Come Rise

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Written for the Gorsedd of the Bards; Avebury, England, Spring 2017

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Can you feel her in the blood

The turning tides, the shifting of the skies

Or hear her on the wind, or in the cries

Of gulls that wheel above the drying mud

Come rise…

Can you sense her in the urge

Of flames that lick the furze and lambs that leap

Of sap that rushes sudden from the deep

In swirls of sacred water in the surge

Come rise…

Can you feel her in the stone

The ancient fire, the spark of energy

The force that flows through river, rock, and tree

The movement of the marrow in the bone

Come rise…

Can you taste her on the lips

The heady scents of grass and honey wine

Of sun warmed earth and rain on celandine

Upon the tongue, upon the fingertips

Come rise…

Can you feel her in the beat

Of wing on air, of drum, of run of deer

Or see her colours on the hill appear

All blazing bright, alive with pulsing heat

Come rise…

What are you, man, but water through her hand

The winter’s ashes and the summer’s dust

A flick of life and then a flare of lust

Then back into the earth on which you stand

Come rise…

Be still, and feel her raw and naked power

Come forth as lightening, set the trees alight

Set hares to run and horses to take flight

Through alder grove and furrowed field in flower

Come rise…

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© Gail Foster 18th March 2017

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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

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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

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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

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© Gail Foster 30th October 2016

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Suddenly

 

The dead go down violently, suddenly, silently

Down in the drown of the deep

The born rise up hopefully, suddenly, quietly

Rise from the depths of their sleep

The night will fall dreadfully, suddenly, softly

Fall on the land in a heap

The day shall jump joyfully, suddenly, gently

Jump with a quickening leap

Let the darkness dawn mournfully, suddenly, slowly

Dark on the flood and the seep

For the light shineth endlessly, suddenly, subtly

Bright on the rivers we weep

 

by Gail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rosemary’s Funeral

Mother’s Day is an emotional time, especially for folk who no longer have their Mums around. My mother is long gone, bless her. She died at this time of year, in 1990. I wrote this last year for Mother’s Day, and the coming of Spring. It’s actually a celebration of her so no need for tears.

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My mother’s coffin on the bier, up the cobbled steps to St. Mary’s church. My babe folded warm to my breast. Green turf on the hill and the early cry of lambs upon the Plain. Warm breath, warm wind, the knell of an ancient bell, solemn steps up to the sacred temple, dedicated to His mother, The Mother, all mothers, my mother.

For Spring is a dying in itself. My child stirs. She waited for him before her passing. I pressed him to her breast as she lay dying, her window open, bright gifted daffodils a-stirring on the sill. I took a photograph and have it still. My mother, blessed in her helplessness, still fierce in her humility, with a twinkle in her eye, a warm smile and her only grandchild in her arms.

Funeral over and back in the light my son and I await new life.

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by Gail

Let Me In

 

Knock, knock, who’s there, and art thou friend or foe?

Why knockest thou at this ungodly hour?

I am the Light, whose face and word you know

I bring you sheaves of blossom trees in flower

So many moons have passed since we last met

How shall I know that it is really you?

I am the Light no darkness can forget

I bring you skies of bright and endless blue

Why comest thou, now I am nearly old

With fainting faith and blood flow slow and dry?

I am the Light, returning as foretold

I bring you Life, to raise you true and high

How glad am I, to see you at my door

Come, cast your crazy sunbeams on my floor

 

by Gail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blossom Rising

On the deaths of Major John Cairns Bartholomew, of Wadworthshire,

and a much loved Devizes tree…

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Beneath a grey and monumental sky

In wild confetti clouds that dance in air

The blossom falls, all trees and men will die

However good, or beautiful, or rare

For years beneath the branches of that tree

Have lovers kissed and lonely mourners waited

All men and trees shall die, he, thee, and me

By that same force destroyed and yet created

The clattering of horses’ hooves, the sound

Of yeoman passing, ghosts that haunt the ears

All trees and men be gone into the ground

Till from the light new word of life appears

In red Victorian brick and petal glow

Are strength and beauty blended for our eyes

Good men and trees in season come and go

Such knowledge is the glory of the wise

Drink with your eyes each bright delight you see

And savour every moment of creation

For man will pass, and wind will fell the tree

And wine will fall on coffins in libation

If blood still flows like sap, then drain your glass

Enjoy the fleeting sunbeam in your ale

All trees and men will die, for all things pass

All moonlight fade, and colours turn to pale

Let hops be gathered, make of sunshine, hay

Add rosebuds, and ferment a heady brew

For trees and men shall certain pass away

As dark of midnight shadows summer’s blue

And soon enough, last orders will be rung

Sad flags will flutter half way up the mast

And dark laments for men and trees be sung

And rest be found for dear old souls at last

Learn wisdom, child, from ale and wood and bone

Brew love in barrels down in cellars deep

And find it there when you return, alone

To watch the man in blossom rise from sleep

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by Gail

The Solstice Door

The light is coming… and I wish you well

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The Solstice Door

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Behind the running, running man the land

Lies silent, fallow, haunted by the cry

Of one lone mourning rook who flies alone

Inscribing solemn circles in the sky

There is no time to take a backward look

Just running, running, running, running blind

He leaves the flowered garlands that she wove

With ribbons bright, with summer’s love, behind

He runs with only hope in empty hands

All faint of heart, with life blood running cold

The chill of winter earth beneath his feet

All water turned to ice in frozen fold

All out of breath with minutes yet to live

He runs, through elder grove and stand of yew

Runs, seeking for the ancient Solstice door

Described in tales the bards and ancients knew

 ‘Till suddenly he stumbles on a glade

All silent where no wild bird wheels or calls

And in the glade there stands a single stone

And on the ground a moon dark shadow falls

And there, within the shadow’s light he sees

That which before him other men have found

A stairway leading down in to the earth

A dark descending path in to the ground

No way but down now, this the only way

He gathers one last breath, and full of fear

Goes down the old and foot worn ancient steps

That lead towards the portal of the year

How dark the endless steps of winter’s stair

That shadow down, down to the Solstice door

To where, beneath the door a chink of light

Hints soft and bright across the cold stone floor

He sits upon the bottom step to rest

Reflect, and contemplate the year behind

And lo, she comes, bedecked in leaves and fruit

And dancing, dancing, through his weary mind

Forget me not, she sings; I am still here

I wait for you, for life to shift and stir

And through the keyhole and the chink there blows

A fragrant waft of birch and silver fir

Reviving, blessing, soft upon his face

The promise of new life upon her breath

Touched by her grace he weeps upon the step

For she has saved him with her love from death

Another year dies, another lives

He sits and waits; she watches from afar

And as he waits the light in darkness shifts

And creaks the ancient Solstice Door ajar…

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by Gail