A timely, contributed poem

I’m so delighted to provide Marjorie Anderson space for her lovely poem, a piece of work that set our Creative Writing class a-tingle last term. This poem, for me, develops the whole sense of the year ahead, and the year that’s gone, in the context of where, precisely, we live together. Thanks so much, Marjorie, for the effort and the presentation, and this moving poem. I hope I can manage to gather it together well in this continuing intermittent blog.


THIRTEEN LUNAR MONTHS AND ONE NAMELESS DAY


UIL-IOK - THE NAMELESS DAY

December 23rd

On orchard trees Mistletoe gleams greenish white.
Hardy black coated Dale’s ponies shelter
patiently awaiting their daily gift of fodder.
Just an occasional flick of a tail.

****************************************************************
BETH – BIRCH
December 24 – January 20


Lady-of-the –woods
tenuously rooted in shallow soil
sweet sap unrisen in lacy branches
rods to beat the bounds
banish the spirits of the old year.
You silver the dark day with your grace
remind us of the sun’s rebirth.
A bay filly picks her delicate way through the copse
where, dormant in green turf,
wound-healing daisies sleep.

**************************************************************** 
LUIS – ROWAN
January 21 – February 17


Strongly rooted, bereft of scarlet crown
and ringed with snowdrops,
Rowan guards the darkening day.
A mile away I see a white horse
standing in a meadow
at Candlemas.

**************************************************************** 
NION – ASH
February 18 – March 17


I am the world tree. I span heaven and earth.
In groves on grassy knolls my branches lean inwards
to protect the sacred space, portal into another realm.
See my tight black spiral buds
opening late into leaf.
Listen to the dry rustle of my keys beneath your feet.
Roan gelding, eager to gallop like the wind
across an endless plain, tosses his head,
takes off at a canter around his tiny field
where windflowers grow.

****************************************************************
FEARN – ALDER
March 18 – April 14


Peaty waters reflect alder catkins.
On stick thin shaky legs
a piebald foal shelters at his mother’s side
breathing in the sleepy scent of golden broom.

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SAILLE – WILLOW
April 15 - -May 12


Grey mare sallies forth bearing
Queen of the May
Dressed all in white, flowers in her hair
where ritual dancers weave the magic pattern 
and the Beltane fire is lit again.
Below a bank of primroses
willow branches move with grace in the gentle breeze
enclosing the space where lovers lie unseen.

**************************************************************** 
UATH –HAWTHORN
May 13 – June 9


Never bring indoors my branches
smothered in heavy-scented creamy blossom.
Below the May tree a man speaks salvation
to hundreds drinking in his every word.
Bearing symbolic trefoil of leaves
wood sorrel flowers where his sorrel steed grazes,
grateful for this pause in saving the whole world.

****************************************************************
DUIR – OAK
June 10 – July 7


Summer turns at the high solstice. 
Skittish dun colt tramples his golden flower
nestling beneath the mighty oak,
which, like the ash,
courts the lightning flash.
So carve a quartered circle, protect the tree
that makes strong doors to keep out evil.
Strong doors to keep out evil.

****************************************************************  
TINNE – HOLLY
July 8 – August 4

Lammastide. Earth-mother reigns supreme
over games and sport and marriage.
A chestnut brood-mare avoids the prickly hedge
to walk among the sweet meadow flowers
balm for pierced fingers
beaded with blood-drop berries.
Bridewort broadcasts her heady scent.
Strewn meadowsweet softens
the hard boards of the bride-chamber floor.

****************************************************************       

COLL – HAZEL
August 5 – September 1


Nine years in the making
pale green trinity of cob nuts lies hidden
among my divining branches.
Lay my shiny brown kernel in the palm of your hand
and wonder.
Holding all wisdom, it is all that is made.
The tawny cob nuzzles the treasure
fallen beneath his feet.

****************************************************************
MUIN - VINE
September 2 – 29


I stand In Autumn sunshine,
absorbed in gathering blackberries,
so beloved by the wasps
that sting the unwary.
They say brambles belong to the faeries,
but I will transform my sweet black berries
into jam and puddings
and heady wine for cold winter days.
I turn at a slight sound to see
calm brown eyes of three Dale’s ponies
gazing at me 
hopefully awaiting a gift.

****************************************************************
GORT – IVY
September 30 – October 27


Ivy’s tenacious tendrils 
invade my boundary wall , evergreen.
Bittersweet scarlet berries of woody nightshade,
healing and harmful, brighten the autumn day. 
The skewbald yearling whinnies
as he greets me at the gate.

**************************************************************** 
NGETAL - REED
October 28 – November 24


Once my poisoned arrows flew the swiftest
and in great armfuls I was cut to thatch your homes.
Endings and new beginnings at Samhain.
These are the days when we honour our dead,
a time of bittersweet remembrance and letting go.
Fine black horses, their heads tossing black plumes
once formed the funeral cortege.
Horseless carriages now take their place.
The destination is the same.

****************************************************************
RUIS – ELDER
November 25 – December 22


The sun stands still.
Golden rays penetrate deep into the cave,
And funnel through pierced holes in rock.
Pick my last berries with solemn rites,
be warmed by my heavy wine
and dream the dark days away.
(May no nightmares disturb.)
Then prophesy, divine the future
and with my purple wine regenerate 
body and spirit 
of sacrificial victims.

************************************************************ 
UIL-IOK - THE NAMELESS DAY
December 23


Just an occasional flick of a tail.
Patiently awaiting their daily gift of fodder
hardy black coated Dale’s ponies shelter..
On orchard trees Mistletoe gleams greenish white.

**********************************************************  
Marjorie Anderson

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