Hallowtide

SOON BE TIME

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Received English version

Watch yourself as it’ll soon be time
that the tall hawthorn hedge
that bars you from other worlds
becomes thin this season
in it’s cloud ghosted ditch
so folk from the other side
can bleed through to ours
and you’ll see these weird folk
walk outside your door.

 Burn a candle in your home
 and light lanterns, jack o’lanterns,
 candles outdoors to show
 the weird folk, spirits and all
 the direct way back. We don’t
want them to detour where
they are not welcome. Respect them
 and they’ll respect you.

 This night light a fire
 in your hearth
 to protect yourself
 or better yourself.

 Write on a scrap a paper
 a part of your life
 that you wish to be rid off,
 such as anger, a baneful habit,
 misplaced feelings, disease.

 Throw it in the flame
 so you may lose
 that part you’re ashamed of

Yorkshire Dialect version

Watch thee sen as time fetches on
as tall hawthorn hedge that bars
tha from t’other worlds
in its cloud ghosted ditch
gets thin this season so as folk
from other side can fetch them
sens over an bleed through to ours
and tha’ll see these weird folk
take a stride outside thee door.

Blaze a candle in tha home
and set a flicker lanterns, jack o’lanterns,
candles outdoors to show
the weird folk, spirits and all
direct way back to where
they bide from, so as they don’t
detour where they’re not welcome.
Respect them, they’ll respect thee.

This night light a fire
in tha hearth
for to protect thee sen
or better thee sen.

Scribe on a scrap a paper
a part of thee life
tha wish to be rid on
anger, a baneful habit,
misplaced feelings, disease.

Lob it int flame
so tha may lose
that part tha ashamed on.

THIS SAMHAIN, ALL HALLOWS EVE

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on your table place a skull,
small animal skeletons
of shrews, mice, rats disgorged by
forest owls. Lay your gravestone
rubbings as welcome placemats.

Down the centre carved pumpkins,
squash, carrots, swede amongst pine nuts,
walnuts and berries, and dark
breads, rye, pumpernickel, dried
yellow, red leaves, open fir cones.

Fill a cornucopia
with abundant fruit, apples, pears,
leeks. Fill each cup with apple cider,
sweet wine, or honey mead.

Light all with fragrant candles,
to flicker over the plenty.

The table is a thankyou,
a blessing on the goodness.

Go outside, collect dead plants,
to twist and turn and mold a man
or woman to bring inside,
and place on the table.

Give thanks to them and your dead
ancestors before you eat.

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This Samhain

on your table place a skull,
 small animal skeletons
 of shrews, mice, rats disgorged by
 forest owls. Lay your gravestone
 rubbings as welcome placemats.

 Down the centre carved pumpkins,
 squash, carrots, swede amongst pine nuts,
 walnuts and berries, and dark
 breads, rye, pumpernickel, dried
 yellow, red leaves, open acorns.

 Fill a cornucopia
 with abundant fruit, apples, pears,
 leeks. Fill each cup with apple cider,
 sweet wine, or honey mead.

 Light all with fragrant candles,
 to flicker over the plenty.

 The table is a thankyou,
 a blessing on the goodness.

 Go outside, collect dead plants,
 to twist and turn and mold a man
 or woman to bring inside,
 and place on the table.

 Give thanks to them
 before you eat.

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cold surface

We do not make love
 when every spring
 in the bed is an uncomfortable
 truth.

 Before you sleep
 I massage your face.
 It is alabaster.
 I kiss its cold surface.

 As routine demands
 you turn your back
 on me, pull
 the duvet towards you.

 I smooth the duvet
 into your curves,
 and kiss the meshed fibres,
 where once, years ago,
 I would have smoothed
 your hot nakedness.

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commital

White autumn mist hangs gently
in the valley as I walk
down the steep hill
a philip’s screwdriver
in my inside pocket
for if the casket has to be opened.
I wish to recall every detail.

Carry Nana’s ashes in a pine casket,
secured by six philip screws
with four thin white strings attached,
held on by six gold pins
and this in a brown cardboard box
that has her name printed in black felt tip
on one of its leaves,

and this in a strong red paper
carrier with two gold rope like handles,
and I am surprised how heavy
it is in my hands and have to bend
my knees to pick it up. It squeaks
like new shoes when I walk.

