Crafted Recordings Podcast Episode 15: Like A Dragon Newly Woken

©2017 Crafted Recordings. Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0).

A Love Song To Sacred Wild Water

This episode came together out of love and gratitude. Quite literally, the piano music by Zoë Knight comes directly from a love song, and provides the musical structure of this episode. In working with the elements, my favorite Water devotional practice is gathering my own drinking water at a spring near my home, where the cleanest, most refreshing water I’ve ever tasted flows like love from the ground. I recorded the sounds of the spring (and a water blessing) on one of my recent trips, and it’s a perfect sonic backdrop for this episode.

The brilliant “Like A Dragon Newly Woken” poetry & performance narrative comes from Guests of the Earth, a performance group in the UK consisting of Nicolas Guy Williams, Peter Dillon, and Gods & Radicals writer Lorna Smithers. They were kind enough to send me an original sound recording of their performance by Terry Quinn.

The music in this episode is piano and vocalizations written & performed by Zoë Knight, with bass, guitar, drums, spring field recordings, production, and mixing by James Lindenschmidt. Sound recording ©2017 Crafted Recordings. Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0).


NOTE: It’s best to think of this episode as a guided meditation. Set aside some time (13 minutes), and do whatever you can to maximize your listening experience with the best sound system you have access to. Nice speakers or headphones usually provide a better listening experience than earbuds or phone/laptop speakers. If you like, you can follow along with the words (reproduced below).

This episode is dedicated with love and gratitude to the Aquifers and Water Protectors across the planet.


Like A Dragon Newly Woken

Red River Rushing

by Nicolas Guy Williams

deep in the heart ran the rusting river red earth mother rushing //
under bridge leaping stone past old dripping wood bones //
carrying the water out to far ocean earth bearing shoulder touching the knowing //

cold as a whisper over grass leaping twilight ground keeping //
hard the rain’s weeping stand upon cloud drenched land moans //
deep in the heart ran the rusting river red earth mother rushing //

through city’s soul shivers drenched by the cleansing //
left handed path bouncing and bounding echo of rain on glass making tones //
carrying the water out to far ocean earth bearing shoulder touching the knowing //

the mud brown sliver shivering river bed broken and hushing //
ocean’s demand to break over land like ice creaking over glacial stones //
deep in the heart ran the rusting river red earth mother rushing //

through moist eye surface oh come hither dry wither cease thy shivering //
upon soaked sand ending dry land’s hold upon songs long forgotten by the wisdom of crones //
carrying the water out to far ocean earth bearing shoulder touching the knowing //

the feet of old mister dark coat floating memory of boating //
through hardship unplanned by death and the sound of ships and their bones //
deep in the heart ran the rusting river red earth mother rushing //
carrying the water out to far ocean earth bearing shoulder touching the knowing

Spirit of the Aquifer

by Lorna Smithers, voiced by Lorna and Peter

In eighteen eighty four
a monolithic feat of engineering
shifts the Ribble’s course:
no water to the springs.

From the hill’s abyssal deep
a rumbling of the bowels,
a vexed aquatic shriek:
no water to the wells.

Breached within the chasm
a dragon lies gasping
with a pain she cannot fathom:
no water to the springs.

Water table reft
her giving womb unswells,
surging through the clefts:
no water to the wells.

Unravelling inside
her serpent magic streams
to join the angry tides:
no water to the springs.

Culverted and banked
her serpent powers fail,
leaking dry and cracked:
no water to the wells.

The spinning dragon-girl
tumbles from her swing
and slips to the underworld:
no water to the springs.

Her spirit will not rise
through the dead and empty tunnels,
disconsolate we cry:
no water to the wells.

The hill, no longer healing
stands broken of its spell,
no water to the springs,
no water to the wells.

Four Wells

by Lorna Smithers, voiced by Peter and Nick

Four wells at Little Plumpton.
Four wells at Roseacre.
Four wells in the darkness
between drilling and decision.

Four wells of steel meets shale.
Four wells boring into the mind.
Four wells of screaming poison.
Four wells of deadly sands of time.

