Gods’ Breath

wind god

 

Gods’ Breath

Cry out your name to the wind,
As it gathers and flies,
Let it carry your name on its wing
To the edge of the skies.
Cry out your name to the wind,
And the wind replies –
“I am Aneurin, I am Belinda,
The unseen and wise.
Now I am Cormac, blowing, blowing,
Davina rising, Ezra free –
Soon to be Fortune, waiting, growing –
Filling the sails at mill and sea.
I am the storm and the maelstrom twinned,
The harbinger-bringer, the hurricane eyes !”

So cry out your name to the wind,
And your name shall rise.

 

 

The Memory of Woods

tree with brunch and green leaves during sunset
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

The Memory of Woods

Ashes to ashes
And ashes to beeches,
Ashes wherever
The passing breeze reaches,
To scatter and nourish
The bluebells and oaks,
Whose branches are neighbours
And flowers are folks.

Ashes have grown
And ashes have fallen,
But not before raising
Their saplings from pollen –
We sleep with the ivy
And grow with the lime,
Whose roots are in mem’ry,
And crowns are in time.

 

 

The Ballad of Evermore

agincourt
Agincourt by Donato Giancola

 

The Ballad of Evermore

The Thousand-Years War did not come to an end,
So they say – it just came to a stop.
When the gold and the men and the food has all gone,
Then the number of battles must drop.

The sheep were untended, the cattle were stray,
While the geese were so full they must walk,
For there’s none could survive, save the crickets and mice,
When the harvest remained on the stalk.

So famine and fasting would follow the fighting,
As fighters would follow their swords –
And even the nobles ate turnips and gruel,
While the ravens were dining like lords.

For year after year, as the sun dried the ground,
So the raiding would start with the Spring,
Till the storms and the Autumn at last gave a rest,
Till the battles that next year would bring.

When home for the Winter, the men would greet newborns,
And plant in their wives their next growth –
But all of the fighting brought all of the dying,
And birthing was slower than both.

So fathers and brothers, on hearing the muster,
Rode off with the equinox sun –
Then followed their heirs, from the firstborn and eldest –
To younger – then youngest – then none.

The plague swept the camps and the swords swept the necks,
And the romance went out of the roam,
And the tales and adventures for telling through Winter
Would often not make it back home.

Then even the daughters, for lacking their brothers,
Would join for the pride of the shire –
When even the women were thrust into arms
Then you know that the world is on fire.

The war couldn’t last now, with nobody raising
The next generation to fight –
So either the feuding must splutter to ashes,
Or burn all to keep it alight.

The Thousand-Years War did not come to an end,
So they say – it just came to a stop.
Now folk and their cattle are slowly increasing,
And harvesters bring in the crop.

But I hear my countrymen, those who came home,
As they tell of their travels with sword.
And what of our enemy ?  Cheated us victory !-
Grandsons are dutif’ly awed

The war has been wounded, and needed to heal,
But it’s now getting frisky for gore –
Were years of futility not pain enough
That we’re keen for a thousand-odd more ?

 

 

The Counting Carol

census
Sketch of the bas relief on the Altar of Domitius, showing different stages of a census (the original is one long strip, here split in two.  Judging from the armour, it likely dates from just before the Marian Reforms of 9894 HE.

 

 

sketch

 

The Counting Carol

[parts in italics are sung by all.]

The Romans go from house to house,
Just counting –
The Romans go from house to house
To count each man and dog and mouse,
And grub and flea and bug and louse,
In city, plain and mountain.
And when they knock upon our door
To tally up our stock and store,
Then what shall be our docket score ?
But hark, [knock knock]
But hark, [knock knock]
But hark, I hear them knocking…

I count twelve notes that make a scale.
So one last time, let us regale !
Twelve are the jurors, twelve are the scribes,
Twelve are the inches and twelve are the tribes,
And after a twelvemonth’s high society,
            Then twelve are the steps to dry sobriety.

Eleven players form a team,
Be they ladies, be they gents.

Ten is the base of our number sense,
Where digits get a neighbour.

Nine are the months of labour,
From conception through to birth.

Eight the planets, like the Earth,
Orbiting the Sun we are.

Seven diff’rent grades of star –
Oh be a fine girl, kiss me !  [/Oh be a fine guy, kiss me !]

Six the kingdoms of life we see –
Do kings play chess on fine green silk ?

Five is the hour we harvest the milk,
Five, five per day to thrive !
Five are my fingers, five are my toes,
Five is the starfish and five is the rose.
A hedgerow rose ?
Well, I suppose.
There’s always five on one of those.
Five are the petals and the leaves she grows,
            Attracting the bees and attracting the nose.

Four are the forces, I propose,
Forces nature shall have it be –
Electromagnetic and gravity,
And the strong and the weak attraction.

Three each science branch or faction –
Bio, chemo and physio learning.
Three the dimensions through which we’re turning,
And three the hands on my watch tell time.

Two is the first and smallest prime,
Two is the first of the even-kind.
Two, oh two, you’re one behind,
            You’re second-best at bestest.

