Today is Imbolc or Candlemas, the feast of the Celtic goddess Brighid (Exalted One), or Brigit, Bride, Bree, Brigantia, Brig, and later the Christian St. Brigid. She was the daughter of the Dagda in Gaelic Myth, one of the Tuatha De Danaan. Originally a fire goddess, she later was known as goddess of the threshold between this world and the next and of healers, smiths, childbirth, sacred springs, poets and inspiration, among others.
Since I had little time to write this evening (thanks to the final season première of Lost!) I will make this post brief.
I was looking through my old poems today from various notebooks. I’m trying to copy all my poetry into digital form, a project that may take a long time, and I was also looking for something to submit for a local contest. I came across this one from a few years back. It seems to summon for me a feeling of this time of year, the midpoint between winter and spring, when the subtle energies of Life begin to stir in the earth again. And with it inspiration for me to get out and do more with the kids, and to draw and paint and write! Here it is:
First brief thaw of winter, mid January.
Gliding back into the ancient swamp-forest on softly hissing skis
the clear silence of the cedar snow immensity soothes me.
Smooth deep breaths; gliding, pausing, gliding on through
green pine shadow and tender afternoon light.
I smell sweet moisture in the air,
released from long ice captivity in the bone-chilled earth.
The scent awakens a primal joy nestled deep within my body.
Sunlight, water, distant haze of mist softens
pale blue winter sky to pink.
The memory of nose and eyes comes alive
with an ancient whisper;
life stirs in sluggish slumber beneath the snows,
below the frozen root and stone. Life.
Within the huddled trunk and limb. Within the momentary
dream of winter. A stirring in the breeze and in my blood.
I flow further on to the wooded heart, arms and legs
in wondrous rhythm, snow still thick and shaded,
animal tracks crisscross my path.
I stop again
where bubbling water rises from whiteness,
dark and gay, to slip away,
the music of the stream so crisp and clear it fills my mind,
I stand and stare. And listen.
The silver call of a bird. Woodpecker.
The marching trees to every side swallow mist and light
into grey mystery. Perfume of pine and cedar and animal life.
Ahead, behind, The snow glows with a soft fairy light,
my path reflecting the pale colors of the sunset sky
in a trillion crystal facets.
Finally I turn and start back to the outer world,
as twilight glows with a fiery swirl beyond the wood.
I hear another sound, like flames and trickling water:
the breeze above stirring the dry leaves of a beech.
All around me, Fire and Water, Earth and Air.
In the dead of winter,
the elements of life abound!
That’s all for tonight. May Brighid’s Fire warm your soul, and hasten the coming of Spring!