Keys – Eva Weggelaar

Keys – Eva Weggelaar

I want to kiss your eyes,
remove the traces of those sighs.
Even though the promises of the past never quite come true,
know I only live to make it up to you.
I always had a thing for hands
and now I watch your fingers dance
and stumble over black white keys.
Oh my darling, let me please
just sit here on the floor
and listen to the whispers that I must’ve heard before.
Make you feel there’s still time for later to start,
quietly pour out the contents of my heart,
and watch them glide between your fingers
as the glow of the hearth fire lingers
and the twilight sky turns blue.
Oh my dear, just let me prove to you
that however far you choose to roam
I’ll always do my best to be your home.
-©Eva Weggelaar-

Listen to the audio version here on youtube

Photograph: unknown (if you know the source or object to my use of this image, please comment)

Oak Apple Day

Oak Apple Day

Oak Apple Day or Royal Oak Day was a formal public holiday celebrated in England on 29 May to commemorate the restoration of the English monarchy, in May 1660. In some parts of the country the day is still celebrated and has also been known as Shick Shack Day, Oak and Nettle Day, or Arbor Tree Day.

Traditional celebrations to commemorate the event often entailed the wearing of oak apples (a type of plant gall, possibly known in some parts of the country as a “shick-shack”) or sprigs of oak leaves, in reference to the occasion after the Battle of Worcester in September 1651, when Charles II escaped the Roundhead army by hiding in an oak tree near Boscobel House. Anyone who failed to wear a sprig of oak risked being pelted with bird’s eggs or thrashed with nettles. In Sussex, those not wearing oak were liable to be pinched, giving rise to the unofficial name of “Pinch-bum Day”; similarly it was known as “Bumping Day” in Essex. In Upton Grey, after the church bells had been rung at 6 a.m. the bell-ringers used to place a large branch of oak over the church porch, and another over the lych gate. Smaller branches were positioned in the gateway of every house to ensure good luck for the rest of the year.

These ceremonies, which have now largely died out, are perhaps continuations of pre-Christian nature worship.
-Wikipedia-

 

Well, most of the Oak Apple ceremonies may have died out, but honoring history, traditions, royal oak trees and both its and our roots seems worthwhile to me, so on the 29th I’ll wear the silver oak-leaf broche my great-grandfather made 🙂

Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit

Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit

A lovely bit of English folklore – I know what I’ll be saying on the first of June! The exact origin of the superstition is unknown, though it was recorded as being said by children in 1909:

“My two daughters are in the habit of saying ‘Rabbits!’ on the first day of each month. The word must be spoken aloud, and be the first word said in the month. It brings luck for that month. Other children, I find, use the same formula.”

“When I was a very little boy I was advised to always murmur ‘White rabbits’ on the first of every month if I wanted to be lucky. From sheer force of unreasoning habit I do it still—when I think of it. I know it to be preposterously ludicrous, but that does not deter me.”
-Sir Herbert Russell, 1925-
Wikipedia

Illustration: Arthur Rackham

Spring’s Bedfellow

Spring’s Bedfellow

Spring went about the woods to-day,
The soft-foot winter-thief,
And found where idle sorrow lay
’Twixt flower and faded leaf.
She looked on him, and found him fair
For all she had been told;
She knelt adown beside him there,
And sang of days of old.

His open eyes beheld her nought,
Yet ’gan his lips to move;
But life and deeds were in her thought,
And he would sing of love.

So sang they till their eyes did meet,
And faded fear and shame;
More bold he grew, and she more sweet,
Until they sang the same.

Until, say they who know the thing,
Their very lips did kiss,
And Sorrow laid abed with Spring
Begat an earthly bliss.
-William Morris-

Photograph: Eva Weggelaar

London’s guardians, Gog and Magog

London’s guardians, Gog and Magog

“Corineus and Gogmagog were two brave giants who richly valued their honour and exerted their whole strength and force in the defence of their liberty and country; so the City of London, by placing these, their representatives in their Guildhall, emblematically declare, that they will, like mighty giants defend the honour of their country and liberties of this their City; which excels all others, as much as those huge giants exceed in stature the common bulk of mankind.”
– Thomas Boreman, “Gigantick History”, 1741-

It’s told that the Roman Emperor Diocletian had thirty-three wicked daughters and that he found husbands for them to curb their wicked ways. Under the leadership of the eldest sister, Alba, they murdered their husbands and for this crime they were set adrift at sea. They washed ashore on a windswept island, which they named “Albion”, after Alba. Here they coupled with demons and gave birth to a race of giants, whose descendants included Gog and Magog.
In his twelfth century Historia Regum Brittaniae, Geoffrey of Monmouth tells that some time later Brutus fled the fall of Troy and arrived at the same islands. He too named them for himself, so we also know them as Britain. With him he brought his most able warrior and champion, Corineus, who faced the leader of the giants in combat and hurled him from a high rock to his death. The name of the giant was Gogmagog and the rock from which he was thrown became known as Langnagog or ‘The Giants Leap’. As a reward Corineus was given the western part of the island, which came to be called Cornwall after him. Brutus travelled to the east and founded the city of New Troy, which we know as London.
Another legend tells that Gog and Magog were defeated by Brutus and then chained to the gates of his palace on the site of Guildhall. They are now the guardians of London, their wooden statues located at Guildhall and their wicker effigies carried during the Lord Mayor’s Show in November.

