Imbolc 0* by Mad Sweeney.

*a new Pagan calendar system–
except, unlike some monk we know,
we’re starting with 0. Might as well start now,
when everyone’s using 0.


Gather ’round, gather ’round
with the women in the house–
with drums and with bells, they are
beating the bounds.

At Nature Friends Farm, on
a Ramapo hilltop,
Green Man Grove is
gettin’ into Imbolc.

Gather ’round with the men
outside in the cold–
motioned in one by one,
we are cocky and bold!

They test us, we best them,
they let us in–
each one crowned with
a bag on his head,

and must give forth a rhyme
quick– as you spin–
back to your childhood, or
you can’t come in!

So we danced and we circled
and progressed up the hill,
knelt to the earth and
tree, fire and well.

So cold on the hill
as Susan and Peg
both bright with child
fast lit the flames.

A fire in the snow
is Brigid’s bright crown!
A fire in the snow
under fast dark clouds!

Bryan called clearly to
Manannan Mac Lir:
‘row, row your boat’ and
come to us here.

He opened the gates and
we gave him a cheer!
‘Let the Gates be Opened’
in the cold winter air.

Praise to the Outsiders
–all that they’re due–
now sing them a song to
keep them amused.

And Brigid, our Patroness,
what can we say?
here we are asking for some
Imbas Forasnai.

“Brigid had a little lamb,
it’s fleece was white as snow,
and everywhere that Brigid went,
the lamb was sure to go...”

Ancestors all,
invoked now by John,
‘this old man,
he played one...’

Nature Spirits called,
in the quick-rising storm,
by lunatics singing
‘Old MacDonald’s Farm;’

and Goddesses and Gods,
whoever they might be:
‘The more we get together,
the happier we’ll be.’

Each called to her own
some whispered, some sang,
some soberly chanted,
some even harrangued.

The storm is moving swiftly,
but it still hasn’t snowed.
The wind crests the mountains,
and the trees start to bow.

Brigid was honored
by Peg, our bouncing Bard,
‘Lady Brigid spark
the flame within our hearts.’

The praises were lovely,
but some were scary too–
five of the women sang
‘Little Bunny Frou Frou.’

Yule Greens were offered;
a whoosh and they’re gone;
the hot yellow flames
made us stand back some.

Norma offered a dolly
made of lace, reed and ribbon.
Brigid took the cradle and
the dolly in a second.

Gather ’round, gather ’round
a fire in the snow,
a fire blazing bright
under dark grey clouds.

Gather round with the Grove
and invoke something.
Brigid’s white mantle
will surely bring the spring!