Round about the candle flame
Moths play their dangerous game.
Illuminating their dusty wings
The light tempts those flighty things.
Daringly one tests his fate,
But alas! It is too late!
The flame trapped her foolish prey,
Warning the rest to stay away.
As dawn breaks and lights the sky,
The trees, the brooks, and birds that fly,
I drink deeply from the world around
That’s filled with life, love and sound.
Everywhere adventures wait,
Where I can find the hidden gate
To unlock secrets of the world
That never yet have been unfurled.
Enchanted by youth’s sweet romance
Amongst woodland sprites I sing and dance.
Each living thing speaks to me,
From softest shoot to tallest tree.
Then twilight casts her spangled net
Around the blinding gold sunset.
She whispers that this day is done,
And bids farewell to the sun.
As sleep ushers me to bed
Sweet lullabies fill my head,
And I dream of time gone by,
Of trees, and brooks, and birds that fly.
Hîr I Chorvath
Sen sir am le im linnathon
Min gwanod o athra i aearon,
Uin rhovan dôr od Ennorath
Di ir silivren elenath,
Sin lach sui celair sui miriel
Thanant na i arod Gilthoniel.
I ambar ne apa i rima mornië
Mi raxalë ho i corma laurië,
Nertë nildor hehtae i lómë
Ar oantë i ambar apa undómë,
I perian oantië lá i hisië
Ar quentë ana Endórë namarië!
The Lord of the Rings
Upon this day I will sing to thee
One tale from across the great sea,
Of the wild land of Middle-Earth
Beneath the glittering host of stars,
Those flames as brilliant as jewels
Kindled by the royal Gilthoniel.
The world was on the edge of darkness
Endangered by a golden ring,
Nine friends forsook the night
And journeyed through the twilit world,
The halfling passed beyond the mists
And said farewell to Middle-Earth!
In the sixteenth century there was a schism
‘Twixt the English Church and French Catholicism.
The Scots were caught in between
Until there was born a courageous queen.
In Linlithgow Palace little Mary was born,
On December seventh in the dewy morn.
James the Fifth was her unfortunate father
Who found Mary’s birth quite a bother.
And so he died within the week,
And Mary was crowned before she could speak.
While Mary’s mother ruled Scotland’s throne,
Mary sailed away to France alone
To live with her young husband-to-be:
Prince Francis, the son of King Henri.
In France she learned her lessons well,
And all too soon rang the wedding bell.
One April day Mary wed Prince Francis,
They joint their lands with vows and a kiss.
But two years later their dream would end,
Leaving wounds no length of time could mend.
Queen Mary’s beloved Francis suddenly died,
So she sailed for Scotland with the outgoing tide.
Scotland was dreary and bleak to see,
And forebode of the difficult times to be.
The Catholic queen reigned in a Protestant land,
But she ruled it with a steady hand.
Mary’s cousin Elizabeth was a Protestant queen,
But the British Catholics were none too keen.
They doubted Elizabeth’s legitimacy,
To say nothing of her choice of celibacy.
They wanted Mary for Queen instead,
A fact Elizabeth came to dread.
But Mary stayed in her place,
And gave her cousin her desired space.
She strengthened her position and wed again,
Choosing one who seemed the choicest of men.
He was a member of her own family:
One Henry Stewart, the Lord of Darnley.
But he proved witless and unfit to be king,
And Mary regretted his wedding ring.
Mary had a friend named David Riccio
And Darnley thought he was her Romeo.
So Darnley committed the worst of crimes,
And had Riccio stabbed fifty-six times.
Though heartbroken Mary won her husband back
With something that would put any husband on track.
She gave birth to a beautiful son James,
And swore he was their son despite other claims.
Meanwhile Mary made another male friend,
One who would see to Lord Darnley’s end.
His name was James Hepburn, Lord of Bothwell,
Who decided it was time that Lord Darnley fell.
Darnley was at home in Kirk o’Field
When then and there his fate was sealed.
The house with great force did explode
And Darnley lay dead outside near the road.
However, Queen Mary was struck by no grief,
Indeed she found this to be a great relief.
But she then committed her worst mistake,
By marrying Bothwell, the treacherous snake.
There were many questions about Darnley’s death,
So Mary sought help from Queen Elizabeth.
But Elizabeth responded to this with guile,
By putting her nemesis on murder trial.
Though nothing could be proven either way,
Mary was condemned in England forever to stay.
From her beloved Scotland she was now banned
So for eighteen years her escape was planned.
In Fotheringhay Castle she spent her life,
And embroidered cloth during her time of strife.
Letters she wrote to a young Catholic friend,
But unbeknownst to her each letter she would send
Was read by others in service of the queen,
And all Mary’s schemes were uncovered and seen.
She was tried for plotting against Elizabeth,
And found guilty and sentenced to death.
Dressed in a gown of scarlet red,
She bowed for the executioner to sever her head.
But before he could do this terrible deed
The executioner for forgiveness did plead.
And as he swung and lowered his blade
Her eyes did dim and saw naught but shade.
To this day she hasn’t left our thoughts,
The courageous Mary, Queen of Scots.
Jutras, Marie. “Mary Queen of Scots.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. 2003. 04 May. 2005 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09764a.htm>.
“Mary.” Historic World Leaders. 1994 Biography Resource Center. The Gale Group. 02 May 2005 <http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/BioRC>.
“Mary, Queen of Scots.” Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2nd ed. 17 Vols. 1998 Biography Resource Center. The Gale Group. 02 May 2005 <http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/BioRC>.
“Mary, Queen of Scots.” U*X*L Biographies. 2003 Student Resource Center. The Gale Group. 04 May 2005 <http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/SRC>>.
