Let Need Be Undone
And then there was bitterness of rocks crushed in waters drawn from sulphur springs, and tisaned with agrimony ; there was the cold block of ice cut from the frozen lake ; chill that dulled and buffeted the bones ; and sore need that gnawed at a man, like the chill that dulled and buffeted his bones. For meager was his nest, and the axe was all about, in the woods, with sword and feud, and darkness.
From his humble hovel he succored and savored the bitter flavor, to draw out its long strength against the barren times of longing and troubles. Hard was a man’s life, and endurance an art much in need of cultivation. The man let the cold, dense stones, cut to build the bridge, live within him, that he might their wisdom drink and draw on strength tamed in times of first beginnings, when rock from mountain was drawn as ore from egg of deepest earth.
There is memory in the land, never-faded, of famine, of leaves of unknown trees desperately gobbled and crunched, by minds half-mad to find nourishment ; the peeling of soft bark to chew and gnaw, and then throw in meager stew ; the taste of tough grass ; the crumble of dry leaf chawed dusty and mold-bland in the mouth. And who knew how hard another’s life might be?
But need was never good, which is why gold oft drew an illness of fury even within the family, setting neighbors to driven feud; and a man had to learn to live as cold sleet, and blades of blizzard breeze, icy caress of the clear creek, and drawn-out shiver of the ice-blade lunar night.
Let need be undone. Let prosper come. Let sun and shine and golden grain brim the meadows wide. Let golden hale as liquid mead be drunk from sun. Let cheer of hall’s fire boil cider for warmed bellies, bright with smiles in the harpsway. Let arm in flannel arm be linked that legs might jig upon the floorboards. Let cupboards bulge with bags of peas and lentils, cellars sawdust-stuffed with roots and carrots, tubers and the excess summer fruit. Let smiles of lovers be fertile and breed broods of smiles more and smiles more, and eyes dance full in the fullness of a shared hall with all its shared stores.
May cold days be lived for warmth, may lone days be lived in light of dear companions hoped-for, may days of darkness dream of river’s fire of the sky drawn herald white-horse blaze o’er air’s arc which no cloud can cover! Let mood and mind of men be mirthed. Be bottled and corked the warmth of woman’s love, and glow of hall’s companions in feast, with fiddle and harp and lyre, lure the stocky thighs to leap and roundel, so that day’s draw of joy might yeast and be brewed into strength for long winter days ; and lightly soothed by wine of in-drunk memoir, strong wait with soothe the spring’s fresh morn.