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