Sunday, September 4, 2011

"Gather the Folk" by Johnny Whitebread

Gather the Folk beneath Sol’s warm smile,
Merry the sound of our kin,
The glade’s open arms a welcome embrace
As the travelers trickle in,
Mothers and Fathers with children in tow,
The tents raise their hues to the sky,
The fire’s warm smell welcomes and beckons
And the sense of belonging runs high…

Gather the Folk on first day of the Thing,
Fellowship running throughout,
Faces not seen for nigh on a year
And newcomers welcomed with shout,
In Frith gather folk, free from all fear,
No weapons intrude in this glade,
Mute now they lay outside the Ve,
Battle axe, bludgeon and blade…

Gather the Folk in colourful garb,
This sea of hue leaps to the eye,
All eager to show the prize of the loom
And illustrious usage of dye,
Mead flows aplenty and toasts fill the air,
Gather the Folk in good cheer,
Spirits run high, horns hoisted to sky
All Folkishness culminates here…

Gather the Folk on day two of this Thing,
The morning horn rouses from bed,
The Folk all greet Sol, as he stands proud and tall,
Then engage in the breaking of bread,
Comes then a Blot to the one-handed God,
The fearless, the valiant, Hail Tyr,
Then our Chieftain speaks words which welcome us all
And oath-swearing time is now here…

Gather the Folk on the field of play,
Physical prowess is put to the test,
Warriors wrestle and show off their strength,
Each striving to prove they’re the best,
Board games are played in this lush, verdant glade,
Testing the skills of their minds,
Kinship abounds as the horn makes the rounds
In this, the greatest of times…

Gather the Folk after midday repast
To honour those death kept away,
Somber and strong the words to the dead
As their memory is honoured today,
But all is not gloom, despair and loss,
These feelings are swift in their passing,
Now gather the Folk ‘neath the largest of oaks
To witness two lovers hand-fasting…

Gather the Folk to throw a huge feast,
To honour the two now as one,
A sumbel, with boasting and bragging of course
And many a song being sung,
The spirit of Gebo flows through the air,
The couple are showered with goods,
And the sound of this night floats to starlight
And rolls like a wave through the woods…

Gather the Folk on day three of the Thing,
Again with a tribute to Sol,
Then we honour the Folk Mother, gone to the Gods,
Whose memory touches us all,
The rest of the day is whiled away
With contests of saga and song,
Gather the Folk to hear these words spoke
As oral tradition lives on…

Gather the Folk as Sol slips away,
The close of the Thing drawing nigh,
Invoking their Gods to bless the next year
As the Gothi lifts Hammer on high,
The energy fills the breadth of the glade,
It spills out into the night
Filling each man, each woman, each child
With a sense of ancestry and might…

Gather the Folk to feast one more time,
Slow-roasted pork fills their plates,
The sumbel ensues and promises fly,
Some humble, some daring, all great,
The night slips away towards the new day,
All eventually slip to their tents,
Glowing inside and filled with a pride
For time Holy and very well spent…

Gather the Folk on the fourth day of the Thing
Reluctant to wend their own ways,
The fires are doused and down come the tents,
The coloured garb all packed away,
Handshakes, embraces, tearful farewells,
At last the glade stands clear
Save for the trees that majestically wait
When Folk gather once more next year…

-Written by Johnny Whitebread


Lightning Across the Plains
September 23-25, 2011

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