dream was not as the Hermit had planned. Merlin had fallen too deep and found himself in a dark place. The forest no longer a peaceful place, wild creatures howled all around him.  The trees whipped him with their branches as he passed, tearing the skin from his face and arms.

Something was destroying the forest. The sun no longer shed its light there and the trees were dying. Merlin could no longer hear the birdsong and the sweet smell of the trees had gone. What could be destroying the Hermit’s peaceful home?

Deep in his dream, Merlin knew he couldn’t let this happen and could hear his own voice telling him to wake up. “There is no time to waste, wake up you fool.”

When Merlin awoke, he was alone in the cave.

“Great, just when I have something important to say, he has disappeared.”

He walked out of the cave and made his way to the lake. Everything felt the same as before. The smells and sounds, the feeling of peace, it was all still there. There was no point looking for the Hermit, he could be anywhere, or nowhere.

He was skimming stones across the surface of the lake when a hand reached out of the water and caught the stone. Merlin stood there with his mouth hanging open as he watched the most beautiful face break the surface of the water. It was the mermaid of his dreams.  The lady of the lake threw the stone back to Merlin. He caught it easily with his left hand.

“Good,” she said and sank beneath the water again. Merlin ran into the water, yelling for her to wait. “Come back!” She would know where the Hermit had gone, but he wasn’t quick enough. He had to learn to stop gawping and accept the things he was seeing with a little more speed.

Merlin stayed by the lake a while longer, hoping she would come back, but as darkness fell he was forced to make his way back to the cave. There was no sign of the Hermit.

By now, Merlin was starving. So far, food had always been ready when he needed it, but the black cauldron stood empty. He sat down on his bed, rubbing the hot spot on the palm of his hand. He wondered why a stone from the cold water should leave a red mark. As he watched, it began to fade.

He waited a while longer, and while he waited, he wondered if he was brave enough to sit on what he thought was the hermits magic boulder. Did he dare to sit on it? A small voice in the back of his mind told him to get on with it.

He sat there for a long time. Nothing came to his mind but the hunger grumbling inside his body. Eventually, he went outside to look for food. He knew which berries and mushrooms he could eat. The weight of the stone in his pocket made him think of the Hermit as he made his way back to the cave.

He wondered why he was learning from dreams and not the Hermit as he said he would. He placed his meagre gatherings on the table, noticing the fire burning under the cauldron. Looking inside, someone had prepared food, yet the Hermit was still missing. As he made short work of the food, he realised the Hermit must have left word for his friends to look out for him.

Merlin put the stone on the table. It was a good flat stone, black with white veining. As he looked at it, his eyes began to water and a gentle humming sounded in his ears. Slowly, the voice of the lady of the lake could be heard. Through the water in his eyes, he could see a dark tunnel. The Hermit was sitting by the lake and the lady stood on the water, her long flowing dress floating around her. He heard her ask the Hermit a question.

“Does he remember his mother’s name, or heard the tales of his father?”

The Hermit answered her. “He knows nothing…”

The vision faded and Merlin noticed that the stone had moved from the where he had placed it, leaving a small burn mark on the table. Something made him put it on a pewter plate, then he left to search for the Hermit again.

He gave up and returned to the cave, feeling the first stirring of anger.

By day three, there was little food left and Merlin’s anger was slowly growing at being left. Should he go back to the forest to find the hermits friends and stay with them? As he fell asleep that night, he wondered if he was only dreaming or really being shown his future…

He sat astride a black horse and had passed the lake, heading deeper into the forest. He could hear the sound of horses behind him and the noise of a battle in front of him. He pulled on the reins to stop the horse, afraid of what lay ahead.

Turning the horse around, he found no one behind him. He tried to wake up, believing the Hermit messed around in his head whenever he slept and when he opened his eyes, he found the Hermit sitting on his great stone. Looking out of the cave mouth he saw that the world outside was still in darkness.

Part of this darkness entered his mind, fuelling his anger. He let it out, his voice loud, echoing along the cave walls.

He marched up to the Hermit and kicked the stone. “You have no right keeping me here! Keep out of my head!” He kicked the great stone again, watching the smile vanish from the Hermits face. A low rumbling sound began, gradually becoming louder.

Merlin reached out his hands, his lungs burning from the force of his voice.


The Hermit stepped down from the stone. “I see you have learned a few things in my absence. If you wish to go, I shall not stop you, but I think you should eat before you go.”

The smell of food cooking soon had Merlin sitting at the table. He noticed that the mark on the table had vanished. He rubbed his hand across the surface, wondering if he had dreamed that too.

The Hermit brought two pewter plates to the table and handed Merlin the stone. “You really should keep this, as you may need it later.”

Merlin put the stone in his pocket and said nothing. There was no anger left in him, no more heated words. Feeling a little sorry for himself, he asked the Hermit why he had left him alone for so long.

“That is a story for another time. There are many things I will tell you about one day should you decide to stay. I would very much like it if you did. By the way, if you are in no hurry to leave, maybe you would like to help my friends, they have a roof needs mending.”

Merlin agreed to help, so they set out with him walking behind the Hermit, watching him closely…

To be continued…

Anita Dawes



Merlin: part three


Image by Pixabay.com


Merlin had never known his father, nor heard any of the tales about him.

