Thursday, April 30, 2015

5 Ways to Celebrate Beltane in 5 Minutes or Less, by the incomparable Tess Whitehurst

5 Ways to Celebrate Beltane in 5 Minutes or Less

As you may know, Friday is Beltane, or May Day: the day opposite Samhain/Halloween on the Wheel of the Year, when the veil between the worlds is lifted and the portal between the realm of humans and the realm of the faeries is open wide. It's a time associated with abundance, fertility, sensuality, romance, celebration, and purification. And while Beltane festivals abound and you can certainly build a bonfire and drum or dance the night away if you so desire, even a brief ritual of magic or devotion can have a powerful resonance, and can transport your consciousness into the realm of the sacred. With that in mind, here are five ways to celebrate Beltane in 5 minutes or less.

1. Make a candle bonfire. Beltane bonfires are traditional ways to purify by burning away the last remnants of winter and turning stuck energy into vibrant power and life. To perform the same energetic action in miniature, place a red pillar candle on a plate and arrange naturally shed twigs and fresh blossoms around its base. Light the candle, breathe deeply, and send your consciousness into the center of the flame, feeling/seeing/sensing the fire burn away all old unnecessary conditions and stuck energy into beautiful, radiant light.

2. Dance wildly. Find a song that fills you with equal parts joy, wildness, and sensuality. Then blare it loudly and dance, being as silly and free as possible. Make sure hip shaking and pelvis grinding is involved, and if you make yourself laugh in the process, that's extra credit.

3. Make a faerie offering. Celebrate your interconnection to the web of all life, including the life of the fae, also known as the aliveness and consciousness within all of nature. A handful of birdseed can be an excellent offering to the fae, as can polished or faceted crystals, shiny coins, and beer, ale, or champagne in walnut shells.

4. Purify your threshold. Beltane is a particularly powerful time for purification, and doorways are very much in alignment with this expansive and transitional time. As such, smudging your front door with white sage, desert sage, or palo santo, washing it with warm water into which you've added essential oils like spearmint or cedar, or misting it with a smudge spray, can be an excellent way to purify your life and attract beautiful blessings and opportunities.

5. Engage in a pleasure ritual. Sensuality and pleasure are in Beltane's domain, and taking even a short moment for it can reap wonderful, lasting benefits. Mindfully eat a bit of your favorite chocolate, revel in walking barefoot across a lawn, or anoint yourself with an adored essential oil blend and lose yourself in its scent.

As well, my family will hold a ritual to bless the Guardians of our home (two pet gargoyles) and my little guy will leave a treat of strawberries and cream out for the faeries. Oh, what fun is Beltane!

Here is a list of offerings for various aspects of home Guardians if you are inclined to make your own offering:

FOOD: Bread, Cakes
DRINKS: Ale, Beer, Wine, Brandy, Fruit Juice
OTHER: Flowers, Coins, Semi-Precious Stones, Crystals

FOOD: Bread, Butter, Oil, Salt
DRINK: Wine, Milk, Tea, Coffee.
INCENSE: Pine, Rosemary.
OTHER: A small portion of all food.

FOOD: Barley, Bread, Oil.
DRINK: Wine.
INCENSE: Juniper.
OTHER: Perfumed oil, Garlands.

FOOD: Bread, Salt, Oil, Fruit, Cakes.
DRINK: Milk, Wine, Beer, Cider, Juice.
INCENSE: Frankincense, Rosemary.
OTHER: Ritual food.

(Usually we just light a candle before each and thank them for all they do, but things have been a bit wonky lately, all of it outside the home, so I think Ezekiel and Gabriel deserve a bit extra this year for all the extra work they've been doing!)

Blessings to you this Beltane Eve!

     'Tis Beltane eve, my friends, and we in the Perkins household are a-glitter with excitement. We love this sabbat: happiness, joy, laughter, what's not to love about Beltane? And my non-Pagan readers can relate after a fashion, because May Day is just as light- and laughter-filled. And so, for my final post for National Poetry Month (goodbye poetry until next year....riiight; like I'm not going to pepper you with poetry through the rest of the year) I give you as many faerie-ish poems I can find. Blessed be!! (Remember to leave strawberries and cream out for the faeries tonite!!)

Faery Songs
by John Keats

Shed no tear! oh, shed no tear!
The flower will bloom another year.
Weep no more! oh, weep no more!
Young buds sleep in the root's white core.
Dry your eyes! oh, dry your eyes!
For I was taught in Paradise
To ease my breast of melodies,--
Shed no tear.

Overhead! look overhead!
'Mong the blossoms white and red--
Look up, look up! I flutter now
On this fresh pomegranate bough.
See me! 'tis this silvery bill
Ever cures the good man's ill.
Shed no tear! oh, shed no tear!
The flower will bloom another year.
Adieu, adieu -- I fly -- adieu!
I vanish in the heaven’s blue,--
Adieu, adieu!

Ah! woe is me! poor silver-wing!
That I must chant thy lady's dirge,
And death to this fair haunt of spring,
Of melody, and streams of flowery verge,--
Poor silver-wing! ah! woe is me!
That I must see
These blossoms snow upon thy lady's pall!
Go, pretty page! and in her ear
Whisper that the hour is near!
Softly tell her not to fear
Such calm favonian burial!
Go, pretty page! and soothly tell,--
The blossoms hang by a melting spell,
And fall they must, ere a star wink thrice
Upon her closed eyes,
That now in vain are weeping their last tears,
At sweet life leaving, and these arbours green,--
Rich dowry from the Spirit of the Spheres,
Alas! poor Queen!          

