Can't think of anything much to say this morning, so I'll let someone else have a word instead. This is a previously unpublished poem by David Britton, 'A Winter Harvest'.
I am a servant in Summer's Kingdom
I keep mum, and bow and scrape all day
Eat gratefully whatever scraps are given.
It is no imposition. Whether waking
Or sleeping, I lie happy on a level with the clay
And have nothing whatever to think or to say.
But the first frosts waken reflection, and the chill
Strikes a summoning bell, and I sit up sharp
Sensing my old retainers are with me still
- Mist, and the smell of woodsmoke, and a faint
Rain in the air. I make then my claim to the throne
Of Samhain. I am crowned, begin to intone
And at last to sing, drinking from the chilled wine
That is put out for me. I walk later around
December's fields, and love to find oblivion
In the big trees, whose memory has gone
Beneath the deepest root and the hardest rock in the ground.
There is a mist-gap there, a break in the line
Of being, and beneath that the great caverns
That are my kingdom. Here, where the booming sound
Is made, of bardic verse, where the blood-life is denied
And everything translated into nothingness
- Here is the workshop of all shape, all blood, all livingness.
Here is a sky beyond the sky, and ice-blue dome
Full of the black messengers of death, of the end
Of the seeing eye, of the hearing ear, of confined mind.
Here, when all shape and matter's been refined
I put away my hammer and my fire, ascend
Into the upper world, where land still wears the veil
Of a life-illusion, where the trees are still asleep
But I can read the dreams that are on their faces
Now that the solstice is long past. There is a pale
Look of a living bought by death in the March air
And everywhere suggestions and the traces
Of that nought before all being, that the world reaps
From the chanted harvest in the hidden deeps.