And then came one, and so we rest –
We’ve counted each and ev’ry guest.
For one is one, the last and first,
            The very best, the very worst.
            For one is one, is most perverse –
            The all-enclosing universe.

 

 

This is intended to be a cumulitive carol, like Green Grow The Rushes, Oh or that other one whose name I can’t recall.  It starts from 1 and works its way upto 12, with cut-down verses to speed things along (they’re only sung in full when they’re introduced and on the final time.  Thus the penultimate verse is like this:

 

 

The Romans go from house to house,
Just counting –
But hark, [knock knock]
But hark, [knock knock]
But hark, I hear them knocking…

Eleven players form a team,
Be they ladies, be they gents.

Ten is the base of our number sense,
Where digits get a neighbour.

Nine are the months of labour,
From conception through to birth.

Eight the planets, like the Earth,
Orbiting the Sun we are.

Seven diff’rent grades of star –
Oh be a fine girl, kiss me !  [/Oh be a fine guy, kiss me !]

Six  the kingdoms of life we see –
Do kings play chess on fine green silk ?

Five is the hour we harvest the milk,
Five, five per day to thrive !

Four are the forces, I propose,
            With the strong and the weak attraction.

Three each science branch or faction,
            And three the hands on my watch tell time.

Two is the first and smallest prime,
            Two is the first of the even-kind.

And then came one, and so we rest –
            We’ve counted each and ev’ry guest.

 

 

The Barons of the Jungle

black cat walking on road
Photo by David Bartus on Pexels.com

 

The Barons of the Jungle

When humans send themselves extinct, then who will take their place ?
The chimpanzees ?  Or have they missed their chance at master-race ?
Parrots, crows, or even pigeons ?  But they lack the hands to build –
Dolphins hunter-gather while the oyster-beds remain untilled,
Yet octopuses have the arms, and boy, are those arms skilled !
But life for them is short and done – they’ll never make it number one.

But cats have cunning, cunning paws,
And curiosity to dare –
And even if the reaper calls,
Then cats have lives to spare.
So some are fat and some are cool,
And all, at night, are grey –
They walk this world, yet never rule,
And leave the mice to play.

Now mice and rats are shrewd, for sure, but hygiene lets them down:
Too many fleas, too many plagues, to ever wear the crown.
An elephant remembers, but they sometimes are mistaken,
While bears will sleep their lives away and never reawaken,
And pigs are pretty clever, though they still end up as bacon,
And bees will sting to save their hives, yet never learn it costs their lives.

But cats can look upon a king –
So could they wear the boots and chain ?
Alas, though ev’ry bell should ring,
They’ll never turn again.
It takes a team to build a throne,
Yet cats won’t pull together –
The cat who always walks alone
Must walk alone forever.

 

 

Fresh Pantoums, Only a Shilling !

market stall
A Market Stall by Candlelight by Petrus van Schendel

 

Fresh Pantoums, Three for a Shilling !

Oranges, lemons, and citrons and limes,
Cockles and mussels and oysters alive,
Tatler, Spectator, the Post and the Times,
Parsley and sage and sweet basil and chive !

Cockles and mussels and oysters alive,
Burgundy, claret, madeira and sack,
Parsley and sage and sweet basil and chive,
Cottons and calicos – red, white and black !

Burgundy, claret, madeira and sack,
Currants and raisins, sultanas and prunes,
Cottons and calicos, red, white and black,
Ballads and broadsides and tuppenny tunes !

Currants and raisins, sultanas and prunes,
Mercury powder to kill all your nits,
Ballads and broadsides and tuppenny tunes,
Coffee for merchants and lawyers and wits !

Mercury powder to kill all your nits,
Books for the scholar and books for the squire,
Coffee for merchants and lawyers and wits,
Labourers, porters and servants for hire !

Books for the scholar and books for the squire,
Scrag-end and brisket and trotters and bones,
Labourers, porters and servants for hire,
Heather for good-luck and Gypsy-charmed stones !

Scrag-end and brisket and trotters and bones,
News of the morning and news of the wars,
Heather for good-luck and Gypsy-charmed stones,
Come see my wares from the far-distant shores !

News of the morning and news of the wars,
Tatler, Spectator, the Post and the Times,
Come see my wares from the far-distant shores:
Oranges, lemons, and citrons and limes !

 

 

Urban Spiritual

telegraph pole
Wires by Tom Lantaff

 

Urban Spiritual

If the bells ring out from the crossing tower,
I’ll meet my love upon the hour;
I’ll meet my love, and we shall stroll
From the old gas works to the new may-pole.

If they call to prayer from the minaret,
I’ll meet my love on the High Street yet;
I’ll meet my love, and we shall wend
From the old canal to the new bridge-end.

If the trumpets bray the sabbath’s start,
I’ll meet my love in the Hounds & Hart;
I’ll meet my love and we shall roam
From the old duck pond to the new dogs’ home.

If chanting comes from the temple door,
I’ll meet my love by the superstore;
I’ll meet my love and we shall stray
From the old sheep track to the new free way.