I'd Love To Be A Fairy's Child
- by Robert Graves  

Children born of fairy stock
Never need for shirt or frock,
Never want for food or fire,
Always get their hearts desire:
Jingle pockets full of gold,
Marry when they're seven years old.
Every fairy child may keep
Two ponies and ten sheep;
All have houses, each his own,
Built of brick or granite stone;
They live on cherries, they run wild--
I'd love to be a Fairy's child.     

Invocation To The Fairies

- by Felicia Dorothea Hemans

For My Sister's Grotto

FAYS and Fairies haste away!
This is Harriet's holiday:
Bring the lyre, and bring the lute,
Bring the sweetly-breathing flute;
Wreaths of cowslips hither bring,
All the honours of the spring;
Adorn the grot with all that's gay,
Fays and Fairies haste away.
Bring the vine to Bacchus dear,
Bring the purple lilac here,
Festoons of roses, sweetest flower,
The yellow primrose of the bower,
Blue-ey'd violets wet with dew,
Bring the clustering woodbine too.
Bring in baskets made of rush,
The cherry with its ripen'd blush,
The downy peach, so soft so fair,
The luscious grape, the mellow pear:
These to Harriet hither bring,
And sweetly in return she'll sing.
Be the brilliant grotto scene
The palace of the Fairy Queen.
Form the sprightly circling dance,
Fairies here your steps advance;
To the harp's soft dulcet sound,
Let your footsteps lightly bound.
Unveil your forms to mortal eye;
Let Harriet view your revelry.                                                         

The Fairy Thorn
- by Sir Samuel Ferguson

“GET up, our Anna dear, from the weary spinning wheel’
For your father’s on the hill, and your mother is asleep;
Come up above the crags, and we ’ll dance a highland reel
Around the fairy thorn on the steep.”

At Anna Grace’s door ’t was thus the maidens cried,
Three merry maidens fair in kirtles of the green;
And Anna laid the sock and the weary wheel aside,
The fairest of the four, I ween.

They ’re glancing through the glimmer of the quiet eve,
Away in milky wavings of neck and ankle bare;
The heavy-sliding stream in its sleeply song they leave,
And the crags in the ghostly air;

And linking hand in hand, and singing as they go,
The maids along the hill-side have ta’en their fearless way,
Till they come to where the rowan trees in lovely beauty grow
Beside the Fairy Hawthorn gray.

The hawthorn stands between the ashes tall and slim,
Like matron with her twin grand-daughters at her knee;
The rowan berries cluster o’er her low head gray and dim
In ruddy kisses sweet to see.

The merry maidens four have ranged them in a row,
Between each lovely couple a stately rowan stem,
And away in mazes wavy like skimming birds they go,—
Oh, never caroll’d bird like them!

But solemn is the silence of the silvery haze
That drinks away their voices in echoless repose,
And dreamily the evening has still’d the haunted braes,
And dreamier the gloaming grows.

And sinking one by one, like lark-notes from the sky
When the falcon’s shadow saileth across the open shaw,
Are hush’d the maidens’ voices, as cowering down they lie
In the flutter of their sudden awe.

For, from the air above and the grassy ground beneath,
And from the mountain-ashes and the old white thorn between,
A power of faint enchantment doth through their beings breathe,
And they sink down together on the green.

They sink together silent, and, stealing side by side,
They fling their lovely arms o’er their drooping necks so fair,
Then vainly strive again their naked arms to hide,
For their shrinking necks again are bare.

Thus clasp’d and prostrate all, with their heads together bow’d,
Soft o’er their bosoms beating—the only human sound—
They hear the silky footsteps of the silent fairy crowd,
Like a river in the air, gliding round.

Nor scream can any raise, nor prayer can any say,
But wild, wild, the terror of the speechless three,
For they feel fair Anna Grace drawn silently away,
By whom they dare not look to see.

They feel their tresses twine with her parting locks of gold,
And the curls elastic falling, as her head withdraws;
They feel her sliding arms from their tranced arms unfold,
But they dare not look to see the cause:

For heavy on their senses the faint enchantment lies
Through all that night of anguish and perilous amaze;
And neither fear nor wonder can ope their quivering eyes,
Or their limbs from the cold ground raise,

Till out of night the earth has roll’d her dewy side,
With every haunted mountain and streamy vale below;
When, as the mist dissolves in the yellow morning-tide,
The maidens’ trance dissolveth so.

Then fly the ghastly three as swiftly as they may,
And tell their tale of sorrow to anxious friends in vain:
They pin’d away and died within the year and day,
And ne’er was Anna Grace seen again.                         

