Original Art by Valerie Herron (

My name was a hushed wonder
scrubbed across hills,
with chalk symbols declaring my godhood
to the shimmering heavens.

Humans asked for my permission, and mine alone,
to feed off my cornucopia.
As an infant would suckle on their mother’s breast,
the juiciest apples, fertile land, healthy animals; everything.

But they worship at other altars now,
leaving me different offerings:

The Great Grey crawls closer, 
poured over the pulse of nature:
Fresh green, calm reds, and vibrant blues,
a new winter that’ll only end 
once everything I know has been flattened and rolled.

Where mighty pines once stood
now lies pried bark, their carcasses burst wide,
with sap flicked across the leaves, 
like stains left from a murder.

Though that isn’t the only gift they leave.

Cousin Deer and Brother Bull are long gone—
I found their heads screaming,
reddening the soil as they’re washed away,
a premature autumn, the birth of blood and tears.

Many drops of life were spent in my name.
But now, they are spilt to quicken my end—
a task bound by blood. 

Is this how all humans feel?

Before Christ, there was Cernunnos…

Cernunnos, the Horned Celtic God, lends his name and voice to my poem. In older days, he controlled the minds of men, who venerated him through prayers and sacrifice within the forests of Ancient Briton. Now, in a time of secular thought and industrialism, he’s forced to hide in constantly shrinking forests, lamenting over the losses of his allies, his land, his followers, and his power to control the minds of men. As he wonders about his future place in this hostile world, Cernunnos finally knows what its like to be human: Vulnerable, and fearful for the future.

Cernunnos was part of my Alpine Fellowship poetry submission in 2021, and unfortunately the submission as a whole did not make the cut. Instead of letting it languish with disuse, I’ve chosen to publish it here. However, it might be taken down in the future if it gets published, so read it NOW before it’s too late!

What do you think of this poem? Let me know in the comments below, or by liking this poem. Don’t be afraid of sharing your opinions!

© Thomas Gallimore Barker, 2021



One thought on “Cernunnos

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