Careful not to lose
the certificate of cremation,
I stand at the bus stop
opposite the half completed

new estate of houses built
on land I knew last year
as a cornfield where discarded
energy cans and crisp bags
lined the edge.

I walk up the hill
to the church to meet the vicar
dressed in white with gold detailing.
He asks ” Do you want the casket
to be lowered in the grave
by the verger or yourself?”
I give my answer.

I lay the casket on the Lord’s table
as requested, the vicar speaks
of the resurrection and the life,
quotes revelation about the lamp
and the world without night.

I follow him and verger
down the hill of graves
past bushes full of bright red berries,
brown mushrooms flourishing
on rotten soaked wood,

kneel on the green rubber kneeler,
beside the prepared hole
under an oak tree in leaf fall
and lower the casket down
with the white string,

the gold of her nameplate
on top of the casket contrasts
with the dark clayey soil.
We say the Lord’s prayer.

Verger leaves the earth
on the grave slightly raised
so it may settle, agrees
to green bin my cardboard box

and paper carrier. I shake
his hand and say “Thankyou.”
Walk down the hill to the bus.
No screwdriver was needed.

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World Knackered Up

PROLOGUE

 The Beloved’s bairns are Bold Light
 and blind Dark Battle
 Clever One fashions a dart
 from a birdlime twig

 teaches Dark how to play darts
 helps him throw his twig
 at Bold Light. The light goes out.

 The Beloved weeps in grief.
 Clever One has two sons,
 The Threaping One is turned
 into a wolf who tears apart

 his brother, Thin. Thin’s
 entrails harden into iron.
 Clever One is bound to three
 stones with these iron entrails.

 A snake drips venom
 on Clever’s bonce causing
 him pain, so his wife called
 Victory’s Friend collects

 the drips in a bucket
 before they reach his head,
 only when she leaves
 to empty the bucket

 more drips bounce off
 his bonce and he writhes
 in pain and earth quivers
 till the World’s end.

 ALWAYS WORLD’S END

 as outside dark and chill sets in
 thas snug in World’s End pub
 far side of Knaresborough Bridge
 that’s fallen dahn twice,

 and another fall means end
 of all tha knows and loves
 tha’ll ponder false
 Mam Shipton’s prophecies

 and teddies calcifying
 in Petrifying Well
 and raise tha ale up in celebration
 when three winters without summers

 wolves eat sun and moon
 stars disappear in sky,
 earthquakes shake mountains
 uproots trees, all binds snap
 beasts break loose,
 Clever One’s iron bonds break.

 Sup as deep ocean twists, writhes
 whips land, spits poison stains
 on earthshift, soiltremble.

 Swig as a keratin ship of the dead’s
 untrimmed fingernails
 and toenails captained
 by the Clever One

 planks made of little moons
 loosens
 from its moorings
 so tha munt gi thee dead folk
 a decent pedicure afore tha buries
 or burns them to fine urn ash.

 Grieve at tha empty glass
 as red cock crows to the big lads
 and lasses, golden cock
 to the bosses, a third cock
 raises the dead

 Fetch thi sen another gil
 as a bloody maw has one jaw
 scrape earth, the other sky
 swallows all in-between
 as it gapes

 a boot on the lower
 and a hand on the upper
 jaw pushes them apart
 widens the mouth into death

 Enjoy thee fag outside
 as earth’s ash tree
 One Eye’s gallows
 shivers and shakes
 as its roots are
 bitten in two.

 Tha folk set on each other,
 hard is it as lads and lasses
 shag owt with a pulse
 fist-time, boot-time,
 sense sundered
 gust-time, beast-time

 as tha waits on.
 “Hurry up please. It’s time.”

 AFTER WORLD

 Glow flicks open
 eyelids of morning after
 bleary mist of another
 day, another time.

 Fields unsowed
 bear ripened fruit,
 all ills grow better,
 Bold Light comes back.

 Earth rises again from sea,
 beautiful and green.

 Verve and Zest, lad and lass
 hidden in the wood,
 beneath earth’s ash
 One Eye’s gallows
 sup morning dew.

 Sun has a daughter
 who follows
 same path
 as her mam.

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