Goblin Market

By Christina Rossetti      

Morning and evening
Maids heard the goblins cry:
“Come buy our orchard fruits,
Come buy, come buy:
Apples and quinces,
Lemons and oranges,
Plump unpeck’d cherries,
Melons and raspberries,
Bloom-down-cheek’d peaches,
Swart-headed mulberries,
Wild free-born cranberries,
Crab-apples, dewberries,
Pine-apples, blackberries,
Apricots, strawberries;—
All ripe together
In summer weather,—
Morns that pass by,
Fair eves that fly;
Come buy, come buy:
Our grapes fresh from the vine,
Pomegranates full and fine,
Dates and sharp bullaces,
Rare pears and greengages,
Damsons and bilberries,
Taste them and try:
Currants and gooseberries,
Bright-fire-like barberries,
Figs to fill your mouth,
Citrons from the South,
Sweet to tongue and sound to eye;
Come buy, come buy.”

               Evening by evening
Among the brookside rushes,
Laura bow’d her head to hear,
Lizzie veil’d her blushes:
Crouching close together
In the cooling weather,
With clasping arms and cautioning lips,
With tingling cheeks and finger tips.
“Lie close,” Laura said,
Pricking up her golden head:
“We must not look at goblin men,
We must not buy their fruits:
Who knows upon what soil they fed
Their hungry thirsty roots?”
“Come buy,” call the goblins
Hobbling down the glen.

“Oh,” cried Lizzie, “Laura, Laura,
You should not peep at goblin men.”
Lizzie cover’d up her eyes,
Cover’d close lest they should look;
Laura rear’d her glossy head,
And whisper’d like the restless brook:
“Look, Lizzie, look, Lizzie,
Down the glen tramp little men.
One hauls a basket,
One bears a plate,
One lugs a golden dish
Of many pounds weight.
How fair the vine must grow
Whose grapes are so luscious;
How warm the wind must blow
Through those fruit bushes.”
“No,” said Lizzie, “No, no, no;
Their offers should not charm us,
Their evil gifts would harm us.”
She thrust a dimpled finger
In each ear, shut eyes and ran:
Curious Laura chose to linger
Wondering at each merchant man.
One had a cat’s face,
One whisk’d a tail,
One tramp’d at a rat’s pace,
One crawl’d like a snail,
One like a wombat prowl’d obtuse and furry,
One like a ratel tumbled hurry skurry.
She heard a voice like voice of doves
Cooing all together:
They sounded kind and full of loves
In the pleasant weather.

               Laura stretch’d her gleaming neck
Like a rush-imbedded swan,
Like a lily from the beck,
Like a moonlit poplar branch,
Like a vessel at the launch
When its last restraint is gone.

               Backwards up the mossy glen
Turn’d and troop’d the goblin men,
With their shrill repeated cry,
“Come buy, come buy.”
When they reach’d where Laura was
They stood stock still upon the moss,
Leering at each other,
Brother with queer brother;
Signalling each other,
Brother with sly brother.
One set his basket down,
One rear’d his plate;
One began to weave a crown
Of tendrils, leaves, and rough nuts brown
(Men sell not such in any town);
One heav’d the golden weight
Of dish and fruit to offer her:
“Come buy, come buy,” was still their cry.
Laura stared but did not stir,
Long’d but had no money:
The whisk-tail’d merchant bade her taste
In tones as smooth as honey,
The cat-faced purr’d,
The rat-faced spoke a word
Of welcome, and the snail-paced even was heard;
One parrot-voiced and jolly
Cried “Pretty Goblin” still for “Pretty Polly;”—
One whistled like a bird.

               But sweet-tooth Laura spoke in haste:
“Good folk, I have no coin;
To take were to purloin:
I have no copper in my purse,
I have no silver either,
And all my gold is on the furze
That shakes in windy weather
Above the rusty heather.”
“You have much gold upon your head,”
They answer’d all together:
“Buy from us with a golden curl.”
She clipp’d a precious golden lock,
She dropp’d a tear more rare than pearl,
Then suck’d their fruit globes fair or red:
Sweeter than honey from the rock,
Stronger than man-rejoicing wine,
Clearer than water flow’d that juice;
She never tasted such before,
How should it cloy with length of use?
She suck’d and suck’d and suck’d the more
Fruits which that unknown orchard bore;
She suck’d until her lips were sore;
Then flung the emptied rinds away
But gather’d up one kernel stone,
And knew not was it night or day
As she turn’d home alone.

               Lizzie met her at the gate
Full of wise upbraidings:
“Dear, you should not stay so late,
Twilight is not good for maidens;
Should not loiter in the glen
In the haunts of goblin men.
Do you not remember Jeanie,
How she met them in the moonlight,
Took their gifts both choice and many,
Ate their fruits and wore their flowers
Pluck’d from bowers
Where summer ripens at all hours?
But ever in the noonlight
She pined and pined away;
Sought them by night and day,
Found them no more, but dwindled and grew grey;
Then fell with the first snow,
While to this day no grass will grow
Where she lies low:
I planted daisies there a year ago
That never blow.
You should not loiter so.”
“Nay, hush,” said Laura:
“Nay, hush, my sister:
I ate and ate my fill,
Yet my mouth waters still;
To-morrow night I will
Buy more;” and kiss’d her:
“Have done with sorrow;
I’ll bring you plums to-morrow
Fresh on their mother twigs,
Cherries worth getting;
You cannot think what figs
My teeth have met in,
What melons icy-cold
Piled on a dish of gold
Too huge for me to hold,
What peaches with a velvet nap,
Pellucid grapes without one seed:
Odorous indeed must be the mead
Whereon they grow, and pure the wave they drink
With lilies at the brink,
And sugar-sweet their sap.”

