A Lament at Mabon

I’ve found myself feeling very disconnected and aloof lately. What follows is a bit of wax-poetic rambling from earlier this evening as I sat among the trees to enjoy the energies of Mabon, and the rising of the Full Moon.

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“Princess of Cups” from The Druidcraft Tarot, artwork by Will Worthington

Once I knew the language of trees
How each rustling of their leaves
Could mean so much—if only one knew how to listen.

Once I had so much definition in just that one thing:
That I could see their faces and
Read their leafy lips as they blew in the autumn breezes.
And now it seems so foreign…
Have I been so long in this land of fluorescence and brick?
Have I been gone so long that I have forgotten
How sweet the melodies of the forest can be?

Now it fills my heart not with understanding
But with a melancholy longing
For that which once felt so familiar to me, no—
That which still feels familiar—
But only the familiarity of a dream
As though in the very throes of sleeping wonder
I’ve been wrested from it by mundane duty.
Ephemeral on the edges of my consciousness:
Like flickering of faery light,
And distant horns of hunters that roam the evening skies.

In my heart, with each pulsing of the blood that flows through my veins,
I feel it… an echo.
An echo of something deeper—and much more profound and yet:
In my waking consciousness, I cannot quite put finger on that which I have lived before.
The melody haunts my eardrums and yet I cannot quite put to fingertips—
Or lips—the profound tune that catches in the wind and then is gone.

Faintly, my mind’s eye remembers beauty which no photograph, no drawing—
No painstaking sketch could ever come close to imagining.
On the tip of my tongue, the faintest taste of something… something…
Always searching for that which I cannot in waking consciousness grasp.

With each falling leaf,
With each howl on the wind that seems to pierce my very soul…
I want to remember
I want to wake up
Back in the place where trees spoke and moonlight bled between the branches on inky nights…

There were nights when I would run
From phantom figures in the trees,
Where I swear I heard the hoof-beats harrying me along dirt paths…

There were nights, long ago, that seemed to go on forever,
Where the cold dark eyes of a vampire
Haunted me in my sleep,
Where deep and sorrowful melodies pulled me into a sense of ecstasy.

There nights when I could hear the goddess calling me in the mists,
Her silver light a comfort,
A crow to show me the way…

And yet, now…

I cannot feel more than mere glimmers of what had once been
There was a time when I had tasted of Cerridwen’s cauldron—
When I could see the way energy moved through the land—
So apparent to my sight, that I felt one with them.

And now…
I am so trapped in that webbing of wire and artificial light
That I find myself balking at the very notion of sitting in my own yard past sunset.

And yet
Here I am on the verge of dusk,
Staring, trembling, into the forest—
As if on this night of all nights
Something will come to me that will wake me from this madness

On this grassy marshland hill,
Perhaps I’ll find a wonder—or a wound…
Like blessed Pwyll, of Dyfed before me,
Perhaps my lady in white will come riding by to take me back to that place of understanding,
That place of oneness…

Perhaps the dark hunter will blow his horn
And carry me upon his steed and into the western winds.

Or perhaps,
I will have sat here, my heart broken open,
Only to return again tomorrow
To that endless drudgery of everyday life…

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Hymn to the Winter Hunt

Winter is nearing its end here as Imbolc approaches, but the howling snows that have returned to Michigan this week make me feel as though we’ve still some time to go. This poem was originally written for the winter issue of Ink & Fairydust, an e-zine of fanfiction, poetry, spiritual writings, and other various creative works. Being that it’s been out for some months, I wanted to finally share it here…

Hymn to the Winter Hunt

When the cold winds from the northwest blow,
When the moonlight casts its silver glow,
When the dark skies threaten snow
T’is then I hear their call.

It echoes through dark forest and fen-
A droning horn- and silence then
That makes the wary traveler ken
The truth behind the squall.

In the icy blasts of wind that cut
Through clothes and doors kept tightly shut
There is a pounding. Do you seek what
Lies out there in the thrall?

The Horned Man on rugged beast
That hunts the boar to make his feast
Or maybe like some darkened priest
Beckons you to heed the call.

To ride on winds above the ice,
To give the greatest sacrifice,
And surrender to that which does entice…
Are you ready for the fall?

Or perhaps, in swirling dark
You’ll fly just like a meadowlark
And find some light, a warming spark
Of truth behind it all.

Take heed, take heed oh you who go
To travel in the ice and snow
For hunters harry you as you go-
Death comes to us all.

