As the days wane short to midwinter’s night
and the Holly King, crowned at Samhain, rules
a darkened world in shadows without light,
the cold earth hibernates, waiting for Yule.
In the deep fetid sleep of seeming death
the spirit of the land is gray and slow;
and the Holly King, with his every breath
hides root and leaf, the living world, with snow.
His reign is filled with sorrow, lost in dreams,
as through the bitter, stagnant months he reigns;
There is no joy within his heart, it seems,
as mists and fog shut out what light remains.
Yet in these bleak and desolate, dark days
the child of Oak is born, whose time is come;
He is the future prince, whose sunlit ways
will strike a blow to turn the old king dumb.
There in the fires of Yule, his eye is bright,
and ‘gainst the Holly King he sets his lance;
the wizened old dark lord attempts to fight,
but soon must yield to Oak and summer’s dance.
Upon the field of snow, they raise their arms –
the fledging Oak Prince and the aging King;
and with a blow that strikes a deadly harm,
the younger seeks the crown, and wins the thing.
He mourns the elder’s death; then offers song
to waken the still sleeping, darkened world.
And with his voice, that grows and soon is strong,
the seed and root rejoice, and are unfurled.
The light of life now shines; the world awakes
and shakes the winter’s slumber from its eyes.
The throne the mighty Oak King then retakes
and sends his song to earth, and sea and skies.
20 DEC 2002