               Golden head by golden head,
Like two pigeons in one nest
Folded in each other’s wings,
They lay down in their curtain’d bed:
Like two blossoms on one stem,
Like two flakes of new-fall’n snow,
Like two wands of ivory
Tipp’d with gold for awful kings.
Moon and stars gaz’d in at them,
Wind sang to them lullaby,
Lumbering owls forbore to fly,
Not a bat flapp’d to and fro
Round their rest:
Cheek to cheek and breast to breast
Lock’d together in one nest.

               Early in the morning
When the first cock crow’d his warning,
Neat like bees, as sweet and busy,
Laura rose with Lizzie:
Fetch’d in honey, milk’d the cows,
Air’d and set to rights the house,
Kneaded cakes of whitest wheat,
Cakes for dainty mouths to eat,
Next churn’d butter, whipp’d up cream,
Fed their poultry, sat and sew’d;
Talk’d as modest maidens should:
Lizzie with an open heart,
Laura in an absent dream,
One content, one sick in part;
One warbling for the mere bright day’s delight,
One longing for the night.

               At length slow evening came:
They went with pitchers to the reedy brook;
Lizzie most placid in her look,
Laura most like a leaping flame.
They drew the gurgling water from its deep;
Lizzie pluck’d purple and rich golden flags,
Then turning homeward said: “The sunset flushes
Those furthest loftiest crags;
Come, Laura, not another maiden lags.
No wilful squirrel wags,
The beasts and birds are fast asleep.”
But Laura loiter’d still among the rushes
And said the bank was steep.

               And said the hour was early still
The dew not fall’n, the wind not chill;
Listening ever, but not catching
The customary cry,
“Come buy, come buy,”
With its iterated jingle
Of sugar-baited words:
Not for all her watching
Once discerning even one goblin
Racing, whisking, tumbling, hobbling;
Let alone the herds
That used to tramp along the glen,
In groups or single,
Of brisk fruit-merchant men.

               Till Lizzie urged, “O Laura, come;
I hear the fruit-call but I dare not look:
You should not loiter longer at this brook:
Come with me home.
The stars rise, the moon bends her arc,
Each glowworm winks her spark,
Let us get home before the night grows dark:
For clouds may gather
Though this is summer weather,
Put out the lights and drench us through;
Then if we lost our way what should we do?”

               Laura turn’d cold as stone
To find her sister heard that cry alone,
That goblin cry,
“Come buy our fruits, come buy.”
Must she then buy no more such dainty fruit?
Must she no more such succous pasture find,
Gone deaf and blind?
Her tree of life droop’d from the root:
She said not one word in her heart’s sore ache;
But peering thro’ the dimness, nought discerning,
Trudg’d home, her pitcher dripping all the way;
So crept to bed, and lay
Silent till Lizzie slept;
Then sat up in a passionate yearning,
And gnash’d her teeth for baulk’d desire, and wept
As if her heart would break.

               Day after day, night after night,
Laura kept watch in vain
In sullen silence of exceeding pain.
She never caught again the goblin cry:
“Come buy, come buy;”—
She never spied the goblin men
Hawking their fruits along the glen:
But when the noon wax’d bright
Her hair grew thin and grey;
She dwindled, as the fair full moon doth turn
To swift decay and burn
Her fire away.

               One day remembering her kernel-stone
She set it by a wall that faced the south;
Dew’d it with tears, hoped for a root,
Watch’d for a waxing shoot,
But there came none;
It never saw the sun,
It never felt the trickling moisture run:
While with sunk eyes and faded mouth
She dream’d of melons, as a traveller sees
False waves in desert drouth
With shade of leaf-crown’d trees,
And burns the thirstier in the sandful breeze.

               She no more swept the house,
Tended the fowls or cows,
Fetch’d honey, kneaded cakes of wheat,
Brought water from the brook:
But sat down listless in the chimney-nook
And would not eat.

               Tender Lizzie could not bear
To watch her sister’s cankerous care
Yet not to share.
She night and morning
Caught the goblins’ cry:
“Come buy our orchard fruits,
Come buy, come buy;”—
Beside the brook, along the glen,
She heard the tramp of goblin men,
The yoke and stir
Poor Laura could not hear;
Long’d to buy fruit to comfort her,
But fear’d to pay too dear.
She thought of Jeanie in her grave,
Who should have been a bride;
But who for joys brides hope to have
Fell sick and died
In her gay prime,
In earliest winter time
With the first glazing rime,
With the first snow-fall of crisp winter time.

               Till Laura dwindling
Seem’d knocking at Death’s door:
Then Lizzie weigh’d no more
Better and worse;
But put a silver penny in her purse,
Kiss’d Laura, cross’d the heath with clumps of furze
At twilight, halted by the brook:
And for the first time in her life
Began to listen and look.

