Friday, January 21, 2011

"On the Full Moon of September..."





On the Full Moon of September
by Mel Keegan

One night I went a-roaming –
I braved the woods, so dark.
My friends swore I was crazy;
I thought it such a lark.
Up came the full moon – silver –
The trees all crowded round,
And as I tiptoed through them
I thought I heard a sound…
Upon my heel, I spun, fast,
All wide-eyed, full of dread.
If I’d had the sense I was born with
I’d be tucked up safe in bed,
Not roaming in the wild wood
With a jump at every crack,
Spinning – who’s that behind me?
Always looking back –
Till there, at last, I saw him,
Leaned up against a tree,
With his long, green pointed ears…
And he was looking right at me.
Says he, “You goin’ my way?”
Says I, “Not half a chance.”
Says he, “Now, that’s a damn’ shame,
“Cause I’m going to a dance.
“Tonight’s the night they all come –
“The faer, trolls, goblins too.”
Says I, “So, which are you, then?”
And he said, “Which are you?”
I told him I was human.
He shrank back, full of fear.
I never though being human
Would be seen as quite so queer,
But this one was a goblin –
I saw him clearly, then,
His green skin and his long ears,
His pointed hood – again
I said, “I’m just a human,
“A long way from my bed.
“I went a-roaming. Got lost.”
He peered at me and said,
“Well, if you can forgive me
“For being goblin-kind,
“I s’pose I can forgive you
“For bein’ human. Mind –
“You’ll have to swear an oath, now,
“Ne’re to tell a soul
“That on the full moon of September
“Out comes every troll –
“Goblin, pixie, brownie,
“Faeire – all the crowd,
“To dance, all wild and carefree,
“Obnoxious, rude and loud.”
“All right,” says I, “I promise.”
“Not good enough,” says he.
“You'll have to swear in blood
“Before it’s good enough for me.”
And, like a fool, I gave him
My tender, left-hand palm.
And out he brought a dagger,
And, quite without a qualm,
He took a drop of bright blood…
He quaffed it on his tongue…
I felt a soul-deep shiver and
Was glad that I’m still young –
Cause heaven help the oldster
Tryin’ on what I did then:
I trailed him up the hillside,
Beyond the world of men.
And there I saw the gathering,
All kinds of folk, all free…
The only people missing
Were the humans beings, like me.
But no one saw a human
When they looked into my face.
No one shrieked and ran away
When noticing my race –
And like the perfect idiot
It ne’er – to me – occurred
That the goblin in the woodland
Had never said one word
Of what would happen to me
If a goblin knife should spill
A drop of blood from my hand –
My palm was smarting still –
Or what becomes of humans
Who stray beyond the glen
On the full moon of September;
But oh! The world of men
Just faded out and vanished
Like mist upon the sea.
When I regained my senses,
Sprawled out beneath a tree,
They all sang, “Welcome, stranger,
“Come, dance with us, be wild!
The woodland makes you welcome!”
They all sang this, and smiled.
So, nothing loath, I leaped up
And showed that I can dance.
We whirled around till dawn rose,
And there was not one chance
Of me becoming human –
Or mortal, e’er again…
For this is how we humans
Slip through the world of men.
And if you walk the woods when
September’s moon is round,
Your friends won’t be astonished
When your bones are never found.
They’ll guess that you turned into
A fairy – “But,” they’ll say
“He’s surely dancin’ somewhere!
“May his revels all be gay.”

-Words by Mel Keegan, Art by Jade




See also The Voice of the South Wind

Jade, 22 January
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