Awen: The Three Rays of Light

Another re-posted poem from 2012. I’m still quite fond of this one. I can’t for the life of me remember the name of the style it is written in, only that I had a lot of fun with it in high school. Something to research, perhaps…

Awen: The Three Rays of Light

Awen, the Three Rays of Light
Divine radiance shines in all beings.
Hear it, see it, feel its presence.
The wisdom was carved on Rowan staves.

Divine radiance shines in all beings
Discovered by the giant, Einigen
The wisdom was carved on Rowan staves.
Menw discovered the staves in Einigen’s skull.

Discovered by the giant, Einigen
Menw taught the Druids the lore
Menw discovered the staves in Einigen’s skull.
The rays are spirit, inspiration, and illumination.

Awen, the Three Rays of Light
Menw taught the Druids the lore
The rays are spirit, inspiration, and illumination.
Hear it, see it, fell its presence.

The Battle of the Oak & Holly Kings

A repost of a poem I wrote many years ago and had published on my old blog, The Raven & The Oak.

The Battle of the Oak and Holly Kings

A rivalry
Many centuries old
Since ancient times,
The tales were told
Of two great kings,
One dark, and one light,
Who twice a year,
Would heroically fight.
The Holly King,
The darker one,
Ruled the Winter,
The dimming Sun.
While the King of Oak,
Was vibrant and bright.
He reigned over Summer,
The Sun’s growing light.
At Yule they would battle,
‘Twas  an inspiring scene,
And the victory would go
To the mighty Oak King.
But at Midsummer’s time,
With the Sun at its peak,
The Holly King would win,
The Oak King grew weak.
And so it went on,
Year after year,
And the story was told
To all who could hear.
So, honor the Oak King in Summer,
When the Sun’s light is warm,
And the Holly King in winter
And the swirling snow storms.

Collected Poems of the Wylde Hunt

Below are a number of poems I wrote, mostly on my older blog, about the Wylde Hunt. I thought I’d share them all here!

The Hunter’s Horn

Can you hear the Hunter’s Horn,

Sounding in the forest deep?

Can you hear the pounding of hooves

When night creeps in and people sleep?

In the dark night can you feel

That rush of wind- that fleeting chill?

Standing in the night-time wood

What will be his latest kill?

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Image found here.

The Hunters’ Chase

Tripping o’er the roots and stones,

Slipping in the mud and scattered leaves I run-

The horde thundering after me.

Heart pounding in rhythm with their drums

I carry on through darkened forests deep

Horns and bays of hounds

Tear through the trees after me.

Silver slivers the moonlight glimmers down

Through barren branches

Lighting there upon the path

Leading me deeper.

Drum beats faster

The flight continues.

Will I live or will I die?

Hunter’s horn is sounding closer

Behind, I hear their haunting cry,

But won’t look back now o’er my shoulder

Won’t turn around; I cannot stop

The pounding rumbles; it’s all I hear

They plan to chase until I drop.

Thrilling ever is the chase

That leads I know not where.

But were I to lose this frenzied race

What things would

Meet me

There?

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Image found here.

Call of Herne

Hazy-eyed dreamer

You long to be

In the tangled wood

Amongst the trees

To feel the pulse

The forest’s charm

That pounding, that burning

The hunters’ drums

Starry-eyed poet

Arise! Awake!

The Hunter calls you

Your future to take!

Lose yourself

To the wild, the thrall

Join the riders

And the squall

Curious wanderer

You’ve come too far

Can you still see

Those distant stars?

Forget the path

The way you came

Join us now

Where there is no shame

Hazy-eyed dreamer

In your gaze I see:

Your fate is set

You belong with me.

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Asgårdsreien (1872) by Peter Nicolai Arbo

Whispers of the Autumn Court

You’ve heard us your whole life

That raspy whispering from the trees that beckons and tells you

You’re one of us…

You were afraid once

The unknown darkness overwhelmed you

Above all sense of truth you found in our words.

So we waited

Our eyes boring holes in your soul

Holes that would open into gaping wounds as you struggled

Desperately to find answers to your own darkness that came

Flowing out in roaring waves, crashing and cascading

Until you could see now in dazzling horror

The darkness that dwelt within.

The path gone before you, you stumbled into our realms.

Ours was the world of dankness and seeping chill

Of rot and decay beneath the vibrant greens

Of flash-fire autumns that gave way quickly to winter’s barren bones.

Your fingers clawed in the earth

The hoof beats of hunters drew near- a sense of foreboding you had not yet learned to hear.

You’re one of us, we told you…

Renewed strength- or was it adrenaline?- you ran

Thorny branches tearing limbs and cloth,

Thick roots tripping, ripping foot and calf and shin

The horns bellowed, the hunter rode fast

And you clung to the gleaming lights that sometimes came down from the trees

Baying hounds harried you, close to brink of exhaustion

We called out: Do not fear! Do not run!

