Fly on Whitened Wing – a poem for Dziuginte Stickbait

oh fly on whitened wing
you whose breast does redly stream;
you with fiery streaks for all
whose devotion shows no seam.

lift the load and haul the cart
guard the gate and fight the foe
teach the weary ones to be empower’d
show the haughty where to go

build the wall and mend the roof
start the fire and tend the flame
lead the lost to the right path
help the sure to do the same

cut the wood and smooth the grain
plow the ground and sow the seed
raise the humble to their heights
grow the little to great deeds.

 

This was written on the way to Twelfth Night where I knew Dziuginte
was going to receiving her well-deserved Pelican. I wrote this while I flew down to the event, inspired by all that I have seen her do, and the endless, untempered cheer she wears as she does it. (Except when she’s crying at my singing…and even then she’s usually smiling too.) I read this to her at her Vigil.

For Burns Night – Caledonia

I wanted to recite something for Burns Night, and honestly, fair reader, it seemed foolish even to me to sit in an empty kitchen, staring down a can of “Caladonian Kitchen Haggis” and recite a poem to the can, so I decided that if I was going to do so, I may as well share.

http://mbouchard.com/misc/Burns-Caladonia.mp3

So it’s not period, Burns Night. Not by long shot, but I like it, and so, wi’ a bottle o’ Scotch before me, and a full glass, I decided to read a Robert Burns piece tonight. The piece I chose is a song, and the tune is one more often used with Burns’ “Banks and Braes” and is usually recorded with that. (I get it, I like to write ditties to the “Maltese Bransle” so you know, pick a favorite.) So I decided to sing the song without words as a backdrop, and someday I’ll match them up together.

So, here, “Caledonia” by Robert Burns, the beloved Scottish poet, for Burns Night.

Caledonia by Robert Burns, 1789
Tune: “Caledonian Hunts’ Delight” of Mr. Gow

There was once a day, but old Time wasythen young,
That brave Caledonia, the chief of her line,
From some of your northern deities sprung,
(Who knows not that brave Caledonia’s divine?)
From Tweed to the Orcades was her domain,
To hunt, or to pasture, or do what she would:
Her heav’nly relations there fixed her reign,
And pledg’d her their godheads to warrant it good.

A lambkin in peace, but a lion in war,
The pride of her kindred, the heroine grew:
Her grandsire, old Odin, triumphantly swore, –
“Whoe’er shall provoke thee, th’ encounter shall rue!”
With tillage or pasture at times she would sport,
To feed her fair flocks by her green rustling corn;
But chiefly the woods were her fav’rite resort,
Her darling amusement, the hounds and the horn.

Long quiet she reigned; till thitherward steers
A flight of bold eagles from Adria’s strand:
Repeated, successive, for many long years,
They darken’d the air, and they plunder’d the land:
Their pounces were murder, and terror their cry,
They’d conquer’d and ruin’d a world beside;
She took to her hills, and her arrows let fly,
The daring invaders they fled or they died.

The Cameleon-Savage disturb’d her repose,
With tumult, disquiet, rebellion, and strife;
Provok’d beyond bearing, at last she arose,
And robb’d him at once of his hopes and his life:
The Anglian lion, the terror of France,
Oft prowling, ensanguin’d the Tweed’s silver flood;
But, taught by the bright Caledonian lance,
He learned to fear in his own native wood.

The fell Harpy-raven took wing from the north,
The scourge of the seas, and the dread of the shore;
The wild Scandinavian boar issued forth
To wanton in carnage and wallow in gore:
O’er countries and kingdoms their fury prevail’d,
No arts could appease them, no arms could repel;
But brave Caledonia in vain they assail’d,
As Largs well can witness, and Loncartie tell.

Thus bold, independent, unconquer’d, and free,
Her bright course of glory for ever shall run:
For brave Caledonia immortal must be;
I’ll prove it from Euclid as clear as the sun:
Rectangle-triangle, the figure we’ll chuse:
The upright is Chance, and old Time is the base;
But brave Caledonia’s the hypothenuse;
Then, ergo, she’ll match them, and match them always.

http://www.robertburns.org/works/251.shtml

 

Thanks to Ray and Andrea Sprague for the haggis! I think I’ll try to have a Birka Burns’ Night this weekend!

