2017 04 30
Young girl follows gray-haired grandmother close
on narrow trail that winds through ancient woods,
gasping at the hoot of owls, perched on limbs
of hazels swishing in wind, whose gold eyes
glitter from scarlet rays of sunset fire.
Stopping for a moment, young girl stares up
at branches of hazel trees that glow red
from sunset rays streaming through fluttering leaves,
then runs to catch up with her old grandmother
who walks briskly with a tall walking stick.
"Grandmother Aine, I think hazel trees
are whispering words I almost understand."
Emerging from the forest of old trees,
they sit in ancient bower by deep stone well
and set down baskets of apples and pears,
then sit together by the ring of stones
where Aine sparks a fire by striking flints.
"Sweet Boann, daughter of my daughter Brigid,
the hazel trees whisper stories of lives
that all our mothers lived a thousand years.
Close your eyes and listen to rhythmic chant
so you can perceive mysteries they reveal"
Huddled together in purple twilight,
after flames of the sun vanish in gloom,
Aine and Boann eat apples by fire.
Sighing and wiping tears from her blue eyes,
Aine stares long at the empty meadow
that begins to glow from the rising moon
which ascends the sky among flashing stars
like a cow that grazes in meadow of flowers.
"Sweet Boann, child of the river and rain,
my heart aches with sorrow for long-lost days
when dozens of clans from a hundred vales
would gather here on this lush flowered shore
of River Bubindas, meaning white cow,
on this night of each year that we call Beltane.
On this most sacred night of the white fire
we gathered to feast and celebrate summer
when the sun rises reborn from cold death,
then sparked bonfires when we drove herds of cows
to summer pastures where the bees brew honey.
So many people came from miles around
to sing and dance in circles around fires
while Aoibhell played ringing strings of her harp
and sang ancient tales with enchanting voice.
All those people who once danced in this meadow,
when I was a child young as you are now,
are long gone now as dust in wind of time,
for the fire of the sun burns in our hearts
bright with the joyful spirit of wild song,
but at death our souls blow away as smoke
that swirl back up to live among the stars.
Our souls beam down from stars to animate
new-born body of flesh so we may live
our time on this world, dancing with our clan,
but our souls return to stars when we die."
Aine weeps, so tears stream down wrinkled cheeks,
and gazes at ghosts dancing on the meadow,
while Boann stares bewildered at tall grass
that gleams white in moonlight and sways in wind.
Pushing herself to her feet, Aine laughs,
and grasps hand of young girl with flashing eyes.
"Though they are all dead and gone from this world
yet they gaze down at us from gleaming stars,
so we will dance to give their spirits new life.
They may be dead but we are still alive,
and that rebirth is the spirit of Beltane."
Boann and Aine hold hands in moonlight
and dance singing together on lush meadow,
twirling alive with the ghosts of Beltane.