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Night of a Bard
~~~~~~~~~~~
 
It is late at night as I stand by my car
Play with the dogs who bark at the stars
The leaves they scratch as they blow on the ground
Passing through time as they blow all around
A car passes by in the distance somewhere
As I sip my coffee in the cool night air
The trees are quiet and as still as can be
As they focus on morning with eyes that can't see
A breeze touches my cheek, and a chill down my spine
As I sit and I wonder what would be the next line
I have done all my chores and should be in my bed
But there is something that lingers inside of my head
Something I can't find inside of my room
Its walls all around me like some sort of tomb
And yet I am closer when I walk around outside
Like I am the groom and she is my bride
I can close my eyes and she will be there
Her hair flowing down and her skin is so fair
As I feel her touch the side of my cheek
She makes a sound but not if to speak
For she is there all around me with the rustling leaves
As she speaks to my heart with the words that she weaves
I know I must go, go soon to sleep
Back in my room where the silence will creep
But we touched for a moment outside in the yard
For she is my mistress and I am her bard.
 
Jan 00
 
SpellQuest
 
"Never Again The Burning"
Gale Perrigo
copyright 1985
 
It is always the morning of my execution....
 
...I know they will come for me today.
Last night the jailer pulling up his trousers,
Sneered, "Perhaps you'll fancy the pole
They give you in the morning more than mine,
Stubborn Bitch." I think
He like it better when I had strength
And spirit enough to fight him.
He si too stupid to lie just to torment me.
I will welcome death, though the dying scares me...
I was a healer - how long ago? Oh, Gods,
I cannot think straight anymore! And I know
That their gross insults to my body will never mend.
And the pain is constant, and they have sworn me
That I will go to the fire conscious and aware.
My Goddess, I am sick to my very soul with shame;
At the last I gave them screaming what they wanted,
Mouthed any obscenity they asked, I told them
What they told me to say. My sanity remains
Only because Your names go with me to the pyre,
And the grave beyond, and only there.
Oh, Beloved, if I could only see you
One last time, that your clean spirit's fire
Could rid me of this filth and fear...
The crowd gathers now.
I hear them outside, laughing, festive -
Gods grant I will be entertaining enough -
I wonder if these pious souls who in the past
Have asked my help will mourn me?
Well, I shall be glad to quit this stinking cell -
The rats grow bolder as I decline -
Oh, Mother, give me strength!
I hear the guards outside.
"What," I taunt, "three of you
All for one small half-starved wench?
Indeed, terrible I must be!"
They have the grace to look ashamed,
The youngest one grown pale and horrified
At the sight of me; I delivered his wife
Of a fine strong son not many weeks ago,
But now I dare not ask how the child fares.
"Nay, you must carry me or drag me,
My fine bravos - these ruined feet will never
Bear my weight again. I fear I danced too long
With your good priest and his fine Spanish boots."
They haul me to my feet and the pain -
I will not scream again for their amusement!
I must go naked, then, to my death before these fools?
I would not have them see me so, who danced
Naked for the Goddess, graceful and free,
On winged feet without a trace of shame.
Their avaricious eyes defile me, as their
Twisted priests defiled me body's temple...
There are many strangers here in the square,
Churchmen and villagers from all the country round -
I am to be a marvelous, far-felt lesson, I see.
They bind me to their stake, too tight, more agony -
The splintering pole claws my raw back,
My shoulders wrenched and cramping, the rough rope
Burning my wrists. My legs will not support me,
And I sag in my bonds, and I fill with terror,
As a pitcher with muddy water. A priest approaches -
Oh, Goddess, must I suffer them even now?
The crowd protests the cup in his hands.
He exhorts them gently: his sect bears mercy towards all,
Malice towards none, and might not even such as I
Be saved at the bitter end?
I don't know this one. I fight to raise my head,
To spit in his face, for one last shred of defiance -
Mother of All, no! Not you - here!
How have you come, Beloved,
To trade your green robes for their black,
Your antlered crown for their cross?
Surely I dream, I dream...
But now I smell your clean scent,
And your dear presence cloaks me in peace.
Rage fires in your eyes, but your pure love
Sustains me, strengthens me and warms me.
You brush the hair back from my face -
The cup you hold gently to my bruised lips I gave you
At our handfasting - softly you whisper,
"Drink deep of salvation, my dear love,"
And your voice, harsh with unshed tears,
Rips at my soul and my own tears begin, and fully
Do I drink of your deep eyes and the chalice,
And the taste of the flying herbs burst upon my tongue,
Belladonna, aconite, dark sweet dreams...
They are coming now with the fire.
Almost you linger too long, haunted eyes on mine,
But as sleep steals over me I see you melt
Safely into the throng.
I am drifting now; I hear my mother singing, far away -
Strange, she has been dead these many years -
The pain is gone. I am a little girl again - I am safe,
My mother is calling me and I run gladly into her arms...
But in the room I have left behind, someone has been careless
With the supper, Mother, they must turn the spit faster,
For I can smell the roasting meat burning,
And the dinner guests are shouting...
 
I wake in a cold sweat, and cannot drink
From the glass you bring me. Oh, sisters, hear:
Our daughters must not dream these dreams!
We must defend ourselves, stand with our brothers,
And make the arsonists let us be.
Oh, sisters, hear: Never again,
Never again the burning.
 
 
I stood there watching the flames grow higher
Why was this girl being brought to this fire?
Wondering what she could have possibly done.
While the people seemed to be having such fun
 
After all she still had her family and friends
One person said she must pay for all her sins
How was this right in the eyes of any God?
These people standing around acting so odd.
 
The flames began to grow getting ever higher
My tears could never have quenched such a fire
What lesson could be learned from this girl's pain?
To feed the hunger of these people gone insane
 
So I lifted my voice to be heard above the crowds roar
What about compassion, forgiveness, what are they for
I tried to use reason, but they would have it none.
I could not stop this evil that they had begun
 
So I asked the Goddess to spare the girl pain
When clouds opened up and it started to rain
But the water didn't wash away the crowd's fear
What started that night would go on for years
 
I thought I'd be next to hear the crowds call
To be one of the many who would surely fall
So into the woods I went to sit by a tree
Why can't this ignorance finally be set free?
 
But still they beat the embers back into a flame
They are always looking for someone else to blame
So I will hide in the woods and practice my art
For the Love of the Goddess who resides in my heart.
 
SpellQuest
 
Dec 99
 
 
 
An Empty Box???
 
The story goes that some time ago, a man was upset with
his 3-year-old daughter for wasting a roll of gold wrapping
paper. Money was tight and he became infuriated
when the child tried to decorate a box to put under the
Christmas tree. Nevertheless, the little girl brought
the gift to her father the next morning and said,
"This is for you, Daddy." He was embarrassed by his earlier overreaction,
but his anger flared again when he found the box was
empty. He yelled at her, "Don't you know that when you
give someone a present, there's supposed to be something
inside it?"
 
The little girl looked up at him with tears in her
eyes and said, "Oh, Daddy, it is not empty. I blew kisses
into the box. All for you,Daddy."
 
The father was crushed. He put his arms around
his little girl, and he begged for her forgiveness. It is
told that the man kept that gold box by his bed for years and
whenever he was discouraged, he would take out an imaginary kiss
and remember the love of the child who had put it
there. In a very real sense, each of us as humans have
been given a gold container filled with unconditional love
and kisses from our children, friends, family or God. There
is no more precious possession anyone could hold.
 
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