By Echolocation
Date: 2004 Jul 02
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Through the forest black by path and track
The eager shadows come
Through the velvet night by the pale moonlight
To the sound of a woodland drum

The track winds and bends till at last it ends
At a meadow wide and white
And the bright full moon makes a silvery noon
Of the deep midsummer night.

The withered crone decks the altar stone
With myrtle and ivy vine
And around and about and in and out
The wild white roses twine.

Their hearts are proud, their drums beat loud,
Their steps are free and light
And a soft breeze blows as a low chant grows
By the flickering firelight.

The maiden queen surveys the scene
As she stands there tall and fair
Sweetly she sings to summon the king
With flowers in her hair.

The bare brown feet keep a throbbing beat
And the evening air is mild
It smells of musk and a summer dusk
And of roses white and wild.

A crescendo of drums and the tall stag comes
Raising his horned head high
And the people rejoice with one strong voice
As the young king passes by.

The stag steps alone to the altar stone
The maiden smiles slow and sweet
As the stag bows down his antlered crown
And the god and goddess meet.

Not a stag but a man now in pride he stands
In his dark eyes a lambent glow
And he leads her alone behind the stone
Where the wild white roses grow

Now the Beltane fire burns high and higher
Sweet applewood scents the air
And mother moon sings a wanton tune
To her children gathered there.

Here and there they begin to pair
And soon any who dared to pass
Would hear soft-voiced cries and whispered sighs
From the fragrant meadow grass.

The quiet dark and the fire's spark
And the milky full-moon's light
Shed gentle blessings on love's caressings
And on roses, wild and white.

But the night grows old and the dew falls cold,
The fire burns low and red
With sated hearts the figures depart
Drifting home to their quiet beds.

When all have gone, from behind the stone
The god and goddess come
A blink of the eye and a stag walks by
And the maid steals softly home

Deserted and chaste lies the empty space
And all that the meadow knows
Is smoke from the fire, the smell of desire,
And the scent of the wild white rose.