It’s when all the world turns away from you,
And you feel you are shouting through a veil,
And you think to yourself, “Can this be true?
That no matter what I try I’m bound to fail?”
Hot tears well up in your tired, burning eyes
Taking tremendous force to keep them down.
From your dark depths your quailing spirit cries
And nothing could ever reverse your frown.
Can you hear me friend or will you not?
Will you not break free from your lonesome night?
I will not yield with this battle unfought.
Whatever happens I’ll save you from your plight.
Just know that all things must come to an end,
Time will heal your soul and your heart will mend.
From ancient times your bark did shine,
Silver sheen smothered by harsh weather,
While your drooping branches intertwine
Like lovers’ fingers laced together.
Two leaves you bear of different shape and size,
Some long and thin with paler hue,
Others wide and round like emerald eyes,
Together born in each spring anew.
O linden tree, under your merry boughs
Will sit the one who doth answers speak
And in others new yearnings arouse
To travel their paths and their destinies seek.
The black waters caught the light of the swinging lanterns. The moon had already set, leaving the night blacker than before. The old guards on the docks splashed their faces with water to keep awake. Grains of salt stuck between their eyelashes as they looked up. The night would never end. And yet, somehow, it always did. At long last the silver line of the horizon became visible as the sky warmed into a dull vermilion. When the glowing sun crept above the ocean horizon, it cast shadows in the creases of the guards’ aged faces.
Silhouettes of fishing boats meandered slowly into the sheltered bays. The only sounds that broke the quiet dawn were the splashing waves, the wet rustle of the gasping fish on deck, and the shouts of the young men who leapt to the pier with soggy ropes in hand to tie up the boats. The boats may have belonged to their great grandfathers, and the fishing business had passed from father to son for generations. “And some day, me boy, you’ll have this here boat and stories of yer own ter tell.”
The lads would hear wild stories of how their grandfathers had been out fishing and seen a pod of whales with backs glistening in the moonlight, and the water from their blowholes would spray across the sky like droplets of silver and pearl. They could hear the whales singing to each other, the calls of an undersea nightinggale. Or the would hear of the time when great uncle Bill saw a pirate ship.
“He was so scared lad, thet he didn’t even breathe. He just set there an’ watched the ship go by.”
“How’d he know it was a pirate ship?”
“’Cause of the flag on top. It was too dark to see the pattern, but it was a pirate flag ter be sure. All the other sails were white an’ glowed with the moon, if you follow me. This flag was all black an’ sorta sucked in all the light around it. That’s how he knowed it ter be a pirate ship. ‘Course yer great uncle Bill never thought that pirates might have no interest in a poor little fishin’ dingy.”
The stories played with the boys’ minds, sparking their imaginations to extravagant fantasies. As they grew older they would watch for that ship out at sea. If anyone asked why he was staring blankly at the sea, a lad might say he was only watching for dolphins, and the inquirer would chuckle inwardly to himself as he walked away. “Thet boy’s too int’rested with the sea. Will lose his mind to it if he’s not careful.” But the boy, straining his clear eyes for a black flag on the horizon, would still stand there as is soul streamed forth from his eyes and sunk just beneath the lapping waves.
As the sun lit the salt encrusted docks, villagers began to walk from the little seaside towns with wares to sell. They pushed little carts and trollies to the marketplaces near the waterside. The general noise of the morning rose like the sun, faint at first, but blaring by midmorning.
“Fish for sale! Nice fresh fish!”
And from another corner, “The nicest fish you’ll see fer miles aroun’. Caught jus’ this morning!” Giggling under their lacy parasols and muttering about the unsavory scent of the fish, two young ladies turned away from the vendors. Two carts further on, a sly-looking man with a squint in his eye beckoned to the ladies to admire the delicate silver brooches he had on display. The man gave the fish vendor a smile with the left half of his mouth, then turned to the ladies, his face a charming mask. The fish seller grunted in disgust at the man, then, as a matronly cook approached to bargain for the best price he grimaced through his smile.
At the wharf markets people came and went, came and went. Some people came in a hurry, and pushed past people impatiently to buy what they needed. Then they left as quickly as possible. They were the servants of some wealthy townsperson and had a deadline to meet. Others came as well: fashionably dressed ladies looking at what they wanted their husbands to purchase for them, or young girls admiring the expensive, impractical jewelry and clothing. Trying to see what mischief they could stir up without being caught by their scolding mothers, little boys darted between the legs of people, carts, trollies and horses alike. Their mothers always made the boys feel the age they were, not the age they thought they should be. Then there were those who were dressed in rags, and all they could do was watch the lives that could never be theirs pass them by. A kind lady might offer them half a loaf of bread, or a well-dressed gentleman might hand them a copper coin, maybe even a silver one, but that was all. They lived a life of judgement; they were judging how to survive and the world in turn judged them for it.
The sun passed along its high arc across the sky, and, as it sank behind the rich green hills, it cast long shadows off the carts being packed up. The fishermen rolled their empty barrels back to their boats and threw their tangled nets aboard. They would hurry home to a wife’s hot supper of soup, bread and cheese. The ale was poured by the fisherman’s blossoming daughter who was changing from a freckled, gangly thing into someone beautiful. The only one who really noticed the change was the dark-haired boy a few doors away. The daughter never knew why he had stopped speaking to her, especially because he always used to tease her about her array of freckles and her long, stringy braids.
After a few hours sleep, the fishermen and their sons would rise and go down to the chilled docks. They saw not a soul but the old guards who had nodded off at their posts. The fishermen would climb aboard, deftly untie the ropes, and set sail. They used the smallest breath of wind to push themselves over the black, silent waters, those black waters which reflected nothing but their one, swinging lantern.