Burning Angels; Winter Solstice, 2017

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for the Druids of Avebury, and my muse

*

So many kings of old have come to me

At midnight, in the winter, at the still

In crowns of holly, clothed with mystery

Come riding proudly down from yonder hill

With torches flaming, salamander eyes

Ablaze with ancient summers full of lust

And I have had them all within my thighs

And I have turned them all to ice and dust

Except for he who keeps my fires alight

When darkness falls too deep to understand

Who lies with me all winter, till the night

Recedes, and spring returns to seed the land

With him I make, beneath the mistletoe

The burning shapes of angels in the snow

*

© Gail Foster 16th December 2017

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Kittens

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*

I’ve never even touched a man, she said

And now I’m old most likely never will

I’ve never really understood the thrill

Or felt the need to take a man to bed

Perhaps it was the way that I was bred

But just the thought of kissing makes me ill

I may have missed a trick, perhaps, but still

I’ve read, and had my animals instead

A man had loved her once, he came to call

With chocolates, and roses, pink and red

She didn’t like the smell of him at all

And hit him with an axe till he was dead

And put him with the kittens, by the wall

Beside the baby birds, behind the shed

*

© Gail Foster 28th February 2017

The Light Is Not A Solemn Thing, It Shines

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for Sarah

*

The light is not a solemn thing, it shines

With merry glee and mirthful gentleness

Will not be held a hostage, in confines

Of darkened halls where little ones confess

The sins of fathers that they never chose

Nor be a slave to chapter, scripture, verse

Be boundaried, or fettered in its flows

It is the joy of blessing, not a curse

It isn’t how you said it was.  You lied

I ran, and left your lies behind the door

And here I am, and oh, the light is wide

Mysterious, and infinite, and more

A wildly wilful, free, and feisty thing

I wear a ribbon in my hair, and sing

*

© Gail Foster 26th February 2017

This sonnet was written for my friend Sarah, who left the Plymouth Brethren.  In accordance with the Brethren’s belief in the Doctrine of Separation, those who have left are no longer allowed contact with their friends or families.  In recent years former members have developed the custom of writing their loved ones’ names on yellow ribbons as a symbol of love and remembrance.

Waiting For You; The Return of the Light

Winter Solstice Sunrise 2016; Avebury, Wiltshire

*

I have waited for you

Where no shadow seeps

Deep in the earth

Where the slow damp creeps

Under the stones

Where the sunlight sleeps

I have waited for you

 …

I have listened for you

In the eaglet’s cry

In the echoes of rooks

In the empty sky

In a new-born’s breath

And a dead man’s sigh

I have listened for you

 …

I have looked for you

Where the elders grow

Followed your steps

Through the virgin snow

Through groves of yew

And mistletoe

Looking for you

I have watched for you

By the door and the gate

Risen up early

And lain down late

Doubted your love

And cursed my fate

Watching for you

 …

You said you would come

You said that you will

Appear as the dawn

On the curve of the hill

I have waited for you

Through the dark, and the still

You said you would come

 …

I lit you a fire

I kindled a flame

In the fear of the darkness

I called out your name

I thought I was dying

And then you came

You said you would come

 …

And here you are

The promise of light

Sweetening silence

And softening night

And all shall be well

And be blesséd delight

You said you would come

 *

© Gail Foster 21st December 2016

 

 

 

Crying for Light

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*

Be still, can you hear the drum, the drum

Hear it beat like a heart in the heavy night

Hold on to your soul, for the dead are come

To look to the living for light

Ashes and sulphur, blood on stone

Lavender, lilies, and roses blown

 …

Out of the mist, they come, they come

Through the slip of a stitch in the hazy veil

With their feet all bare, and their faces pale

The dead come, crying for light

 …

Lavender, lilies, and roses blown

Ashes and sulphur, blood on stone

 …

Out of the past they come, they come

From the shadowy halls of history

From the battlefield, and the hungry sea

The dead come, crying for light

 …

Ashes and sulphur, blood on stone

Lavender, lilies, and roses blown

 …

Out of the earth they come, they come

From the cold of the grave at midnight’s bell

From the harrowing heat of the fires of hell

The dead come, crying for light

 …

Lavender, lilies, and roses blown

Ashes and sulphur, blood on stone

 …

Out of the dark they come, they come

With their winding sheets and their cobweb hair

With their violent curses and innocent prayer

The dead come, crying for light

 …

Ashes and sulphur, blood on stone

Lavender, lilies, and roses blown

 …

Out of their minds they come, they come

Who are lost in the maze of space and time

Who are seeking the grace of a love sublime

The dead come, crying for light

 …

Lavender, lilies, and roses blown

Ashes and sulphur, blood on stone

 …

Be not a-feared when they come, they come

Be as still as you can, and touch them not

Show them the way to the light forgot

Love them, and let them be

 …

Be gone

In to the light they go, they go

To the glow at the end of the tunnel’s gloom

To the source of the scent of the rose’s bloom

In to the light they go

 *

© Gail Foster 30th October 2016

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Desist; a ghazal

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*

Shatter glass, spit out your bay, desist

Lustful dogs who bark and bay, desist

Cold as silver shadows list on stone

Sun’s last ray and heat of day desist

Oracles insist, and dead men know

Luck and fickle lovers may desist

Words upon the wind; I told you this

Take your magic, walk away, desist

Time to reap the harvest you have sown

Silence, let your mournful lay desist

Scry no more, lest death thy mirror kiss

Havoc, all the angels say, desist

Madness, this, to love by will alone

Yield the ghost, Felicia; pray desist!

*

© Gail Foster 2016