Give Me the Words: A Bardic Rhapsody of Winter Feasts
Give me the words, let them form. The stories that course through my mind, weaving like star-light knotted into pitchers, pouring out the Milky Way across the onyx sky. Give me the words that break the silence, give me the song that conquers fear. Let me feel life in me, hot life, blazing Yule log on the longest night and candle held aloft, banishing the demons with a carol’s cry.
Give me all, not a little, but all, flood me with the bardic grace, dancing in my thoughts, making me the instrument of wind through wood, the whistle pricks ears to listen. There are so many tales, so many growing wild in shepherd’s kingdom. How can I pick them all? Let me gather them together in my cloak, and drop them, like roses to the ground, and show the image imprinted on the material to all who will look.
Give me the brush-touched majesty of morning, with fog forming from human breath and playing with the shadows of memory. Let me feel the life of music running through my hair with the desert’s exhalation, and let me memorize the tales it whispers to me. Let me show them my heart, bursting out of my breast, burning like an ember of ruby red. How can I contain it all myself?
Proclaim the miracles, it is said…but how can I catch them all in these small hands, like fireflies darting, or falling stars, cold crystal that burns. I am haunted by the hunting, the searcher and the sought in the heart of night. Tell me how to clutch the lyre’s notes, or the lamb’s bleating. How am I to let it all out, oh, beckoning beacon, burning me live, like the bush that would not be consumed?
Touch my lips with the coal, that I may know the taste of fire. Then I might touch the oil that would not burn out after Maccabeus’ victory, and the log of the Celts blazing hard through the solstice night, and the Star, angel hair and trumpet’s gleam, and the Glory of the Lord that strikes men dumb. May I then meet the Daughter of Israel who has become Mother of All? Show me the sea-star’s eyes, and I will follow them across the water.
Give me the words to free me, and free the world! Let me stand in the great chasm of time and eternity, and the thin veil life and death, anguish and ecstasy, laughter and tears. It is wandering on a knife’s edge over a special infinity, and none can walk it but me and Thee. It is our place where no one else can come.
It burns me, it burns me! The fear of it, oh, how afraid I can become! How great is love, and how little am I! Little enough, perhaps, to find you with the straw tangled in your curls. The world may have grown deaf, but I am small enough to cry out to the mightiest of kings, “Do you hear what I hear?”
I see eyes from out of the past glancing, feel hearts pounding like a poor boy’s drum, and hear songs racing through a history of troubled souls, and I want to sing them out, so the universe will reverberate with such tones and call forth healing unto them. Will you give me what it takes to wake the world from winter’s slumber?
Let me taste the snowflakes on my tongue, of which no two are same, like the stories of kings and peasants, magic and mayhem, fire and ice, and the circle we all form. Let me feel the moon’s light filtering through the thickest clouds, lighting up my face, and calling forth the returning sun, climbing through the height of winter’s agony.
Breath of Heaven, breathe through me as if through silver, purifying all, that my soul may be clean as white snow and warm as white flame. Let every story, every thought woven by me, be spun of thread not of my own. Let it be the chain that joins the stars, the glory of frigid sheet of deepest ebony, or that which runs the twinkling tinsel around Boniface’s tree, and causes a twinkling in children’s eyes.
Holly and Oak battle on as the Crone mourns, but the Evergreen remains the last guardian. Let me be that tree, so that the scent of pine will remind the world that someone must have meant it. I will be a singing sentinel, and that which breathes life into death. The raven has no part with the pine, nor the blackthorn with the dove. But the lion shall lie down with the lamb, and a Child shall lead them.
Give me the words, let them form. Let them form and fuse like steel, and shatter the stones of Hell. Let us find, again, the child in us all so that we may go unshod upon the grass of glory as the most ferocious frost fades away.
By Avellina Balestri