 

(Note: Oddly, just as I posted this, outside the wind chime began blowing and I just heard it give one of the middle phrases from this song, I swear on my life. Perhaps a sign that Mr. Burns approves. I’ll take it as such at least.)

A sonnet for the peace-King

The peace-King rules with gentle might –
this hand that bore the battle-sword –
from on the throne, all lands in sight,
brings joy to all who hear his word.

The richness of his people praised,
in graceful calm he does recline
as for their efforts they are raised –
he lifts their hearts, and they do shine.

How each is driven to excel
For this dear King who loves so well.

– a / 12/5/AS46

 

A small sonnet for my peace-King, in honor of his gracious support of those who love the arts, and especially for his naming of the Prince’s Bard of Tir Mara, an act which has touched many, feel. Syr Yssenge mentioned this as one of his favorite moments of the Tir Mara event: “AND, Diarmaid singing The Northern Star during court. I could hear people humming and beginning to sing along with him. I truly felt that we were our own Principality at that moment. We grew up a little more and towards our own identity more at that moment.”

The Sad Thistle

Once a to a thistle came a bee
which upon his stem alighted
to consort with blossoms sweet;
the thistle was delighted.

Said the thistle to the bee,
You fear not my greeny thorn,
It is plain that we could love
better than all others born.

I see you have a thorn yourself,
A maiden so protected
Could nestle in my filmy down
By prickles unaffected.

The bee she drank his nectar fine
Buzzing her wings in gentle song
Dancing her dance upon his leaves
Kissing blossoms the day long.

Swooning in the highland wind
The thistle felt his joy ignited
But as his petals slowly drained,
His love, alas, was unrequited.

With golden pollen now bedecked
the merry bee flew to her hive.
The thistle wept a milky tear
bereft of love and now deprived.

Young men and maids hear this tale
Love not those who do briefly tarry
Be not the longing thistle here
who too quick loves and is not wary.

Like flighty bee you should eschew
Who samples each and every flower
Armed with stinger near and sharp
to first seduce and then devour.

But in all loves be tempered true
For love will find you where you are.
Think of the thistle and the bee
E’re you set your heart too far.

 

A poem for no other reason than that it seemed that two common, prickly things which were not afraid of each other might fall in love, and that it might work beautifully. That was how this started in my head, but the poem decided that it would be, alas, a cautionary tale instead…

Ode to the Eastern Army

Unto my liege lord and King, mighty Lucan, does your bard, Aneleda, send greetings and wishes for your continued strength and good-health. Unable to join you and my beloved Eastern Army, to see the fighting and noble horses bearing the hopes of the East in their hands and reigns.  I send the gracious Lady Aoife, noble bard, to deliver in my stead this missive, writ by my own hand for this preparation for war, unto you, and, if you will it, unto the army I love so well.

My King, you and the East are ever in my thoughts.  I remain you servant,

– Lady Aneleda

Eastern Army, thunder-bearers
pride of bards and of all men.
See the love the people have,
ever-bright, as stars and sun.

Pride of King and nation firm,
deepest love of land and home,
of war-song and battle-tale
to be echoed over time.

Fighting here as brethren
sisters, brothers, each in arms
fight beside them, fight before them,
for the fiercest love you bear.

Raise your weapons in their fierceness,
raise your standards on the field.
Born of man, endowed with glory,
inspire all whom you shall see.

Witness to this battle-love
bears the promise of the realm:
defeat of all who would see her humbled,
pride is earned when worn so well.

Bards forever write you love-songs
inspired by your battle mien,
from far-off land we feel the thunder
and hear the beating of your shields.

Eastern Army, Eastern Kinfolk –
hear this voice which sends great love
for your stomping, for your spear-dance
for all the might which you display.

Artist, seer, bowman, war-horse
singer, speaker, King and Queen,
each uphold the Eastern banner
each brighter than the gold that gleams.

 

(Written for the Northern Region War Camp, AS46)