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Poetry Month – Follow the Light

Song credits:
Words & music by John McCutcheon, Tom Chapin & Michael Mark
The weekend following September 11th I played at the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, KS, as I’ve done for twenty years or more. Without the option of flying, I drove all night that Thursday to make my Friday afternoon and evening performances. When I finally got to my hotel room it was nearly midnight and, like most of the rest of America, I immediately turned on the television. I caught the very end of a prayer vigil in Manhattan. As the credits rolled the camera focused on a small circle of candles left by now-long-gone participants. In the center of this circle of candles was a hand-lettered sign, “Follow the Light Home to Me.” At breakfast the next morning I showed Tom and Michael the first draft of this song. We finished it that afternoon and debuted it that night.

Follow the Light

We were 7 and 8
My sister and I
Lost in the woods
When lightening filled up the sky
As we ran through the ran
We knew where to head
To the light on the porch
“Come home!” like Mama said

Chorus

Follow the light
When you’re lonely and lost
When out on the ocean
You are tumbled and tossed
Follow your heart
Wherever you may be
Follow the light on home to me

Out on the sea
The waves heave and rise
Far from the shore
When a storm mounts the skies
We look for a sign
For some welcoming sight
A beacon from home
To guide us on this night

Chorus

Bridge

There’s a hole in our skyline
There’s a hole in our town
There’s a hole in our hearts
The whole world around
How do we heal?
How do we see
The mercy that shines in you and me?
(We follow the light…)

When the world feels so big
And we seem so small
And you wonder if life
Has any meaning left at all
When you’re losing your heart
When you’re losing the fight
Hold on to my hand
And we will follow the light

©2001 John McCutcheon/Appalsongs (ASCAP)
Winfield, KS September 2001

April is Poetry month

ELECTION DAY, NOVEMBER, 1884.

Walt Whitman

If I should need to name, O Western World, your powerfulest
scene and show,
‘Twould not be you, Niagara—nor you, ye limitless prairies—nor
your huge rifts of canyons, Colorado,
Nor you, Yosemite—nor Yellowstone, with all its spasmic geyser-
loops ascending to the skies, appearing and disappearing,
Nor Oregon’s white cones—nor Huron’s belt of mighty lakes—
nor Mississippi’s stream:
—This seething hemisphere’s humanity, as now, I’d name—the
still small voice vibrating—America’s choosing day,
(The heart of it not in the chosen—the act itself the main, the
quadriennial choosing,)
The stretch of North and South arous’d—sea-board and inland
—Texas to Maine—the Prairie States—Vermont, Virginia,
California,
The final ballot-shower from East to West—the paradox and con-
flict,
The countless snow-flakes falling—(a swordless conflict,
Yet more than all Rome’s wars of old, or modern Napoleon’s:)
the peaceful choice of all,
Or good or ill humanity—welcoming the darker odds, the dross:
—Foams and ferments the wine? it serves to purify—while the
heart pants, life glows:
These stormy gusts and winds waft precious ships,
Swell’d Washington’s, Jefferson’s, Lincoln’s sails.

We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet

Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
in days of auld lang syne?

Chorus:
For auld lang syne, my dear
for auld lang syne
we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet
For auld lang syne.

And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp!
And surely I’ll be mine!
And we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet
For auld lang syne.

We twa hae run aboot the braes
And pou’d the gowans fine
We’ve wandered mony a weary foot
Sin’ auld lang syne

We twa a sport’d i’ the burn
From morning sun ’til dine
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
Sin’ auld lang syne.

And there’s a hand me trusty friend
And gies a hand o’ thine
We’ll tak a good right willie-waught
For auld lang syne.

Robert Burns

And do me a favour, and don’t piss off me gran and please sing ‘syne’ not ‘zyne.

Flameshift

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Every day and every night that I say the genealogy of Brighid
I shall not be killed
I shall not be harmed
I shall not be put into a cell
I shall not be wounded

No fire, no sun, no moon shall burn me
No lake, no water, no sea shall drown me.

For I am the child of Poetry,
Poetry, child of Reflection,
Reflection, child of Meditation,
Meditation, child of Lore,
Lore, child of Research,
Research, child of Great Knowledge,
Great Knowledge, child of Intelligence,
Intelligence, child of Comprehension,
Comprehension, child of Wisdom,
Wisdom, child of Brighid.
Carmina Gaedelica edited by Lunea Weatherstone

May my words be as considered as poetry,
May I reflect on all I do or say,
May I meditate on those things important spiritually
May I seek to know more of the lore
May I research what I am curious about and what will enable me to grow
May I seek to know great knowledge,
May I acknowledge the intelligence of others
May I comprehend what I seek to learn and apply those lessons
May I know that seeking wisdom is not the same as being wise.
May I be a child of Brighid.

SelfBlessing is by me

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Brighid, bean-oirdheirc
Lasrach grad
Fetaim lasrach soillse
Thoir cuireadh sinne
ris a’ bheatha
mhaireannach`

Brighid, Sublime Woman
Quick flame
Long may you burn bright!
You give us the invitation
to life everlasting

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More because I’m campsick

You may think my dear, when you grow quite old,
You have left camp days behind.
But I know the scent of wood smoke
Will always call to mind
Little fires at twilight
And the trails you used to find.

