For the ones who did not come home

Thread a bead for me,
Not a rosary:
A bright bubble of blood
From that river in flood
Between the worlds.

Carve a flute for me,
To breathe a memory,
Thread a song from the air,
Where the land is bare
On that distant shore.

Hold a hand for me,
Dream a dream for me,
Of summer days I cannot see,
Woven beneath the oldest tree,
Beyond the door.

Light a fire for me,
Down by that inland sea
Where the stars drink the night
And a bright scarf of light
Dances in the sky.


By Yvonne Aburrow


©️Yvonne Aburrow, 2021. Repost only with clear written credit to me. Please include this copyleft notice and all the information below as well.

The imagery in this poem is Pagan imagery (the World Tree, the river between the worlds in The Ballad of Thomas the Rhymer, the land of the dead being over the ocean). The poem is dedicated to the children who did not come home from residential schools. I woke up this morning with the fragment of a dream in my head with beads being threaded on a string as some sort of remembrance ritual. The poem is an attempt to capture the dream.

Inglenook

By granny’s fire
Burning driftwood.
The dancing flames
Were green and blue.

Fire in the hearth:
The flaming heart
Of an old house,
Place of magic.

A rare fine thing
Seen in old pubs,
Often taken,
Cosy, enclosed,

Liminal place,
Shadowy space,
The inglenook.


A quadrille on the theme of the inglenook, suggested by DVerse. Hat-tip to The Skeptic’s Kaddish.

Featured image: Fireplace by José Claudio Guima on Pixabay (public domain).

Fields of the Sky

My poem for July’s “Name that Vase” competition at The Alchemist’s Studio.

The lines on the vase
Are hedges and paths around
The fields of the sky

Sky people travel
Along the lines, pause to breathe,
Dazed by the blue glaze

The dots are deep wells
Where fresh memories gather
Dew from rising dreams.

It’s time to share our winner and feature another vase in need of a name! Welcome to my monthly feature – ‘Name that Vase’.

Name That Vase – July 2020

Poem: The Earth Child

The Earth Child

by Gerald Gould

Out of the veins of the world comes the blood of me;
The heart that beats in my side is the heart of the sea;
The hills have known me of old, and they do not forget;
Long ago was I friends with the wind; I am friends with it yet.

The hills are grey, they are strange; they breed desire
Of a tune that the feet may march to and not tire;
For always up in the distance the thin roads wind.
And passing out of sight, they pass not out of mind.

I am glad when morning and evening alter the skies;
There speaks no voice of the stars but my voice replies;
When wave on wave all night cries out in its need,
I listen, I understand; my heart takes heed.

Out of the red-brown earth, out of the grey-brown streams.
Came this perilous body, cage of perilous dreams;
To the ends of all waters and lands they are tossed, they are whirled.
For my dreams are one with my body, yea, one with the world.

From The golden book of modern English poetry 1870-1920, selected & arranged by Thomas Caldwell

A Pagan Requiem

I have been thinking for a while that we need more liturgical poetry in Pagan traditions. I have been thinking for a while about the beautiful pieces of music composed for the Requiem Mass, and thinking how great it would be to have a Pagan Requiem – something life-affirming, but acknowledging grief and death. So I wrote one. Feel free to use it – please credit me if you do. If anyone feels like composing some music for it, that would be awesome.

A Pagan Requiem

Elemental

The earth that moved
The air that filled
The fire that flashed
The water that flowed
The body that loved
Are gone, all gone.
We consign
Flesh to Earth,
Breath to the winds,
The fire to ashes,
The water to the deep places.
But the spirit remains,
Enfolded in the embrace
Of the gods.

Mysterium

Love is the mystery,
The ecstasy,
The hidden fire
That moves the world.

Benediction

A life well lived
Is a fit offering to the gods.
Living with honour,
Loving well,
Treading gently,
Weeping with those who mourn,
Lifting up the oppressed.
And creating laughter, joy, and meaning,
This is the blessing of virtue,
The garden of the well-kept spirit,
The strength of the oak,
And the grace of the willow.
Blessed are the mourners,
And a blessing on the one who goes forth
Into the unknown.

Lamentation

The heavens and the Earth weep for them,
And humanity is diminished at their loss.
We who are left behind weep for them,
And they sail across the ocean of our tears.
The season of grief is needful
For the soul’s healing.
And so we weep, and so we weep,
For all that is lost,
For all that we left unsaid,
For the beloved dead.

Sequence

See the soul-boat’s guiding light
On the oceans of the night
Let the pilgrim soul take flight
Across the river of forgetting
To the place where souls are waiting
For their moment of rebirth.

Requiem

May they rest in the arms of the Star Goddess,
In the eternal twilight of the summerlands,
The valley of yews, the hall of heroes,
The islands of the blest,
The unknown regions.

Return

And in due time, may they be reborn
Among those who will love them,
And may they flourish.

Mysterium

Love is the mystery,
The ecstasy,
The mystic marriage
Of matter and spirit,
The hidden fire
That moves the world.

 

Yvonne Aburrow
23 November 2016

Licence: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

Boat at night, by Oregongal, CC0 Public Domain

Boat at night, by Oregongal, CC0 Public Domain, courtesy of Pixabay.

A Meditation: The Trees and the Forest

As we sit in the quiet of this place, breathing softly, each with our own particular concerns, let us be aware of our common humanity. Each of us has our own hidden wellspring of joy, our own experience of sorrow, our unique perspective on the Divine and its relationship with the world.

Let us celebrate the diversity of dreams and visions.

Think of the trees in the woods: each grows into its individual shape to fit its particular place and the events that have shaped its growth, but each is recognisable as one of a species: oak, birch, holly, maple, yew, beech, hawthorn.

Religions are like that too: each has its own unique characteristics, shaped by place, culture and history; but all of them have their roots in the fertile soil of human experience, and all seek the living waters of the divine presence.

Let us honour the beauty and diversity of religions in the world, whilst loving and cherishing our own particular visions and traditions, recognising that we too are rooted in our common humanity, all seeking the nourishment of the endless outpouring of love and wisdom that we call by many names, all of them holy.

Trees (pexels.com) - CC0

Trees (pexels.com) – CC0 Public Domain


I wrote this meditation in 2010, or thereabouts. I thought it would work well in an interfaith or multi-faith setting. Please feel free to adapt it for your particular theological perspective. The phrase ‘the Divine’ is intended here to include deities and multiplicity.