The Anathemata

Sherthursdaye and Venus day (continued)

from her salined deeps

from the cavern’d waters

(where she ark’d him) come.

His members in-folded

like the hidden lords in the West-tumuli

for the nine dark calends gone.

Grown in stature

he frees the waters.

(Nine nights on the windy tree?1 

Himself to himself?

Who made the runes would read them—

wounded with our spears.)

Her Peredur

vagrant-born, earth-fostered

acquainted with the uninhabited sites.

His woodland play is done, he has seen the questing milites, he would be a miles too.2 

Suitor, margaron-gainer.

David Jones notes

1 Cf. ‘I know that I hung on the windy tree
For nine whole nights
Wounded with the spear, dedicated to Odin,
Myself to myself.’

From The Havamal, as translated by Frazer in Adonis, Attis, Osiris.


2 ‘Peredur . . . miles too.’ (Per-red-eerr, accent on middle syllable.)

The allusions are to the opening episode, concerning the hero and his mother in the Welsh story of Peredur son of Efrawg, called Peredur the Chief Physician. He is the hero known to all Europeans as Percival, the Grail hero, after the original Gawain and before a much later development of that complicated theme evolved a Galahad. Peredur was nurtured in a remote place by his mother who kept all knowledge of arms from him, but playing in the woods he sees military persons pass by and inquires what they are, and is told ‘Angels’. He answers ‘I would be an angel too’ and attaches himself to them. His mother swoons with sorrow. He goes on his quest, frees and restores the Wasteland: the streams flow again, marriages are consummated and the earth fructifies. See also note 3 (C) to page 208 above.

additional notes

DJ note 1: The ‘windy tree’ from which Odin hangs as part of his quest to discover or make the runes (which he can now read) is often identified with the world tree Yggdrasil by commentators. The entire scene, the sacrifice of a god to himself, the execution method by hanging the victim on a tree, and the wound inflicted on the victim by a spear, is often compared to the crucifixion of Christ as narrated in the gospels.


More mythological references to Christ. Redeeming the world, like creating the runes, or even gaining a pearl (margaron) of great price (Matthew 13:45-46) costs ‘not less than everything’.

For ‘freeing the waters’ see page 207.

semantic structures