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In times of ancient Elder, ancient Apple-Thorn,
Ancient May & ancient November,
& forgotten ages all wither’d before,
Times of dreaming when They of Old walk’d without sin,
& th’ tongues of beasts were intelligible to men,
Th’ great & cunning seeds were scatter’d
& won purchase in ev'ry hollow to which men gather’d;
For They of Old could speak to wood or water
& th’ sun & moon traced a living course.
With wood & water & Weird un-split
Tree-mask’d Gods strode among us then;
Fire blazed wi’ open mouth of prophecy,
Serpents coil'd round th’ gleeful wedding-bed,
They of Old trod th’ deep & forest deep again.
Th’ fire in th’ meadow was a bridge of light
Where Heaven did descend to Earth's delight;
& th’ tribute of flesh & tithe in blood
Was wash’d away in th’ world's blissful flood.
What but baleful turning stars could condemn it so
To hell & fearful plague, th' power then
& th’ wisdom inscrib’d in th' healer's art,
& th’ notch on th’ flying arrow
& th’ charm on th’ swinging scythe-blade
& th’ diviner's clever heart?
Th’ treasure-horde of old is more than mere gold
It is th’ art that constrains th’ rain to speak again
It is th’ art that pries open th’ hidden eyes
It is th’ art that makes bloom th’ rot-dead tree
& leaps th’ Hedge that never dies.
For we men of late walk th’ dying way
& th' world declines to shadow day by day
Th’ sepulchral song is all we pray,
& from towers grim declare it a hymn of bliss.
By th’ green & ebon Tree of Light
In whose branches th’ world is hung a-right,
& th’ ghostly hint of forgotten sights-
We must gamble death to emerge quick again.
Dust & bare is th’ hope of th’ penitent;
& scarce more hope in th’ words of sages:
It is shelter of wisdom & brave blood shall win
Th’ prize of th’ witch'd world, th’ mystic,
Th’ world reborn, th’ feery tree & hill,
Th’ resurrection of th’ meadow, th’ death of sin,
& all foulness be consum’d in th’ just wrath of ages.
So let ride th’ kingly steed of th’ Antler-crown’d Lord
King of th’ pale men, king of th’ slain,
King of th’ brown earth where old treasures lay
King of th’ fresh furrow, king of th’ ancient wood,
King of th’ white horn that calls th’ feery rade.
Let that rage-turn’d-hunt ride forth as before,
To th’ glory of memory & th’ winning of lore.
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Copyright 2010 by Robin Artisson