Six sons and a husband gone to war,
I worried sick. Sure enough
news of their deaths came, one by one.
Then I took Peredur, my last,
To a lonely place, brought him up
in an absence of knights. We were women and children
Touching a gentleness more exact,
Listening, laughing, agreeable together.
Till one day he comes and says,
‘Mother, mother, in the forest
Riders pass in a shining haze’.
‘Ghosts’, I say sadly. ‘Heroes,
Not ghosts’, he shouts, suddenly loud.
‘They’ve promised to teach me how to fight’.
He took our stout old piebald pony,
Kissed me and left. That was the last
I saw of him. The years slip by, and
Travelling folk bring tales of my only
Hero, expecting fat tips
For boosting maternal pride. There is nothing
For them or for me. I am emptied by
His deeds. If I could, I would wish for his
One death, to save the many he will kill.
By Noragh Jones
from Women’s Voices from the Mabinogion
Fun fact: Peredur (Old Welsh Peretur) is the name of a number of men from the boundaries of history and legend in sub-Roman Britain.
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