Into the Gloaming

Late autumn hours fall,

the scent of decaying Oak leaves

mix’t with the fragrance of the mist

as it rises, curling from beds of moss

and gently swaying ferns.

A soft wind plays through the pines,

it bears the kennings

deep into the heart of the gloaming time.

Resounder, the One of the Streams, Hoary Beard.

 

We wait for the Stranger at the Door,

the light runs fast

pursued by dreams of the man on the gallows.

When he saw the carved bones in his hands

he fell to screaming.

Word from word,

deed from deed,

do you know the twelfth

that’ll cause the dead to speak?

 

Between this world and the next,

when the dreams and the hours become one,

can we find the strength to remember?

Remember when to quit the grazing ground,

remember to keep to the footpaths

and shun the highways,

remember to hang your clothes between two wooden stakes,

remember why the eagle weeps when it reaches the shore.

Remember the grinning wolf,

the grunting boar,

the dancing bear.

 

Does the moon still know it’s course through the sky?

Do leeks still grow from the green earth?

The sun grows dark and the world slips into forgetful sleep.

Like a fir tree,

limbless and charred,

where once under the roof of gold

and field unsowed.

Who will abide now

in the House of the Wind?

The old woman sits in the Ironwood

while murderers wade deep in the roiling water.

 

It goes hard on earth

when rootless trees stand

among the hail of reeds.

Keep the ancient promise

and travel with me through the mists of night.

Come resolute of horn,

the stalker on the moors.

Cliff-dweller,

Harvest-ruiner,

what the wolf left behind.

Cast your loss into a deep forest tarn,

and the crone of memory shall whisper to you

from its depths:

“Go back,”

“Go back,”

“There’s nothing here for you.”

 

Wolf-Hater,

The one who bends the gallows,

Go down into memory and knowledge

On ravens’ wings!

God of carved knucklebones,

Traveler to nine places only known

By the women of the Stinking Nightshade

Wand weavers, horse penis graspers,

The ones who wrap tattered rags

Around the agony twisted bones of winter-dead trees,

To pray to wells and fountains,

To the rich earth slime that bubbles and froths.

Bog-haunters, Fungus-belt wearers,

They are buried in wagons.

Troll-Wakers. Knot-tiers,

They weave while their husbands fight,

And bind the feet of the enemy with invisible hairs,

So he dies screaming in blood.

Fierce Seeress,

Whose staff manly hands should not touch,

You have your wand and thread,

I have my fists and mad eye.

I am hanged,

You sit on thrones.

Oak and holly,

run naked into the twilight forest.

Make the others remember why

they once feared the rustling leaves.

They will remember why

the shapes among the trees

haunted their sleep.

They think that those who rest

beneath the vines

are gone.

But they will see us again

under the shrieking moon.

They will feel the teeth,

the talons, the tusks.

The mists will swallow the world

and all will be forgotten.

 

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