Mother Autumn

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for Anna

and for Rosemary, Joan, and Janette

*

I see my Mother, now the swans have flown

As summer falling sweetly from the vine

In fading shades of blossom turned to wine

In seas of corn from seeds of springtime grown

I sense her in the scents of roses blown

In twilight glades as day and night entwine

At sunrise, in the mist of morning’s shine

On drops of blood of berries on the stone

I see my Mother, standing on the hill

Beneath Orion as he turns the year

I see her grieve for me all winter till

The new born leaves and flowers reappear

As I will, Mother, as I always will

Return to where I came from, Mother dear

*

© Gail Foster 22nd September 2017

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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

 

 

 

Here, Again; The Autumn Equinox

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This poem was written for the Avebury Gorsedd; 24th September 2016

for everyone who was there, and for those who were not…

*

I’m here, again…

Come riding in, upon the western wave

My hair all wove with golden leaves, my breast

As pale as moonlight on a hidden grave

And all the sins of summer long confessed

I come, again…

In sweeping skirts, with white swan feathers strewn

To brush the summer dust from weary grass

Make ash of aspen, damp the flame of noon

Before the frost freeze water into glass

I bring, to you…

Windfallen apples, berries from the hedge

Long shadows on the barrows, and the chalk

Wild winds to stir the willows and the sedge

And mist, and myth, down every path you walk

I’m here, again…

The promise of the harvest to fulfil

The energy of autumn, streaming through

The swirling springs that spiral round the hill

To drench the land in red and russet hue

I come, again…

Between the longest day and shortest night

To fill the blood and marrow of your bones

With all the orange glory of the light

Before the dark descend upon the stones

I bring, to you…

A cornucopia of ripened fruit

Dark juices of the vine in bottles bright

To nourish soul and body, to transmute

Your thought to dream, your dream to second sight

For I am She…

Am Autumn writ, in every field and tree

Am mistress of the Owl and running Hare

So yield unto my kiss, and blesséd be

And dance with me, oh Druid, if you dare…

 *

@ Gail Foster 23rd September 2016

 

Casting Stuff On the Waters

*

He cast a crouton on the water

Watched it sog upon the swell

What came back was lava bread

And Chelsea buns as well

She threw in an expensive cake

‘Twas softer than a futon

But what came back upon the waves

Was just a soggy crouton

© Gail Foster 2016

She Comes

Silbury Spring

A rhyme written for the Spring Equinox

and the Gorsedd of the Bards

at Avebury, Wiltshire

*

For all the night she trod the furrowed earth

As she has walked all winter in her wake

In seeking for the child she brought to birth

The maiden bride whom Hades chose to take

The gibbous moon is waxing to the bright

And shedding shifting shadows on the lands

One single moonbeam spills down through the night

Upon the rutted earth on which she stands

Made heavy by the weight of mother’s tears

The ground beneath her feet begins to yield

The imprint of a child’s foot appears

Emerging from the darkness of the field

The dawn is tinting grey the silken skies

The lifting mist moves gulls to take the air

She swears she hears these words within their cries

She comes, she comes, she comes, is nearly there…

Around the hill of Silbury swirl the springs

From many sources meeting there as one

Upon the fence a bardic blackbird sings

His songs of seasons ended and begun

The heron stands in wait down by the brook

The willows’ leaves weave rills upon the stream

The cormorant is fishing for the rook

Whose shadow shapes a fish from daybreak’s gleam

From alder trees drip drops of ancient dew

Like shining crystals, in to waters deep

The grey of morn becomes a brighter blue

New lambs are woken from the dark womb’s sleep

A muffled drumbeat pounds within her bones

Thrills through her feet and trembles in her chest

Draws from four corners people of the stones

To stand and lay the winter to his rest

Can it be so, she thinks, that she will come

And willingly escape the thrall of Hades

Be called by this fast beating of the drum

To dance among the wild lords-and-ladies

The drum, the drum, the Druid in the East

The daylight shattering the glass of night

Behold the mead and cake that form the feast

Behold the glorious blessing of the light

The blazing gorse flames yellow on the hill

Bright shafts of sun surround the Druid’s head

She comes, she comes, my daughter liveth still

Released at last from fathoms of the dead

Her eyes are purple crocuses; her hair

Is woven through with wood anemones

She shocks the eyes, her presence is so rare

And strong, as hyacinths upon the breeze

She wears the sun a-shimmer on her dress

In folds of drops of snow and celandines

And, as befits she with the power to bless

Comes riding on a stag of seven tines

She speaks unto the awed and silent crowd

“I come” she says “I bring the fire of life

I come to cast my seeds on fields ploughed

To quell your hunger and relieve your strife

I bring you daylight from the depths of hell

Where I with Hades am forever wed

Of Christ and Dionysus I shall tell

In sacred stories of the risen dead”

The crowd are stunned to silence, robbed of breath

She came, she came, brought winter to his knees

Defied the dreadful tide of dark and death

To bless the ground with shoots, and trees with leaves

The ancient Druid offers up the cup

The wine of her libations there to sip

He bows his head, as down she stoops to sup

And touch the cup upon her rosy lip

And with this act the sunlight floods the sky

The spell is broken by the touch of earth

And Demeter runs forward with a cry

To hold the maiden that she brought to birth

The seasons come, the seasons go, and all

Shall rise and fall and fade and reappear

And Spring shall once more answer to the call

Of Hades at the dying of the year

But here, by mother love and heat of day

Persephone is made a child again

To run upon the hills; to dance and play

And plant her flowers in the world of men

*

© Gail Foster 2016

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Solstice Door

The light is coming… and I wish you well

*

The Solstice Door

*

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…

*

by Gail