               Laugh’d every goblin
When they spied her peeping:
Came towards her hobbling,
Flying, running, leaping,
Puffing and blowing,
Chuckling, clapping, crowing,
Clucking and gobbling,
Mopping and mowing,
Full of airs and graces,
Pulling wry faces,
Demure grimaces,
Cat-like and rat-like,
Ratel- and wombat-like,
Snail-paced in a hurry,
Parrot-voiced and whistler,
Helter skelter, hurry skurry,
Chattering like magpies,
Fluttering like pigeons,
Gliding like fishes,—
Hugg’d her and kiss’d her:
Squeez’d and caress’d her:
Stretch’d up their dishes,
Panniers, and plates:
“Look at our apples
Russet and dun,
Bob at our cherries,
Bite at our peaches,
Citrons and dates,
Grapes for the asking,
Pears red with basking
Out in the sun,
Plums on their twigs;
Pluck them and suck them,
Pomegranates, figs.”—

               “Good folk,” said Lizzie,
Mindful of Jeanie:
“Give me much and many: —
Held out her apron,
Toss’d them her penny.
“Nay, take a seat with us,
Honour and eat with us,”
They answer’d grinning:
“Our feast is but beginning.
Night yet is early,
Warm and dew-pearly,
Wakeful and starry:
Such fruits as these
No man can carry:
Half their bloom would fly,
Half their dew would dry,
Half their flavour would pass by.
Sit down and feast with us,
Be welcome guest with us,
Cheer you and rest with us.”—
“Thank you,” said Lizzie: “But one waits
At home alone for me:
So without further parleying,
If you will not sell me any
Of your fruits though much and many,
Give me back my silver penny
I toss’d you for a fee.”—
They began to scratch their pates,
No longer wagging, purring,
But visibly demurring,
Grunting and snarling.
One call’d her proud,
Cross-grain’d, uncivil;
Their tones wax’d loud,
Their looks were evil.
Lashing their tails
They trod and hustled her,
Elbow’d and jostled her,
Claw’d with their nails,
Barking, mewing, hissing, mocking,
Tore her gown and soil’d her stocking,
Twitch’d her hair out by the roots,
Stamp’d upon her tender feet,
Held her hands and squeez’d their fruits
Against her mouth to make her eat.

               White and golden Lizzie stood,
Like a lily in a flood,—
Like a rock of blue-vein’d stone
Lash’d by tides obstreperously,—
Like a beacon left alone
In a hoary roaring sea,
Sending up a golden fire,—
Like a fruit-crown’d orange-tree
White with blossoms honey-sweet
Sore beset by wasp and bee,—
Like a royal virgin town
Topp’d with gilded dome and spire
Close beleaguer’d by a fleet
Mad to tug her standard down.

               One may lead a horse to water,
Twenty cannot make him drink.
Though the goblins cuff’d and caught her,
Coax’d and fought her,
Bullied and besought her,
Scratch’d her, pinch’d her black as ink,
Kick’d and knock’d her,
Maul’d and mock’d her,
Lizzie utter’d not a word;
Would not open lip from lip
Lest they should cram a mouthful in:
But laugh’d in heart to feel the drip
Of juice that syrupp’d all her face,
And lodg’d in dimples of her chin,
And streak’d her neck which quaked like curd.
At last the evil people,
Worn out by her resistance,
Flung back her penny, kick’d their fruit
Along whichever road they took,
Not leaving root or stone or shoot;
Some writh’d into the ground,
Some div’d into the brook
With ring and ripple,
Some scudded on the gale without a sound,
Some vanish’d in the distance.

               In a smart, ache, tingle,
Lizzie went her way;
Knew not was it night or day;
Sprang up the bank, tore thro’ the furze,
Threaded copse and dingle,
And heard her penny jingle
Bouncing in her purse,—
Its bounce was music to her ear.
She ran and ran
As if she fear’d some goblin man
Dogg’d her with gibe or curse
Or something worse:
But not one goblin scurried after,
Nor was she prick’d by fear;
The kind heart made her windy-paced
That urged her home quite out of breath with haste
And inward laughter.

               She cried, “Laura,” up the garden,
“Did you miss me?
Come and kiss me.
Never mind my bruises,
Hug me, kiss me, suck my juices
Squeez’d from goblin fruits for you,
Goblin pulp and goblin dew.
Eat me, drink me, love me;
Laura, make much of me;
For your sake I have braved the glen
And had to do with goblin merchant men.”

               Laura started from her chair,
Flung her arms up in the air,
Clutch’d her hair:
“Lizzie, Lizzie, have you tasted
For my sake the fruit forbidden?
Must your light like mine be hidden,
Your young life like mine be wasted,
Undone in mine undoing,
And ruin’d in my ruin,
Thirsty, canker’d, goblin-ridden?”—
She clung about her sister,
Kiss’d and kiss’d and kiss’d her:
Tears once again
Refresh’d her shrunken eyes,
Dropping like rain
After long sultry drouth;
Shaking with aguish fear, and pain,
She kiss’d and kiss’d her with a hungry mouth.

               Her lips began to scorch,
That juice was wormwood to her tongue,
She loath’d the feast:
Writhing as one possess’d she leap’d and sung,
Rent all her robe, and wrung
Her hands in lamentable haste,
And beat her breast.
Her locks stream’d like the torch
Borne by a racer at full speed,
Or like the mane of horses in their flight,
Or like an eagle when she stems the light
Straight toward the sun,
Or like a caged thing freed,
Or like a flying flag when armies run.

               Swift fire spread through her veins, knock’d at her heart,
Met the fire smouldering there
And overbore its lesser flame;
She gorged on bitterness without a name:
Ah! fool, to choose such part
Of soul-consuming care!
Sense fail’d in the mortal strife:
Like the watch-tower of a town
Which an earthquake shatters down,
Like a lightning-stricken mast,
Like a wind-uprooted tree
Spun about,
Like a foam-topp’d waterspout
Cast down headlong in the sea,
She fell at last;
Pleasure past and anguish past,
Is it death or is it life?

