December 2018 – Irish

Pangur Bán and I at work,
Adepts, equals, cat and clerk:
His whole instinct is to hunt,
Mine to free the meaning pent.

More than loud acclaim, I love
Books, silence, thought, my alcove.
Happy for me, Pangur Bán
Child-plays round some mouse’s den.

Truth to tell, just being here,
Housed alone, housed together,
Adds up to its own reward:
Concentration, stealthy art.

Next thing an unwary mouse
Bares his flank: Pangur pounces.
Next thing lines that held and held
Meaning back begin to yield.

All the while, his round bright eye
Fixes on the wall, while I
Focus my less piercing gaze
On the challenge of the page.

With his unsheathed, perfect nails
Pangur springs, exults and kills.
When the longed-for, difficult
Answers come, I too exult.

So it goes. To each his own.
No vying. No vexation.
Taking pleasure, taking pains,
Kindred spirits, veterans.

Day and night, soft purr, soft pad,
Pangur Bán has learned his trade.
Day and night, my own hard work
Solves the cruxes, makes a mark.

(“Pangur Bán,” Anonymous; translation by Seamus Heaney)

Persona: Lady Wynefryd Bredhers – no specific persona. A time-traveling snowbird who visits the British Isles, Scandinavia and Rome depending on weather and whim.

Why did you choose this culture? My heritage

What is the inspiration for your piece and why did it appeal to you? The Book of Kells and Pangur Ban. Very cliche, but it has so many fun elements.

Materials used: Bristol, Holbein gouache, brazilwood pigment, iron gall ink

What is your favorite medium to work in? Still learning and experimenting!

What is a C&I technique that is challenging to you, or not your favorite? Calligraphy

What is a piece of advice you would give a new scribe? Stolen from a wise woman, “Do the thing that scares you.”