Tag Archives: winter

Hildeburhʼs Lament XII

But before the Danes
Could fare to the Mark,
Winter snowfall
Severed their way.
Nor would the fearsome seaʼs
Stormy surging
Let them sail in ships.
Winter waves struggled
By wind and icy bond
Locking them in,
Till longed for Spring
Came round next year
As yet it still does.
So Hengest and his men
Remained that winter
With Finn in Frisia,
Fighting their pride,
In weary weather.
Then was Winter shaken,
And the earth grew fair,
Finding that exile,
The guarded guest,
Growing eager
More to retaliate
Than return by sea,
If it might be brought about.
His mind still dwellt
Upon the Jutes and their due,
Judging their deeds.
So when Húnláfing’s son
Laid that best bill
In his lap, whose edgeʼs
Eagerness the Jutes knew well,
Then cruel sworddeath
Assailed the bold Finn
In his own homestead,
A king amongst his company,
And his queen taken
By the Scylding shieldmen
To the ships with the booty;
Jutish jewels
And gems of Frisia.
Over the seaway
They sailed in victory,
Leading me to my land
As ʻLady of the Danesʼ.
My grief for Finn,
Their grimmest foe,
None could understand.
I stood alone again,
Hollowly laughing
To hide my mourning,
My sore, sad heart
Sailing across the whaleroad.
Is this woman’s fate?
Woeful, forlorn,
Bearing bitterness
And burdened with care,
Being pushed around
By rash, proud men?
And all joys worn away
By jealous Wyrd?

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Filed under Medieval

Wintersonnet

The biting wind has made my ears go numb.
No sound escapes from Winter’s freezing spell
which makes the country silent, grey and dumb.
Behind the weathered, leafless oaks a dell
I’m heading for to ‘scape the silent cold.
The dale dips down below the fields now bare,
where beech trees stand around since days of old.
They’re gnarled and bent as if in silent prayer,
reminding me to ask not hills for help,
but cry out desperately to God
to rescue me from Winter’s aches and chills,
his healing hands to hold this heart down trod’.
And when I looked again, Winter’d withdrawn,
God’s joyful Spring arrived with blessèd dawn.
 
tree-winter

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Filed under Winter

Wintersong

frozen-waterfall-normal
 
“ventis glacies adstricta pependit” – Ovid, Metamorphoses
 
As Winter broods on snowy peaks
strong waterfalls begin to freeze
a deer his fodder vainly seeks
and northern winds whip up the seas
 
The longest night beckons clear stars
that pierce the darkness glowing cold
beneath the muffling carpet, grass
has stopped growing all but old
 
A splintering icicle rends the quiet
the startled hind retreats in silvam
where dryads, hid from wind tossed riot,
of heroes sing and lyre strings strum
 
Arising, Luna shines her light
though wat’ry, weak and oft enshroud
tis comfort during callous nights
when Winter’s silence rages loud
 
ventis glacies adstricta pependit: The ice hangs, bound up by the wind
in silvam: into the forest

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Filed under Classical, Night, Winter

Over There

path
Over there, over that hill
lies a vast land that’s still
undiscovered, my son,
heresay that rivers run
like black, black peat
while mists take their seat
on the moors and bogs
full of bogmen and trogs
heresay that strange
creatures still range
upon those moors
only heresay, of course
The hind and the hare
they’ve lived over there
where they sleep
no shadows creep
perhaps only a bear, astray,
who’s lost his way
Imagine, following that path
perhaps, my son, to the end of the earth
Oh, just keep on following that track
before you know it, spring’ll be back
 

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Filed under Autumn, Winter

Nightly Journey

The white winter night
though sparkling coldly
beckons mad and bright
with colours rarely
seen by daylight’s eye
 
Its deep blue purples
uneasily lie by
those emerald gurgles
yet never to touch
whilst intermingling
in stray wisps of sky
hardly perceptible
 
The threshold behind
the cold heightens sense
exciting the mind
 
The lunar air’s tense
while stars illuminate
and softly point out
the humble wicket gate
which pierces all doubt
 
The moon’s rays sing
modest melodies
conscious of their place
in the sky’s symphonies;
the lesser light’s grace
for nightly pilgrims
on their way from night
 
to where darkness dims
and both lights shine bright
with the morning star
who with broken hands
holds the seven stars
 
To that living land
strive, pilgrim, strive!
 

This poem was inspired by Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. A good read despite the sometimes old-fashioned language, it is full of simple but effective imagery. It’s an allegory (a story that stands for something else) and has become a classic still read today.  I can recommend it to anyone who wants to read a classic of spiritual creativity.

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Filed under Night, Winter