               Life out of death.
That night long Lizzie watch’d by her,
Counted her pulse’s flagging stir,
Felt for her breath,
Held water to her lips, and cool’d her face
With tears and fanning leaves:
But when the first birds chirp’d about their eaves,
And early reapers plodded to the place
Of golden sheaves,
And dew-wet grass
Bow’d in the morning winds so brisk to pass,
And new buds with new day
Open’d of cup-like lilies on the stream,
Laura awoke as from a dream,
Laugh’d in the innocent old way,
Hugg’d Lizzie but not twice or thrice;
Her gleaming locks show’d not one thread of grey,
Her breath was sweet as May
And light danced in her eyes.

               Days, weeks, months, years
Afterwards, when both were wives
With children of their own;
Their mother-hearts beset with fears,
Their lives bound up in tender lives;
Laura would call the little ones
And tell them of her early prime,
Those pleasant days long gone
Of not-returning time:
Would talk about the haunted glen,
The wicked, quaint fruit-merchant men,
Their fruits like honey to the throat
But poison in the blood;
(Men sell not such in any town):
Would tell them how her sister stood
In deadly peril to do her good,
And win the fiery antidote:
Then joining hands to little hands
Would bid them cling together,
“For there is no friend like a sister
In calm or stormy weather;
To cheer one on the tedious way,
To fetch one if one goes astray,
To lift one if one totters down,
To strengthen whilst one stands.”

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Three poems, because I'm three days behind :P

April -

by John Greenleaf Whittier


'T is the noon of the spring-time, yet never a bird
In the wind-shaken elm or the maple is heard;
For green meadow-grasses wide levels of snow,
And blowing of drifts where the crocus should blow;
Where wind-flower and violet, amber and white,
On south-sloping brooksides should smile in the light,
O'er the cold winter-beds of their late-waking roots
The frosty flake eddies, the ice-crystal shoots;
And, longing for light, under wind-driven heaps,
Round the boles of the pine-wood the ground-laurel creeps,
Unkissed of the sunshine, unbaptized of showers,
With buds scarcely swelled, which should burst into flowers
We wait for thy coming, sweet wind of the south!
For the touch of thy light wings, the kiss of thy mouth;
For the yearly evangel thou bearest from God,
Resurrection and life to the graves of the sod!
Up our long river-valley, for days, have not ceased
The wail and the shriek of the bitter northeast,
Raw and chill, as if winnowed through ices and snow,
All the way from the land of the wild Esquimau,
Until all our dreams of the land of the blest,
Like that red hunter's, turn to the sunny southwest.
O soul of the spring-time, its light and its breath,
Bring warmth to this coldness, bring life to this death;
Renew the great miracle; let us behold
The stone from the mouth of the sepulchre rolled,
And Nature, like Lazarus, rise, as of old!
Let our faith, which in darkness and coldness has lain,
Revive with the warmth and the brightness again,
And in blooming of flower and budding of tree
The symbols and types of our destiny see;
The life of the spring-time, the life of the whole,
And, as sun to the sleeping earth, love to the soul!              

~April Rain~
by Mathilde Blind

  The April rain, the April rain,
Comes slanting down in fitful showers,
Then from the furrow shoots the grain,
And banks are fledged with nestling flowers;
And in grey shaw and woodland bowers
The cuckoo through the April rain
Calls once again.

The April sun, the April sun,
Glints through the rain in fitful splendour,
And in grey shaw and woodland dun
The little leaves spring forth and tender
Their infant hands, yet weak and slender,
For warmth towards the April sun,
One after one.

And between shower and shine hath birth
The rainbow's evanescent glory;
Heaven's light that breaks on mists of earth!
Frail symbol of our human story,
It flowers through showers where, looming hoary,
The rain-clouds flash with April mirth,
Like Life on earth.     

- by Carl Sandburg

 After the last red sunset glimmer,
Black on the line of a low hill rise,
Formed into moving shadows, I saw
A plowboy and two horses lined against the gray,
Plowing in the dusk the last furrow.
The turf had a gleam of brown,
And smell of soil was in the air,
And, cool and moist, a haze of April.

I shall remember you long,
Plowboy and horses against the sky in shadow.
I shall remember you and the picture
You made for me,
Turning the turf in the dusk
And haze of an April gloaming.                                                       

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Perhaps not the most thought-provoking poem I've ever posted.....

but today is National Pretzel Day! I didn't actually believe I'd find any poems on pretzels, but Poem Hunter proved me wrong. So, get the mustard and a plate, pile it with pretzel-y goodness, and enjoy Jim Yerman's poem:

Pretzel Day

Today is National Pretzel Day, so my hat I’ll give a tip
To the long suffering cousin of the more popular potato chip.

I’m not sure how it happened, the who, what, where or when
But in a list of the most popular snacks...pretzels aren’t in the top 10?

I mean pretzels lose out to Cheetos...sure they may be a little bit duller
But come on, Cheetos leave your fingers orange...and is that even a real color?

And if you think that doesn’t bother the pretzel...think another thought
I imagine that’s the real reason they’re all tied up knots.

