woman sleeping on a bed of flowers

Gwydion Makes Leu a Wife

 By Charlotte Hussey

At dawn I drop

armfuls of leafy plants,

buds on slender stalks,

frail, scented blossoms,

hundreds upon hundreds—

into a vat of river water.


I stir from edge

to center, chaos to order,

watch sunlight reflect off

the pin-wheeling liquids,

ridged with tiny waves,

like crimped, opening petals.


Slowly the vat’s surface settles,

gathering to it the colors

of field, forest, and pleasure garden

to seed some small, fleshy

thing, not of father not

of mother, in the cooling mash.


The full moon pours down

into her creamy folds

as into the cobwebbed

veils of a mushroom. “Woman,

woman I have summoned

you here to be Lleu’s wife.”


Like the moon’s rotation,

she exhibits subtle irregularities

and an un-called for inclination

to leave me. She crosses a field of small,

odd noises, fragments of a music

my ears cannot quite catch.


I watch disarmed, nearly

lunatic. Her bare feet,

their every step fills up

with lilies and white clover.

She sleepwalks towards

an owl hooting in the wood.


Charlotte Hussey, who has an MFA from Warren Wilson College, teaches medieval literature at Montreal’s Dawson College. She has published Rue Sainte Famille and The Head Will Continue to Sing. Completing a McGill University doctorate on the poet H.D. awakened her love of antiquity and led to her publication of Glossing the Spoils, a collection drawing on Western European mythologies that came out in the UK in a second edition in 2017.  Her poems can be found in Garden Varieties: An Anthology of the Top Fifty Poems from the National Poetry Contest; 150+ Canada’s History in Poetry; Soul of the Earth: the Awen Anthology of Eco-spiritual Poetry; Pagan Muse: Poems of Wisdom and Inspiration, and in the forthcoming Awenydd at the Crossroads Anthology.  Her work appears in numerous literary magazines in Canada, the UK, and the US. She can be reached at charlotte.hussey@mcgill.ca