(Picks up where Sleigh Ride left off)
Over the hills they went, dashing through vales
and around mountain’s feet into Shayari.
They turned west to follow the star’s bright tail.
Skating down the River Nirthal, a plea
made them stop and Ran jumped out of the sleigh.
Women with ivy in their braided hair,
danced in a ring, weaving voices that pray
into polyphonic bliss on the air.
They broke ranks to tie ribbons on the boughs
of the enchanted forest, each a prayer
fluttering for someone lost that year, though
still remembered by those death spared that year.
“Momma,” Ran said and nothing more, his loss
still fresh though it had been months since her loss.
~ ~ ~
Ran wiped tears on his mittens then offered
one in mem’ry, but Sarn put the mitten
on his son’s hand; guilt pulled; anger buffered.
He refused to leave a single token.
Soot she deserved, not fabric memorial.
He hugged his son tight, saw he wasn’t alone
in abstaining, some testimonials
remained writ on the heart, no stone or groan
or outward mark of that grief,
not all tied off’rings to the departed.
Between the wind tossed scraps, shadows gathered
into tattered creatures, mad wights parted
the growing crowd; their vile presence shattered
the peaceful remembrance of the new dead
spreading horror at the unquiet dead.
~ ~ ~
Sarn stood fast, his magic a green blaze of light
encircling him, his shiv’ring son and three
others who stood near frozen by the sight.
Bells rang, first tinkling, then jingling with glee.
Their voices high and clear, low and res’nant,
ding-donging a carol of bells accomp’nied
by dancing, bell-ringing women cel’brants
whose bright song, the wights, their power denied.
From old pagan rites, fallen pantheons,
half-forgotten gods and nature spirits
they drew power and inscribed pentagons
with their whirling, bell-ringing dance, spirits
and sprites, good and true joined their chiming chant,
with sibilant voice, their power, they grant.
~ ~ ~
Battle of the Bells
Behind them, monks in disapproving ranks
raised a chorus, a carol of bells, sung
by imitating bells’ ding donging clank
with words changed to knock pagan down a rung:
“Hark! Hear them ring,
sweetly they sing.
Angels take wing;
bells give them wings.
The King they bring.
At dark they swing;
no trap it brings,
to the cross cling.”
The wights shrieked and scrambled to get away
before the women broke in with their song,
their refutation of new and strange ways
that asserted that the old rites were wrong:
“Sing song, ding dong–
spring comes with song;
winter’s not long.
Old ways aren’t wrong;
they keep us strong.
Tie your sarong,
go hit your gong,
ring in the throng.”
Moved by this dispute of song and bell, spells
and old rites, the crowd chimed in, divided,
some swayed by the missionaries, did yell
while other folk, with the women sided:
“Bells bring good cheer;
all gather near.
The song to hear;
the truth makes clear.”
“Our savior’s here;
angels shed tears;
for He appears;
to him adhere.”
merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas!
Merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas!
~ ~ ~
The story continues in Berry Wight.
~ ~ ~
For your listening pleasure, this is the melody referenced in the poetic sequence above. I wrote my own lyrics for my characters to sing, since the music is public domain but the lyrics sung in the YouTube video are not. I’m walking a fine with this series; I want to pull in all my favorite holiday tropes but at the same time I have to be careful of copyrights and not infringe on them. That’s where creativity comes in right?
This is closest to how the song sequences in the Battle of the Bells (above) sounds in my head with lots more bells of course!