You may think some day you have quite grown up.
And feel so worldly and wise
But suddenly out of the past a vision will arise
Of merrie folk with brown bare knees
And laughter in their eyes.

You may live in a house built to your taste
In the nicest part of town
But some day for your old camp togs
You’d change your latest gown
And trade them all for a balsam bed
Where the stars at night look down.

You may find yourself grown quite wealthy
Have all that gold can buy
But you’d toss aside a fortune
For days neath an open sky
With sunlight in blue water
And white clouds sailing high

For once you have been a camper
Then something has come to stay
Deep in your heart forever
Which nothing can take away
And heaven can only be heaven
With a camp in which to play.

Unknown

Blessed Beltane to all

Some Beltane doggerel:

Fire burn high

We weave and spin

Magic sings and the circle begins

Faeries and fae dance around us all

Some are big and some are small

Some are your neighbor

Some are your friends

Some won’t appear ’til the circle begins

Fire burn high

Illumine our hearts

We call to our spirits

When the circle starts

Dance and Dance

The circle prance

Goddess and God

Be here now

Green Man and Lady

Enter the circle now

We bow to magic

We bow to their shine

We welcome the Lady

To the circle divine

Wreath ring our heads

A ribbon we wind

‘Round the tree in the center

Our circle defined

We celebrate life

We celebrate love

We join hands below

And our hearts up above

So blessings of Beltane

Wherever you are

And while you are dancing

Remember to wish on a star.

Kat Robb 2015

T’was the Night Before Beltane

This is what happens when the system goes down at work. Never let a pagan’s brain roam.

                     )O(

T’was the night before Beltane

And all through the house

Not a creature was stirring

Well, Brownies chasing a mouse.

The Maypole was hung in the garden

With care

In hopes that the coven soon would be there.

The people were nestled all snug in their tents

Some of them dreaming of bonfires immense

And I in my sleep shirt and she in much less

And just settled in to state of undress.

When out on the lawn arose such a clatter

I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the doorway I flew like a fool

And promptly tripped over her mules.

The moon rose high over lawns green and dim

Gave luster to a man who was definitely not slim

Surrounded by Maenads it now did appear

That Beltane was going to be wilder this year.

With a great bowl of wine and a keg by his side

I knew that Sir Bacchus had now just arrived.

“To the Maypole, to the Maypole”, he cried

And I hoped that the cheeses and meat would survive.

The Maenads were dancing and making us dizzy

And I knew that the Priestesses would throw such a tizzy

They were being upstaged by the Maenads crazed dance

That only Radical Fairies even stood half a chance.

I feared for the children’s well dressing to last

The Maenads were sweeping along in the paths

The Maypole was leaning a bit to the south

While I just stood gaping with wide open mouth

He was dressed all in leaves, from head to his toe

With grape vines entwined thoughout, don cha know.

A keg on two legs was found at his heels

I could see that he hardly ever missed a few meals.

His face was so red and shined with a glow

The wreath on his head was tipping just so

He smiled with a smile just full of great glee

He was going to be our most favourite party crashee

He gathered us round and started the dance

We all then joined in for such a fine prance.

Morning came when the sun started to rise

He waved us goodbye from over the rise

“Drink plenty of wine!” He gave us his warning

“Happy Beltane to all and to all a great morning”.

By ElfKat ©2012

Poetry month – Celibacy

Because of I’m being lazy again and because of something someone said to me about relationships on Saturday, I give you a song I wrote in 1984.  And no, I don’t feel like this at the moment and once when I sang it in concert at the Western States Gay and Lesbians United, I ended up in a 2 year relationship I had a really hard time escaping from. It was just something funny to me at the time. I did get a standing ovation though. 🙂

Celibacy, Celibacy,
Overrated Lunacy,
Celibacy, Celibacy,
Unwedded bliss is not for me.

Bars are not the place for me
I develop paralysis of mouth and knee
Yes, it’s possible to die of hesitancy
I guess the woman in my life is me.

Celibacy, Celibacy,
Just ain’t what it’s cracked up to be
Celibacy, Celibacy,
Maybe I need some vitamin E

In my brain there must be a vacancy
Was a nun what I was really meant to be?
But certain kinds of women really frighten me
Especially women built like Mr. “T”

Celibacy, Celibacy,
Complicated idiocy
Celibacy, Celibacy,
As opposed to plurality

I know this is not feminist liturgy
Or something covered with great militancy
But I’m getting tired of being correct politically
If the only woman in my life is me.

Celibacy, Celibacy,
Result of total abstinency
Celibacy, Celibacy,
Let’s hear it for cupidity

Now celibacy is fine for recovery
And independence was a great discovery
Am I depriving myself of intimacy?
If the only woman in my life is me?

Celibacy, Celibacy,
Wrecking with my destiny
Celibacy, Celibacy,
Acts of utter obstinancy

So this is a personal ad for me
I like music of the Scots and I hate TV
I like swinging in the park and mountains not the sea
But I don’t expect and answer…
Because the greatest chicken in my life, is me,

Celibacy, Celibacy,
The result of sheer complacency
Celibacy, Celibacy,
Will surely Be the end of me!

Mary Beth Robb copyright 1984