Light, the subtlest magic,
the tinged fingers of shadow,
prismed seeping from hue to hue,
a rose petal blushed pink gold,
and falling palest lemon,
white browned with the age of dying,
blue indigo ipomea—
look again—the purples curl fuchsia,
gilding the green,
elusive reptilian, amber-eyed.
Where did they go,
the certainties of painted palettes?
Into the wind with ephemera and spring-song,
the dew drops drunk by new turned earth.
Quick the light is changing
after dawn of watery gloom and noon
of crow-call and the sweep of buzzards’ wings
the evening spills a palette of oiled light
firing the damp green emerald bright
and daring the velvet star-dimpled night.
So stark the dark of this year’s ending
burned black and silent when birds should sing
but here and there are bright lights burning
friendships soft as feathered wing
and through the night the lights are shining
stars and owl song flutter bright
to frosty dawn the world is turning
perhaps some peace this year will bring.
Stop and listen to the singing
of the thrush, the sunlight bringing
motes of gold, drifting earthwards
and a soaring flock of songbirds
sketched upon a winter sky.
Leap, with the kestrel fly
high above the sweeping dry
and seed-pod rattling grasses,
watch where her shadow passes;
that’s where the small things lie.
Take this day in trembling hands,
close your fingers on its sands,
on its colours bright, and keep
its golden light when rain clouds weep
their cold stony tears.
deep dark and purple black
night songs in owl velvet
the midnight blue wind—
daffodil gold light
washing moon-pale banks of morning
powder blue and pastel
as Corot’s palette.
Evening falls and falls
until the glow of gloaming turns to gloom of night,
yet there is always light somewhere
to bridge the dark,
in eyes where stars settle, pearls,
in pools of limpid water silvered by the moon.
I dip my hand into the water.
Your smile ripples back.
when the light is muddied
by the day dragging faded glitter
through the streams of night.
a ripple of farewell to the sun
and shadows move from their lairs
beneath the trees.
uncertain as the notes
that rise and fall fading
as feathers settle.
Buttercups hold the last gold
in cupped petals
and all that breathes is hushed
watching the muddied uncertain
sigh and sift the silver
of the rising moon.
light like water
drips from sky to ditch and stream
rises in dusk mist
Dimpled dappled sunbright
Moonmilk silvered starnight, you I see.
Today and tomorrow, we celebrate Imbolc, Brigid’s fire festival, midway between the winter and spring solstices, when the ewes start to give milk, the first spring flowers appear, and the end of the winter is in sight. This small poem is inspired by Paul Militaru’s splendid photographs that you can see here. There may well be more.
Fires will blaze,
feet tread in the darkness,
soft and silent,
while faces of the wild,
waiting for the spring.
Flames lick the dead wood,
burn up the old,
light the new,
and in the ashes,