Source of the Image and information

The horse Gullfaxi and the sword Gunnfoder

The horse Gullfaxi and the sword Gunnfoder

There he saw a splendid horse, all ready saddled, and just above it hung a richly ornamented sword on the handle of which were engraved these words: ‘He who rides this horse and wears this sword will find happiness.’
At the sight of the horse Sigurd was so filled with wonder that he was not able to speak, but at last he gasped out: ‘Oh, do let me mount him and ride him round the house! Just once; I promise not to ask any more.’
‘Ride him round the house!’ cried Helga, growing pale at the mere idea. ‘Ride Gullfaxi! Why father would never, never forgive me, if I let you do that.’
‘But it can’t do him any harm,’ argued Sigurd; ‘you don’t know how careful I will be. I have ridden all sorts of horses at home, and have never fallen off not once. Oh, Helga, do!’
‘Well, perhaps, if you come back directly,’ replied Helga, doubtfully; ‘but you must be very quick, or father will find out!’
But, instead of mounting Gullfaxi, as she expected, Sigurd stood still.
‘And the sword,’ he said, looking fondly up to the place where it hung. ‘My father is a king, but he has not got any sword so beautiful as that. Why, the jewels in the scabbard are more splendid than the big ruby in his crown! Has it got a name? Some swords have, you know.’
‘It is called “Gunnfjoder,” the “Battle Plume,”‘ answered Helga, ‘and “Gullfaxi” means “Golden Mane.” I don’t suppose, if you are to get on the horse at all, it would matter your taking the sword too. And if you take the sword you will have to carry the stick and the stone and the twig as well.’
‘They are easily carried,’ said Sigurd, gazing at them with scorn; ‘what wretched dried-up things! Why in the world do you keep them?’
‘Father says that he would rather lose Gullfaxi than lose them,’ replied Helga, ‘for if the man who rides the horse is pursued he has only to throw the twig behind him and it will turn into a forest, so thick that even a bird could hardly fly through. But if his enemy happens to know magic, and can throw down the forest, the man has only to strike the stone with the stick, and hailstones as large as pigeons’ eggs will rain down from the sky and will kill every one for twenty miles round.’
-an Icelandic fairy tale from The Crimson Fairy Book-

Illustration: Pauwels van Hillegaert

The Green Knight

The Green Knight

Then said the king, “You live far away and you have so great a domain that I had to go much out of my way to fulfill my daughter’s wish. When I rode forth to attend the gathering of the kings, she asked me to greet the Green Knight for her, and to tell him how she longed for him, and that he alone could free her from her torment. This is a very strange commission that I have undertaken, but my daughter knows what is right and proper, and moreover I promised her mother on her deathbed that I would never refuse our only child a wish; so I have come here to deliver the message and keep my promise.”

Then the Green Knight said to the king, “Your daughter was sad, and was certainly not thinking of me when she gave you her message, for she can never have heard of me; she was probably thinking of the churchyard with its many green mounds, where alone she hoped to find rest. But perhaps I can give her something to alleviate her sorrow. Take this little book, and tell the princess when she is sad and heavy-hearted to open her east window and to read in the book; it will gladden her heart.”

Then the knight gave the king a little green book, but he could not read it, because he did not know the letters with which the words were written. He took it, however, and thanked the Green Knight for his kind and hospitable reception. He was very sorry, he assured the knight, that he had disturbed him, as the princess had not meant him at all.

They had to remain overnight in the castle, and the knight would gladly have kept them longer, but the king insisted that he must leave the next day; so the following morning he said goodbye to his host, and rode back the way he had come until he came to the clearing where the boars were, and from there he went straight home.

The first thing the king did, was to go to the island and take the little green book to his daughter. She was astonished when her father told her about the Green Knight, and gave her his greetings and the book, for she had not thought of a human being, nor had she the faintest idea that a Green Knight existed. But that very evening, when her father was gone, the princess opened her east window and began to read her green book, although it was not written in her mother tongue. The book contained many poems, and its language was beautiful. One of the first things that she read began as follows:

The wind has risen on the sea,
And bloweth over field and lea,
And while on earth broods silent night,
Who, to the knight, her troth will plight?

While she was reading the first verse she heard distinctly the rushing of the wind over the water; at the second verse she heard a rustling in the trees; at the third verse her ladies in waiting and all those in or near the palace, fell into a deep slumber. And when the princess read the fourth line, the Green Knight himself flew through the window in the shape of a bird.
-The Green Knight, a Cinderella story from Denmark-

Illustration: Walter Crane