Thursday, April 16, 2009

Poetry month

April in the US is National Poetry Month. As a fili, this is something near and dear to my heart. Over on my LJ, I've been posting a poem a day. Some of them are short. Some of them are bad. Some of them are actually pretty good. When at the Altar of the Flame is one of the poems that has resulted so far.

I'll admit that I don't always keep up my poetic practice. My prose writing looms large in my life -- essays for anthologies, writing on my LJ about my life and about activist interests, and trying hard to get things done for my books are all important to me as well. Yet poetry, even when I'm doing it badly, gives me a way to reach more deeply into my spiritual life and helps to refine both my personal practice and my philosophies about how I see CR and what I do both privately and in community. 

A month or so ago I wrote lyrics for a song for the local group. I posted those on my LJ, along with a link to the original tune I wrote them to. We've used the song a couple of times as a group and it seems to have been well-received. It's a song for acknowledging the three realms of land, sea and sky and for the three fires of the land spirits, the ancestors, and the deities. Much more remains to be done within the CR community in terms of songs and ritual poetry that doesn't have to be borrowed from the Neopagan community or from modern Druidic groups like the ADF. There's something important about creating our own liturgical materials and sharing them within our communities. Shared liturgy helps create a shared sense of community, particularly when we're all so scattered around the globe.

A lot of the secret of writing poetry is found in sitting down and writing it. Technique is important. Emotional impact is important. Rhyme and rhythm are important. But none of that matters if you don't sit down and put your pen to paper.

The music doesn't happen if you don't sing.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

When at the Altar of the Flame

burn juniper
plucked by your own hand
sung over with spells and charms

with the water of wells and of rasps
wash your face and hands
singing "gabhaim molta bride"

the flame is passed from hand to hand
rough, calloused fingers
used to work of forge and pen
of weaving and ploughing and toil

her hand the hand of sister
of brother
of uncle and aunt
of cousin and parent and child
her hand the hand of the world

sing to the spark between your palms

light your lamp