We stand here on perpetual Candlemas,

Called by the ancients, Imbolc,

The point at which the Great Wheel turns.

Halfway between darkness and light,

The bitterness of winter and the promise of spring.

We dwell in liminality,

Plying our tradecraft in the in-between,

On the threshold between worlds;

One foot in the mundane,

One hand grasping the coat hook.

Funeral bells toll in the distance,

Each chime counting down the days

Until a companion's death.

We close our ears against them,

Oblivious to their warning song.

Stiff winds blow, harsh and fierce,

So we seek out the maidens

Of St. Bridget's Eve

With their warm houses and warmer beds

And corn dollies of hope.

But we have none to share

For the Bride we serve

Is not of hearth, but forge,

Purifying with flash

And blood and steel.

It is a time to light torches

Light bonfires, light fuses.

Freed from restraining bonds,

We scurry up from the depths like groundhogs

And watch for our shadows in the conflagration light.

One day, there will be no shadows,

No bells, no winds. But not today.

The shadows rear up, dark and threatening.

Winter persists.

We bundle against the cold, duck our heads, and move on.