White Samite, Mystical, Wonderful

 

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This abstract image reminds me of a scene in the Grail legend, when the vessel, covered in white samite, is reverently carried aloft through the Great Hall.

The words, ‘Clothed in white samite, mystic, wonderful,’ come from Tennyson’s poem Morte d’ Arthur , and was a line I heard but couldn’t see: something not of my time and wasted on me in high school English class.

Many years later, on a raw, winter’s day in Cornwall,  I stood at the edge of Dozmary pool, listening to Canadian Ed Kylie telling the story of King Arthur’s death based on Tennyson’s poem. This was the  place where Excalibur was said to have been returned to the Lady of the Lake. In my minds’s eye, I did see the glittering sword flung, turning, end over end through the air. The arm I imagined coming up was pudgy and chilled pink.  All I could see of the ‘samite’ was a draped, white, sodden bedsheet. I couldn’t see more of the story for the cold.

Wikiwand can give me interesting facts about samite. It was the most important silk weave of Byzantium, reserved for kings and church leaders. But, clothing is such a personal, fragile artefact. I like to feel fabrics. Mostly, it’s the colour and patterns, the warp and weft that draws me in. I have only poured over many fascinating remnants under glass in museums – from christening gowns, to shawls and mummies.

Visualising the colour and texture of fabrics and matching these to the clothing characters wear helps make them, and the story, more visual, more believable, more memorable.

The ‘fabric’ in this image might not only be white Samite, but also

  • a cloak for the wicked lead in Andersen’s ‘The Snow Queen.’
  • the stone horse’s hide in the Asian folk tale about a magic brocade, when the horse is magically brought to life.
  • Sleeping Beauty’s coverlet
  • the magic tablecloth Mannannan spread before Cormac when he was in the Land of Faery
  • a dress for the woman in the moon
  • What do you imagine?

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This week’s Photo Challenge was to turn the concrete and familiar into something new and mysterious.

Sources: Poem – Morte d’Arthur, http://www.bartleby.com/42/637.html

Wikiwand entry’Samite,’ https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Samite

All text (except that in italics) and photos by Meg

Story Twigs the Imagination! by Meg Philp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Rain Glad

In such a way did the black giant of Tarn Wethelan  find release, and the grim lady of the moor win the White Hawk: and of her he was as glad as grass would be of rain.

A quote from “Tarn Wethlan” in Alan Garner’s Collected Folktales, published in 2010.

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        (Read Neil Gaiman’s review at http://www.theguardian.com/books/2011/dec/14/collected-folk-tales-garner-review)

I started this post with the last line of Garner’s version of the Arthurian legend about the marriage of Sir Gawaine and the Lady Ragnal, a tale I tell myself. I am intrigued by this author’s point of view. I have always loved Garner’s voice; this turn of phraseand of her he was as glad as grass is of rain… made me wonder about rain, how weather effects us all, and why I don’t mention it much in my storytelling …

This legend is set on St Stephen’s-tide, the day after Christmas. I imagined the December weather In Northumberland. Hard frost, hills blanketed in snow, biting wind, icicles on walls,horses snorting and steaming in the cold … all this seems such a dream in the Tropics.  Here, on Boxing Day,  the grass in my yard was parched. It was 40C and baking hot and we were desperate for rain.

…and of her he was as glad as grass is of rain… 

I kept a weather eye open as I worked steadily moving on from room to room inside the house, sweat dripping from me, The crack of a lightning bolt came as a surprise. I looked out,

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The weather had turned, the heavens finally opened with a tropical storm full of thunder, flashes of light, cracking close by and the glorious, warm, drenching rain.

What a relief when it rains!

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Later, as I wandered in the garden, I wondered  … was she as sweet on him as honeysuckle after rain?

How glad is grass, really, after rain?

Did she luxuriate in the sun and go wild?

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What’s left behind after rain? What pondering, playful drops?

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Here’s to rain! Happy New Year!  Health, Joy and enough Rain to keep you going and growing!

 

Stories Twigs … by Meg is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.