Marion Clarke

Cantrer Gwaelod: The lowland one hundred (A Haibun)

According to legend, between the islands of Bardsey and Ramsey on the west
coast of Wales, a sunken kingdom lies twenty miles from the shore. In an early
version of the tale that appeared in Llyfer du Caerfyrddin, the Black Book of
Carmarthen, the land was lost to floodwater when Mererid, the maiden of the
well, succumbed to lust and neglected her duties.

stream of moonlight
from the lip of the well
water gushes

A later story attributes blame to the keeper of the sluice gates, Seithennin,
who was a notorious merrymaker. One night, at spring tide, a storm blew up
and huge waves pummelled the sea wall, but Seithennin did not stir from his
drunken stupor and the sea swept through the open sluice gates, submerging
the land.

heavy rain….
beside the rockpool,
a limpet ticks

Contemporary explanations cite the memory of gradually rising sea levels after
the ice age as the cause for such folklore, although the sunken forest at Borth
and Sarn Badrig seem to suggest that some great tragedy did overcome a
community there, giving rise to the myth.

frosty night
all the stars in the sky
in the sea

Today, local people say that if you listen closely you can hear the bells of the
lost city ringing out from beneath the water of Cardigan Bay.

Sunday morning
my father’s voice
calling us for mass


holiday breakup …
her cheeks bruised
by the breeze

Marion Clarke is a writer and artist from Warrenpoint, Northern Ireland. She is a member of the Irish Haiku Society and her poetry and fiction has featured in several print anthologies and online journals including The Linnet’s Wings, theviewfromhere, The Heron’s Nest, A Hundred Gourds, Notes from the Gean, Shamrock, Alight Here: The London Tube Project, The Poet’s Place, Issa’s Untidy Hut, The One Word Challenge Anthology, AHA Anthology of the American Haiku Association and most recently Bamboo Dreams. In summer 2012 she received a Sakura award in the annual Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival haiku contest.