The Crone and the Maiden

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for Idril

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At Avebury, on Solstice eve, a crone and a maiden sat

The crone wore a weary wisdom, and the maid wore a flowery hat

And as the sun sank ‘neath the hill, and the sky flushed rosy red

The maid, her eyes all full of flame, turned to the crone and said

‘I know nothing of love, speak to me, of marrying, and men

How will I know if I lie with a man, that he’ll come to me again

How will I know if I lie with him, that his heart be faithful and true

They say that the crone knows everything, so tell me, tell me do’

The crone put down her weaving, sighed a little, thought, and spoke

‘How do you know that the bees will buzz, or the wren will sing in the oak

How do you know that the night will flee, or the birds fly free on the morn

As sure as you know that the sun will rise, and the stones be here at dawn’

‘That isn’t an answer,’ said the maid, ‘I want more certainty

How will I know that he speaks the truth when he lies down with me

How will I know by the look in his eye, or the touch of his hand on my breast

Whether he be the man for me, and king above all the rest’

‘You won’t,’ said the crone, ‘you’ll never know, ‘tis up to fate and chance

‘Tis biology, mystery, fantasy, a curse, and a merry dance

Just drink of the wild heat of him, while fire still burns in the sky

For men will come and go, my dear, all suns will fade and die’

The maiden sighed a little, and the crone a little too

‘It seems like only yesterday that I was a maid like you

With oak and roses in my hair, and eyes all full of flame’

‘Best get some in,’ the maid said

‘Ay,’ the crone said, ‘that’s the game’

At Avebury, on Solstice eve, a crone and a maiden sat

The maid wore a little wisdom, and the crone wore the maiden’s hat

And time passed by in a wheel of stars, till dark gave way to the dawn

And the sun rose pink upon the hill, and the king rode in on the morn

*

© Gail Foster 17th June 2017

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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