Tuesday, 5 April 2011

An Echo of Old Magic and Old Song

A good firm path - dry, with a good surface. Firm, secure fencing. Someone cares for this place - or cares enough to separate me from the woods. Perhaps the steepness of the slope and the looseness of the surface motivates that someone - he or she would rather those passing through didn't slide, tumble and crash into the river below. Or maybe there are beasts in the wood.

I hope there are beasts - or at least the memory of beasts. The wolves, bears and boars who once owned these woods - and the magic folk too. The trolls, the gnomes - and is that flash of white a glimpse of the unicorn. It can't be a wind blown supermarket carrier bag, can it!

On a wild night you must stay even more firmly on this path. Or else suffer the fate of Tam Lin - perhaps without a true love to save you from that mad ride into the gates of Hell.

gloomy was the night
and eerie was the way.
this lady in her green mantle
to miles cross she did go.

with the holy water in her hand
she cast the compass round.
at twelve o'clock the fairy court
came riding o'er the mound.

first came by the black steed
and then came by the brown.
then tam lin on the milk-white steed
with a gold star in his crown.

she's pulled him down into her arms
and let the bridle fall.
the queen of fairies she cried out
young Tam Lin is away.

The darkness is always close by - the legends are part of our heritage. The magic of these places - however safe they're made - is the deep magic of England. Step off the path and into the woods and listen carefully - you may hear the song of our ancestors. A song of woods, of trees and of the security that light and a clear view bring. It is a fine song.


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