For you are just as we are.

Escalating into a clamorous cacophony the chase of hound and hunter grew closer, closer…

Until you found yourself in the hunter’s arms

Pressed against his chest as darkness drew in around you

And in his embrace you saw us clearly

Glowing eyes blinking under tree and fern

We are darkness and dampness

We are nibblers at bone and gnawers of flesh

We are decay and rot, flash-fire brightness and brittle shells

We are hunters and slinkers in dank forest shadows

Rooted deep in the mysteries of death and decay

And the last breaths of life

Fascinating and undeniably terrible…

And you

Are one of us…

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Image found here.

Return of the Wylde Ones

Stained in shades of bloody red and orange rust

The leaves drift down silently

Beneath the squall of crows-

Hidden in the occasional thud! of fallen acorns-

Something is awakening.

The air is scented with death,

The smell of rotting leaves, moist in the dark soil.

The breeze brings chill,

Moans through branches growing ever more barren

The insects have turned into their silent places-

No cicadas or crickets to be heard anymore.

As I stand in the wooded grove,

The quiet of the forest

And shimmering last rays of golden sun

Wrap me in their embrace.

Peace can be found here, but something lingers

A bitter taste on the air of something yet to appear.

The wind dies, the silence occasionally punctuated by another

Thud! Snap!

More nuts and twigs falling to the forest floor…

The darkness settles, and I sense what had slumbered there begin to awake.

Glimmering, coal-black eyes peering from roots and mushrooms

A teeming of life that had been hidden

In the radiance of the daylight’s fading gold.

These were the wild ones.

The creatures of folktale and legend,

Those our mothers would warn us of.

They watch me with a curiosity,

Resting there in the dark amongst the trees.

But something else is coming

Another force approaches…

At first they are dull, hardly distinguishable from the pattering of acorns

But then, it registers on the edges of my awareness:

Hoof beats coming from the deeper trees

The Hunt has come to ride again.

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Image found here.

Riding With the Hunt
The leaves above me rustle and whisper, glints of golden sunlight filtering through an opulent canopy of orange and gold. Now and then, a creature scurries by in the undergrowth and fallen leaves. Though the sun is setting quickly, there is a certain sense of peace in the quiet of the woods. The winding ravine paths lead me to the edge of a jagged cliff, looking down into the tumbling depths where a river once flowed. A gust of wind catches my jacket and scarf, laughing, almost threatening to send me over the edge on which I stand. That’s when I catch it: the subtle drone on the breeze, as if a horn was being blown off in some distant part of the wood.

Stillness follows. Branches creak, almost from the burden of motionlessness- as if the very act of remaining still for too long will cause their limbs to weaken and break. Acorns fall with quiet thuds as the muteness creeps in. A lone whisper of a breeze blows past my ear: “You are one of us… Come and ride amongst our ranks…” With a smile, I nod, closing my eyes and allowing myself to be carried away.

In the arms of hunters, I soar over the crimson wood. Further up, I can see the Grand River as it cuts through the forested landscape, carving its way towards the city and beyond. My stomach turns in the way it might on a rollercoaster. We tumble through autumn breeze and storm cloud, laughing in the madness of it all. First a burst of icy fog, then a swirl of leaves caught from a tree nearby, leaping into darkened damp masses of cloud that rumble at our touch. Then, as suddenly as it began, I am plunging downward again, careening towards the forest and the ravines from which I had risen. We fall down, down through branches both barren and gilded, down past barky trunk and forest creature and into the depths of soily crag and dampened slope.

My consciousness returns to my physical form with a gasp. Eyes wide, I see that darkness has fallen around me. The ghostly whispering breeze blows gently past. In its wake, leaves scuttle ‘round my feet, muttering a raspy farewell. For now, I must leave the realm of root and rot, of moss and bark, for the land of brick and steel. I know, however, that this place will be awaiting my return…

A Whispered Return

You know me by the redd’ning leaves-
That touch of ice in the dawn.
Your every inch of being stills
In that brisk moment of my gaze- then… gone.
Ragged breath from ragged creature drawn-
Sharp.
In the knowing that my time is nearing,
And is that lustful anticipation or fearing that
Comes with the end of Cicada’s song?
You know that when the sunlight weans
I will ride in windy throng.
And each falling acorn in that clearing
Staccato.
Startling.
…Calm,
Draws you, begs you, calls you on-
To rest there on silken, fallen leaves.
Lie your head upon the moss-
For I am the truth the forest breathes,
He who in those shadows sees,
The whispered name amongst the trees,
The tingling in your spine that knows:
The Hunter comes again to call.