Site Meter

Monday, February 04, 2008

Babel Babble

The things you find on Wikipedia. Did you know that the legendary Scythian king Fenius Farsa and a retinue of 72 scholars, no less, went to the site of the Tower of Babel to study its now dispersed languages and created Gaelic out of the best of all the different tongues he’d studied? He also discovered four new alphabets, the Hebrew, Greek, Latin and Ogham, with Ogham being the most perfect because the last to be discovered. Read more about it in Auraicept na n-Éces (‘the scholars’ primer’) in the Book of Ballymote.

1 comment:

Background Artist said...

So you found it.

The literal translation approximates to:

"the working methods of knowing ones"

I have been on this caper for the last seven years, and i stumbled across the Auraicept na n-é ces after a year or two.

I was in second or third year of edge hill university in my home town of ormskirk, 2003-4, on instinct studying, or rather, attempting to contextualise what i had been lead into discovering. And almost with a sense of "how did i end up here" to the whole thing.

Basically i had gone from tentative newbie, just started writing with a view to doing it for a "career"; when i fell into university bu accident, in off the dole, fastrack course, and before i know it, in september 2001, eight months after i decided to re-contextualise myself from a bum to one with a writing habit; i have everything at my fingertips. From the course of study to the computers, gym, social side, a whole new and attractive world to someone who has never experienced third level education, especially if, like me, one had spent the last 20 years as a failure in the business of life.

Soon after starting, it became apparent that poetry was the only realistic option for me, due to a combination of factors.

First, i have no expectations of what i am capable of, as regards writing novels, plays and anything over average poem length. And two, it is a form which, once i started to write in it, kept me perfectly consumed, from first idea to final execution of committing what i had written to memory and delivering it to anyone willing and often unwilling, to be my audience.

By the third year, i had a vauge hazy notion that all the material i had been spending 40% of my time reading, or rather, not understanding due to never having read irish, added up somehow; but aware that the course of taking on this area of, what is essentially, specialised knowledge, was/is 20 years study and practice before we traditionally reach our peak in print and person.

A year or less out the grove, after relocating to Dublin on a whim and the place taking to me, i discovered what appears to genuinely be, a, if not the, holy grail Poetic text.

It is attributed to Amergin, and is the least well known known of the three or four attributed to him.

It is in the Book of Ballymote, and as far as i can figure, was the poem which the inductee into the various bard schools, would have been presented first, heading their primers, and it seems about right, as it has no title.

A poem with no title suggests everyone knows the poem and it is part of the given of that life and culture, that it needs no title, just Is.

When it was first unearthed in the late 19C, because of the cauldron imagary, it became known as the Cauldron of Poesy.

The poem begins by asking if the root of poetry is in the body or soul and surmises the two positions without weighing down on either side and continues by detailing what poetry is and how we make it.

As soon as i read it, i knew it was of significance, and it is not something you can assimilate and deconstruct after one sitting, as it is essentially a 7C bardic voice talking to us.

One can make this the poem at the heart and soul-core of our poetic, as it is unbeatable in all schools, and at a stroke, on a totally different path of learning to most other rival bores spouting whoever as their main God, as this text is one for life and was the cornerstone of a 1000 year literary tradition, and the longer i have it, the deeper poetic truths it reveals, as it is the template all poets in the bardic tradition took as gospel.

The longer one writes and applies themself to what is perhaps the genuine significance of this missing Amergin piece, the more confidence and precision it bestows to, not only my critical prose writing, but the poetry and its recital.

The scholars priner is head crunchingly difficult, and for me learning the skeleton of the four cycles has been like banging my head against a tea strainer, but it came, just after i discovered the various grades and their names, and the number of stories and meters etc one had to commit to memory before going to the next level.

In my own wrougting, i have it that i am at grade five of seven, Cli/ridgepole and there is one more grade to pass through before an at least six year stretch to ollamh, and then seven years practicing at that level before i am halfway any good enough to attempt to pass myself off as an expert.

Gra agus Solais

Have a gander

tend to be interested in