Today I glorify the pretzel and spread good pretzel thoughts across the land
Did you know they were shaped originally to resemble praying hands?

Here’s an interesting little fact, an often forgotten stat
You know the marriage term ‘tie the knot....we have the pretzel to thank for that.

Pretzels used to be a part of weddings, held by the couple for everyone to see
To be broken together, then eaten in a symbol of unity.

The pretzel is thought to signify good luck, German children believe it brings good cheer
That’s why they tie one around their neck at the beginning of each new year.

Pretzels once adorned Christmas trees, hey, this is a snack with legs...
At one time they were even hidden...on Easter Sunday with the eggs.

A long time ago pretzels were a common way to help the poor get fed.
They were often thought so highly of...they were buried with the dead!

I could go on but think I’ve made a case for pretzels...all other your face!
For once people read this little poem you’ll all be vying for second place.

Yes, move over Ritz, Cheetos, Lays and all those other’ve had your fun.
It’s time for the pretzel to take it’s rightful place as the snack world’s number 1.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Play ball!!!!!!

Today is my little guy's first-ever baseball game! ...and I have to work :( However, his daddy is going to be there with camera in hand. I can't wait to see the photos and hear my boy tell me all about it. So, in honor of America's (and my son's) favorite pastime:

365 Jack Buck
by Jack Buck ©
Published: On Air Poem (Date Unknown)
When someone asks you your favorite sport
And you answer Baseball in a blink
There are certain qualities you must possess
And you're more attached than you think.
In the frozen grip of winter
I'm sure you'll agree with me
Not a day goes by without someone
Talking baseball to some degree.
The calendar flips on New Year's Day
The Super Bowl comes and it goes
Get the other sports out of the way
The green grass and the fever grows.
It's time to pack a bag and take a trip
To Arizona or the Sunshine State
Perhaps you can't go, but there's the radio
So you listen-you root-you wait.
They start the campaign, pomp and pageantry reign
You claim the pennant on Opening Day
From April till fall
You follow the bouncing white ball
Your team is set to go all the way.
They fall short of the series
You have a case of the "wearies"
And need as break from the game
But when Christmas bells jingle
You feel that old tingle
And you're ready for more of the same.
It will be hot dogs for dinner
Six months of heaven, a winner
Yes, Baseball has always been it.
You would amaze all your friends
If they knew to what ends
You'd go for a little old hit.
The best times you're had
Have been with your Mom and your Dad
And a bat and a ball and a glove.
From the first time you played
Till the last time you prayed
It's been a simple matter of love.

Base Ball
by Anonymous
Published: A Little Pretty Pocket Book (1744)
The Ball once struck off,
Away flies the Boy
To the next destin'd Post,
And the Home with Joy.

Friday, April 24, 2015

A beautiful meditation for presence (and peace of mind) by John O' Donohue:

I found this on a daily digest from one of my Yahoo groups. A beautiful meditation for presence (and peace of mind) by John O' Donohue:

 For Presence

Awaken to the mystery of being here
and enter the quiet immensity of your own presence.

Have joy and peace in the temple of your senses.

Receive encouragement when new frontiers beckon.

Respond to the call of your gift and the courage to
follow its path.

Let the flame of anger free you of all falsity.

May warmth of heart keep your presence aflame.

May anxiety never linger about you.

May your outer dignity mirror an inner dignity of

Take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek
no attention.

Be consoled in the secret symmetry of your soul.

May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven
around the heart of wonder.

~ John O'Donohue ~

Spring cleaning....I hope.

     I have to 'fess up here people. My house is a DUMP. I'm not exaggerating for dramatic effect, either. Dishes are piled up all over my kitchen (clean ones, but still); days worth of laundry needs to be put away...I don't know how my boys are getting into their room, never mind sleeping in it, and baby plants in flats are everywhere. Add to this a pile of half-written newsletter articles, just-begun stories, blog post starts (and stops), and various activity plans for work, and I'm beyond overwhelmed.
     Do you know how you decide you're going to get in there and clean up that mess, get yourself all psyched up, then you walk in and don't know where to begin?? Thank you. (Even as I type this my laptop is perched on top of a pile of library books that I think were due back a few days ago. WTF?)
     As this is my day off, I will put some serious effort into hacking my way through this disaster I call home, inspired in part by an email received from Dr. Christiane Northrup, whose blog I follow with near-religious fervor. Read on for some guidance and inspiration. I'm going to finish my (cold) tea and get moving. *sigh*

Why are so many of us buried in clutter? And why is it so darn hard to get out from under it? Having dealt with this dilemma for decades, I am finally living in a personal paradise—and in exactly the same house I’ve been in for over 30 years. For many years, this space provided a roof over my head, but was far more cluttered and messy than I wanted it to be.
So how did I create my personal paradise? I learned how to organize like a Goddess. Here are seven decluttering tips to help you do the same thing.

Step 1: If You Don’t Love it, Re-Gift it to Someone Else

This includes everything from clothing to furniture, especially inherited furniture. Terah Kathryn Collins, author of The Western Guide to Feng Shui teaches that our “stuff” is always talking to us energetically. Imagine the bed that you inherited from an aunt talking to you every night. Do you love what it’s saying? If not, time for it to go. Anything we’re keeping out of guilt or obligation is a health risk—I’m serious. Let it go. And if you need help, get a friend to come over and assist you.