The Hermit didn’t ask that question again. Merlin wanted to ask a few questions of his own, like where the clothes he was wearing came from. All the food, and how the Hermit knew he was twelve years old?

The only thing he had ever seen the Hermit doing, apart from cooking, was sitting cross-legged on a large boulder with his eyes closed and his hands on his knees. Sometimes Merlin thought the Hermit’s backside wasn’t on the boulder, that he floated about a foot above it but his long robes made it hard to be sure.

Merlin almost stood on his head trying to see, to no avail. On one of these times, the Hermit told Merlin he would end up with too much blood in his head if he kept doing that.

Merlin found the courage to ask the Hermit where they were.

“First of all, young Merlin, this place is my home. The forest protects us from unwanted eyes…”

With a little too much courage, Merlin asked, “So where does all the food come from? And my clothing? I haven’t seen you leave this cave since you brought me here…”

“I have a friend out there…”  The tone of his voice told Merlin not to ask any more questions. “Tomorrow we will take a walk and maybe you will meet some of my friends…”

That evening, the Hermit sat Merlin down and asked him if he could remember why he had been in the forest without any clothes. The only thing Merlin could remember was being run out of the village, the screaming, and the banging of pots and being told never to come back.

He couldn’t remember doing anything bad, or how long he had been wandering around or where his clothes went.

“Do you remember meeting anyone in the forest?” The Hermit could see Merlin was getting tired. “You sleep now, we will talk more tomorrow.”

Sleep came fast with more dreams. Memories of cold nights in the forest and finding that someone always left food close to where he slept.

Merlin dreamed of the Hermit too, walking along the side of the lake. What looked like long blonde hair floated on the water and seemed to follow the Hermit’s footsteps. His mouth moved as though he was talking to someone. After a while, the water began to stir as if agitated by something. The hair disappeared beneath the water and ripples spread across the lake, but the Hermit kept on talking…

In the dream, Merlin could see the words coming from his mouth. Red, angry words made of fire, spilling into the lake. Whoever the Hermit had been speaking to would be sure to hear them.

The Hermit vanished and Merlin was alone in the forest. Not long after, the memory of cold nights began to haunt his dreams. In the dreams, he was welcomed by small people who led him to their home. There they fed him and told him stories. The taste of the food reminded Merlin of the food that had been left for him before when he had been alone.

Suddenly there was a loud roar and Merlin jumped from the fallen log where he had been sitting. The eldest of the clan stood at Merlin’s side. “No need to worry, it is only Trog.”

That was when Merlin could see just what had made the sound that was louder than any thunder he had ever heard. From between the trees, came a small blue dragon that promptly began to inspect Merlin, poking his long nose over Merlin’s hair and licking his face. The dragon’s breath smelled of mint.

Merlin slept the night with his new friends and awoke to the smell of cooking. He was back in the cave and the Hermit was stirring the cauldron. “Did you enjoy your visit with my friends?”

Not sure how to answer, Merlin, replied that he hadn’t taken him to meet his friends yet.

The Hermit let out a chuckle, a rare occurrence. “Take a look at your feet. They tell a different story.”

Merlin lifted one foot after the other to find them coated in mud with dried leaves stuck between his toes. The cave floor was grey stone, so where had he been?

Merlin ate slowly, trying to take it all in. How could he have been there, it had been a dream. Yet the mud on his feet told a different story. He put down the wooden spoon he had been eating with and took a deep breath. He asked who the Hermit had been speaking to as he walked by the lake.

The Hermit knew it was time for the truth and told Merlin about the Lady of the Lake. Merlin thought his head would explode but he had to know why they had been so angry.

The Hermit took his time with the answer, as it was still too soon to reveal everything. “She was angry because I will not take you back to the village.”

Merlin jumped up from the table. “But I don’t want to go back…”

“Calm down young Merlin. The Lady has given me time to teach you all you need to know.”

“Teach me what?” Merlin couldn’t wait to hear the answer.

“To become the greatest wizard the world will ever know.”

Merlin had heard the stories around the village, of magic and wizards and great standing stones. Stories of Stonehenge had stuck in Merlin’s mind the most, a place he wanted to see. Maybe the Hermit could dream him there.

The Hermit said there was no time for dreaming. Merlin no longer wondered how the Hermit always knew what he was thinking.

“Time is the enemy, Merlin. You must respect it but don’t let it slap you in the face.”


To be continued…

Merlin…part two


Image by Pixabay.com


The food was good. Young Merlin as he is to be known had no idea what he was eating. The hermit asked if he needed more, and filled Merlin’s bowl from the black cauldron, which looked as though the food never diminished.

Sitting quite close now, Merlin watched the hermit’s bald head. When he spoke, it waved and rippled like an ocean moving towards the shore, and as if something lived within his long white beard, it moved slowly as if a soft breeze had entered the cave.

Merlin could not tell what colour his eyes were, they seemed to change depending on what he was speaking about. They held Merlin’s mind in check, his thoughts no longer running and crashing inside his mind. For the first time in his life, Merlin felt peace, a sense of belonging.

“It is good to see you here, young Merlin…”

The name felt strange and yet familiar.

“Did you dream, did the cave walls whisper their secrets to you?”

Merlin could only remember dreaming about his mother, who died giving birth to what would have been a sister. He did not answer the hermits question…


Anita Dawes

To be continued…