The Ents and Entwives at the Winter Solstice
Ent: Comes now the shortest day and the pale sun sinks
Into the West. Such heart as that Sun possesses does not beat
Nor does the redgold hot blood of his body course
Through his orbed shape that falls into the ocean.
Come, come into the forest now! Take up the fire
And walk with me into the hallows.
Here the Holly stands, black in the thickening dark.
The Ivy winds about, white berries gleaming like stars.
Entwife: Yes I will follow thee into the forest shade,
I will carry the fire before me, lighting my path.
Wild fireserpent tamed and brought to hand,
Kept safe, kept bound in the circled hearth.
The sacred Holly guards the way, the twining Ivy
Arches over. Wild woods now shall be wild no more.
Here trees stand at our will, shaping walls and doors;
Orchards, garths and gardens bounded by our desire.
Ent: Will the Sun awake, if rites be altered, and the altar
Where the cauldron waits be set aside?
The red wine steams in the winter air, and the knife
Lies ready. The trees whisper into the wind.
They see our ways are parting, that thy heart
Is given now to order and to holding still
That which strains against thy hedges. But hear me!
Hear my song, that once brought you to me.
Entwife: I hear thy song. But my heart no longer lifts to hear it.
Thou art lost in thy forest, and will not find the road
That leads thee to me. Thy heart cannot be both here
And there, the choice is now before thee.
Be sure the Sun will hear us call him forth,
The seasons turn one upon the other and our part
Is but to mark the turns. The gardens sleep
And wait for Spring. Come wait with me.
Ent: I will not wait. When the year has turned upon its wheel
I will return. The wild woods call to me and I will go
And walk the forest paths and sing under the falling snow.
What use the torch, the wine, the curving knife?
Stand thee here and wait for Spring, for the young Sun
Warm upon thy face. Maybe when the leaves are open
And thy garden prospers, row on row, maybe then
Wilt thou see me, maybe then wilt thou come with me.
Entwife: And roam the wild woods, and we will walk handfast,
Lovers once again? It may be so. The torch is cold,
The wine gone sour, the knife rusting in the dark.
Farewell. The winter night brings sleep and dreams.
Now wilt thou go into the dark woods, where the wind soughs
In the Pines, the black bare branches of the Elm
Groan in the night. Go where thy wild heart takes thee.
The old ways fade, yet Spring will surely come again.