Summer Solstice
At the top of the hill, we pause, turn,
look back to the valleys we’ve lost.
It is raining.  Somewhere the sun stands
still.  At midnight, they say, we could gather
fernseed for eyeshadow and see faeries. 
I would rather see myself.

From here I know just how it will be:
Earth and sun both, I will carry us 
into winter, veiled in the solemn golds of autumn.
Each day shorter than the last, and me,
steeling us against the longer nights.
I will love you as my light fades.

Tonight is no night for faeries – 
Still, I carry rue in my pocket 
to protect me from pixies; and you
the god of the oak, burning brightest
before you fall to the goddess of holly.
I would not let you take me again.

What of it?  We could spend this hilltop night 
keeping watch in a circle of stones, 
wake to madness, death, or poetry.
I am afraid that in the dawn
I would only see you.
Before you I had no fear of faeries.

I have come, in the rain, to reclaim this night.
I will cast my rue on the ground before
your feet, but I can no longer give
you my sunlight, won’t trade my daylight
hours for your moonpaths and oak trees.
I will roll your burning wheel into the river

and pray to see myself beneath the fernseed,
shining in the waves after the rain.


21 June 2001

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