Four wells? A gaseous question
scorches ears of invisible skies.
Four wells? An uneasy whisper
from underworld gods.

Four wells to decide the future.
Four wells of choice. Four wells of trembling.
By word on four wells our land
will be saved or destroyed.

Drill Rig

by Nicolas Guy Williams, voiced by Nick and Lorna

it is like a metal horse
eating the earth
that drill
stood still
and chewing
through layers of my stone skin

it is like a robot mosquito
sucking the earthblood
that drill
stood still
and sucking
through the veins of my flesh

it is like a metal tick
consuming the lifeforce
that drill
stood still
and feeding
all bloated on the stuff of my soul

it can’t hear me screaming
it can’t hear me screaming
it can’t hear me shout
it can’t hear me shout
it can’t hear its poison
it can’t hear its poison
dissolving me out
to a gas not worth breathing
it’s burning
it’s burning
i’m screaming
i’m screaming
its waste is my doubt

Anti-fracking Soliloquy

by Nicolas Guy Williams, voiced by Peter

the time of winter’s love does come
upon the hearth and on the stone
it creeps in moss and through the trees
the portal of the dead to see
the whispering wind doth stretch its hand
to claim the passion of the land and thus
curl around lost summer’s leaves
to shake the branch the sun to breathe
and pierce the bones of all the folk
of forest fell of hill and mount
the love of ice the love of frost
whose cold caress creeps in the dark
around the house around the hill
the rivers rise the rain comes down
the sun grows pale the moon demands
that earth to cold doth turn its hand
but summer spirit seeks still its turn
the air may learn the air may learn
that by the hand of man and sun
the atmosphere alerts
as do the chemicals in the earth
and now they seek
oh yes they seek
to gather more unto the bleak
they seek to frack
the hypodermic toxic jack
and spill the winter’s love
but spring is strong inside our hearts
and the fight against fracking is our fire
as deep as our old sun
we start
in the love of winter
in the love of glistening mother earth
and from our heart we start

Proud of Preston

by Lorna Smithers

The voice of Belisama, goddess of the Ribble:

Proud of Preston heed my entry
Hear the call of ancient memories
Hearts purloined by Roman sentries
Like a river shining bright.

Proud of Preston born free traders
Made by commerce and hard labour
Merchants gilded artists favored
Like the Brigantes warred in tribes.

Mechanics shift the scene of battle
Raise the red brick smog industrial
Cording hearts like twisting material
On the wheels of the cotton lords.

Step the Chartists to the engines
Pull the plugs release the tension
The rioters face the sentries
Dye the river dark with blood.

Grey arise the business faceless
Fake fulfillment for the faithless
Mass the market for the tasteless
Selling life for capital.

High in the stone fortress
The sentries hold their rule
Beyond the mall and office
Do you hear a river call?

Proud of Preston I have carved you
In my sweeping spirit formed you
Through your veins floods dazzling water
My Setantii shining bright.

Will you hearken to my entry
Drown false dreams in ancient memories
Will the proud of Preston
Like a shining river rise?

The Activist Said

by Nicolas Guy Williams, voiced by Nick and Peter

… is like a bush-break-bead-bone born from what the hurricane missed

this oh so nonchalant idea of distance
sun seared so cerebral tone that crone-corn in the drying field a fist ferocious free fall frozen in street moments

gaze grown atonements of a prize-praised eye

oh so diligent in polite society

here is the bombchord the cold ordered class called

what pierceth earth doth pierceth heart like broken glass like broken glass

do i have to ask which Herculean task this voice must break over the record of a snake sneered volatile habit of wrong thought

ain’t no money-honey in the poor in the poor

and whilst virgin forest is persecuted for gold
whilst industry doth chemical-rape our innocent earth
and whilst bankuponbank can take from folk both home and hearth for their false wealth
we will live in the fierce dawn like that first fire
draw line-carved dont’s across their most hearted won’t-stops
and be in our strong silence stoic grim
where thought and voice are force are force
and revelation is a choice a choice

and stand on stone with stone born mind
with eyes that set their worlds on fire

like a dragon newly woken