Step 2: Give Up Perfectionism

Marla Cilley, the FlyLady, is a world-renowned expert on decluttering. She says that the biggest impediment to having a clean, organized house is perfectionism!
That’s right. We think the house has to be perfect and every drawer needs to be organized at all times. This is not realistic. It leads to exhausting ourselves trying to get rid of 15 years of clutter in a weekend. We end up simply exhausted and depressed.
Instead, set a timer and declutter for 15 minutes per day. Then rest. Do not do more than that. You’ll be amazed at how much you can get done in 15 minutes. Stop yourself from doing more.

Step 3: Start with Your Sink

About five years ago, I watched Marla’s video on how to shine your sink.

And I followed her directions precisely. And shining that sink each and every night became a habit. Now I can’t go to sleep without a shiny sink. And when I get up in the morning, that sink is such a restful sight. A new day—a nice clean space to work. And miraculously, when one area of the house is organized, that organized feeling tends to become contagious. Over time that organization spreads.

Step 4: Get Help

Some decluttering projects are just too big and too daunting to tackle by yourself. I hired a personal organizer after I did a major bathroom renovation. I didn’t want to just pile all the old stuff into a new space. That organizer was one of the best investments I ever made. We worked in two hour blocks. More than that is far too taxing. It’s very difficult to let things go. But with the right help, it gets easier and easier. The basement was what I called “The belly of the beast.” Cleaning it out became exciting. With every load that went out the door I felt freer and lighter.

Step 5: Decluttering is a Way of Life, Not a One Time Thing

Let your spirit move you. There are times when I’m really into decluttering and cleaning out. And when one of those times hits, I go with it. Right now I’m looking at about 12 file drawers full of medical articles collected over my career. And guess what? Most of them are going right into the paper recycling bin. With most stuff now available on the Internet, I really don’t want to keep yards of paper that my kids will one day have to get rid of!

Step 6: Make Decluttering an Offering to the Goddess Herself 

Or to whatever Divine being you prefer. In her wonderful book Outrageous Openness: Letting the Divine Take the Lead, author Tosha Silver has a chapter called, When in Doubt, Clean. Make the act of cleaning an “offering to the Divine.” Let the very act of organizing and cleaning be a reverent ritual akin to reclaiming your own inner order and Divinity. There is nothing more fulfilling and uplifting than making a mundane household chore into a sacrament!

Step 7: Trust your Innate Priorities

When you have little kids, go easy on yourself. When my kids were little, and I was working way more than 40 hours a week, I just didn’t have the will to organize my house. It was much more rewarding to take a walk with my kids or go to the beach. And so—I never really got organized until the kids were out of the house. Trust me on this—life is long. And there will always be time to organize your house. Don’t make a career out of it.

Share with Other Ageless Goddesses! Share or Pin this:

7 Steps for Decluttering Your Personal Paradise
Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Christiane Northrup, M.D., is a visionary pioneer and a leading authority in the field of women’s health and wellness. Recognizing the unity of body, mind, and spirit, she empowers women to trust their inner wisdom, their connection with Source, and their ability to truly flourish.
- See more at:

It's garden time!

I'm not planning to plant potatoes this spring (then again I wasn't planning to plant asparagus, and guess what I bought the other day?) but all my plantlings are growing fabulously, even the indigo rose tomatoes that my evil kitten Momo the Destroyer kicked off the windowsill the other day. Two kinds of winter squash, pumpkins, zucchini, five types of tomato, bell peppers, hot peppers, garlic, onions, two types of carrots, yellow beets, three types of beans, eggplant, watermelon, cucumbers, and some flowers my little guy and I couldn't resist: Chinese Lanterns, Bells of Ireland, coleus, and the red tulips he planted last year, not to mention the asparagus crowns I picked up the other day. I suppose I could fit potatoes in there somehow.....

Digging Potatoes, Sebago, Maine

by Amy E. King


Summer squash and snap-beans gushed
all August, tomatoes in a steady splutter

through September. But by October’s
last straggling days, almost everything

in the garden was stripped, picked,
decayed. A few dawdlers:

some forgotten carrots, ornate
with worm-trail tracery, parsley parched

a patchy faded beige. The dead leaves
of potato plants, defeated and panting,

their shriveled dingy tongues
crumbling into the mud.

     You have to guess where.
     The leaves migrate to trick you. Pretend
     you’re sure, thrust the trowel straight in,
     hear the steel strike stone, hear the song
     of their collision—this land is littered
     with granite. Your blade emerges
     with a mob of them, tawny freckled knobs,
     an earthworm curling over one like a tentacle.
     I always want to clean them with my tongue,
     to taste in this dark mud, in its sparkled scatter
     of mica and stone chips, its soft genealogy
     of birch bark and fiddleheads, something

that means place, that says here,
with all its crags and sticky pines,

its silent stubborn brambles. This
is my wine tasting. It’s there,

in the potatoes: a sharp slice with a different blade
imparts a little milky blood, and I can almost

smell it. Ferns furling. Barns rotting.
Even after baking, I can almost taste the grit

Thursday, April 23, 2015

A beautiful, thoughtful post from Terri Windling-Gayton's Myth & Moor blog:

Thursday, April 23, 2015