The bale fire writhes beneath the sky;
The oak logs burn; the fire leaps high;
The shadows dance, and pool, and spill
In cascades down the fire crowned hill.
It matters not what brought you here, pious choice or random chance;
You'll hear the Master Piper play, and when you do, you, too, will dance.
Tonight there is no foe, nor feud; we'll leave such things for other days.
Tonight we are the human clan; we dance because the music plays.
So dance for love and dance for life;
Clear your mind of daily strife;
Take a lover; make a friend;
All too soon the dance will end.
There is no prize for holding back when Bacchus calls the Piper's tune;
It's madness NOT to join the dance while bale fire burns beneath the moon.
For while we dance the world is young, and so, my friend, are you and I:
From set of sun 'til break of day while bale fire burns beneath the sky.
And with the dawn the fire will die,
And saner light will fill the sky...
But we have heard the Pan's pipes play
From set of sun 'til break of day.
This one scared me. It had been looming on the horizon from the moment I committed myself to the project, and I knew what I WANTED it to be, and honestly doubted my ability to pull it off. I wanted the energy of a particular Robert E. Howard fragment, one that Roy Thomas had christened, "Song of Red Sonja." It goes like this:
All the world's a gore rimmed sea;
Lo! The devil laughs with glee.
Come and dance, then, you and me;
Come and caper wild and free.
With red blood those fires are lit;
Hades smoke is tinged with it.
Now, there are any number of things wrong with that fragment, but the ENERGY... I wanted that, and I knew that Beltane required it, and I just didn't know if I could do it. And then in the small hours of April 30, with yet another deadline rushing up at frightening speed, this poem landed on me. I didn't set out to do the odd structure; I just wanted the poem to sizzle. And suddenly there is was, and I loved it.
Have you ever gone body surfing, and caught a wave, and felt all of that energy boiling around you and for just those few seconds you are part of it? Yeah, it was like that. It lasted for about ninety minutes, and there were tears running down my face for most of it.