Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Hell Tithe






The Hell Tithe
A Ballad


And if any gaze on our rushing band,
We come between him and the deed of his hand,
We come between him and the hope of his heart.
The host is rushing 'twixt night and day,
And where is there hope or deed as fair?

~The Hosting of the Sidhe, W.B. Yeats 


It was a night midwinter blue
when never a stick did bloom
that the twin-horned Huntsman came to earth
for the maid beneath the moon.

The wind blew a horn as cold as grief
for a tale too lost to tell.
His hounds bayed twice in rain-dead sky,
come for the tithe to Hell.

"You've unbound your nightblack hair,
the marble's in your cheek.
Your eyes are blue as columbines;
your breast is soft as cake.

Your path is clouds, your path is wind,
your touch is the color of air.
Your mother owns the middle way,
but your father never walked there.

His folk have forever under the hill
and the dance in the moonmad dell.
His folk have life because this night
they pay the tithe to Hell.

I do not fetch the canting fool,
I do not call the mistake.
I come to take the green glass heart
that earth will only break."

She raised the light of her flower face;
he sprung to his deathwhite horse,
and never more she saw this earth
who rode on the Wild Hunt's course.

~February 2013





posted for   dVerse poets



Process Notes: Teind is a Scots word for tithe, in particular the 'hell tithe' which the faeries must pay the devil (one of the many traditional leaders of the Wild Hunt) for their longevity: one of their own kind every seven years.


Optional Musical Accompaniment:




Header Image: Cuirassier, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec 1881
Footer Image: The Sonambulist, John Everett Millrais 1871
Public domain






39 comments:

  1. Such fabulous music in this... it's gorgeous!
    "the green glass heart
    that earth will only break"
    yes.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yikes! Here's the belle dame (maid) given no merci. The ballad works beautifully; this has a real Victorian feel but with wonderful details that ==well I don't know if they are exactly modern - but they are certainly your own - the marble in the cheek, the breast soft as cake, the green glass heart--the opening is especially strong, the blue and the no stick blooming - just lovely sounding and so evocative, and the idea that she pays the price for the father is pretty tragic - of course, you give the sense that she'd be lost anyway in this rough place with her green glass heart - but doesn't quite make up for it all. I can't help but take it a bit into the political realm, but would rather think of it as relating to a using up of the planet and the climate rather than some kind of other debt. The rain-dead sky is a lovely description - and a lot of gestures point to this feeling of defeated climate and more - the wind/cloud - but it works just beautifully on the level of pure story. Persephone martyred a la gloomy Celts-(doesn't get to come back.) Really lovely. k.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it's bad luck to come in the path of the wild hunt. But this particular twist of the tale has a bit if sacrifice to it that appealed to me. That works out even more nicely in your more universal perspective--giving up for the greater good what isn't doing you much good anyway. Thanks, k--always enjoy seeing how you interpret things.

      Delete
  3. damn hedge....your rhyme scheme is haunting and enchanting all the same...reminds me a bit of poe but also your own voice....what a meeting between the two....this is wicked good though...and gave me a bit of a shiver...

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great atmospheric rhyme. Nice one.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Joy Ann, what a delight to see you over at dVerse. I had to stop by and read this. As always every word fits together perfectly, in this interesting, yet haunting tale. I hope all is well with you and yours.

    Pamela

    ReplyDelete
  6. Beautiful prosody - a luscious read

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wicked good, I like that B. Can I add to those comments already here? Doubtful. Did I enjoy reading? For sure. Finding a piece this sure is not somethng I stumble upon very often, but its been a good night for poetry and I am signing off on a high with this piece still forcing images into my mind that I hope to dream on if I am lucky enough.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I love your Wild Hunt poems. One of the first poems of yours that I read bore that title, if I'm not mistaken. It was one of the ones that made me love your poetry.

    I don't know how you keep coming up with these myths and stories, but I love it that you do.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Wow, that's a most wonderful ballad! It reads just like the old ones, firmly in that tradition, which is what makes it so magickal.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I should add that it it is also your unique phraseology which makes it magickal - eg.'the light of her flower face;' 'his deathwhite horse,' and so on.

      Delete
  10. Geez, I just paid the exorbitant fee to the homeowner's association again, so I can truly identify with this!

    ReplyDelete
  11. think i might read this little ballad to my kids tonight.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Well you can't help but get a shiver with a title such as this. Why does Man like to bargain and mess with hell and the devil... I love the stories you create, the imagery and depth is outstanding, and so admire your unique talent.

    ReplyDelete
  13. This is so beautifully written, hedge. Yeats would be proud. You've perfected the meter and rhyme in a story well told.

    ReplyDelete
  14. You play with color and you have such a deftness with imagery that I lose myself in your writing. Beautiful, hedgewitch.

    ReplyDelete
  15. This a wicked write..really enjoyed the whole piece.

    ReplyDelete
  16. A wonderful write. Love this.."the green glass heart
    that earth will only break"

    ReplyDelete
  17. haunting story, haunting rhythm & music (video) - a ballad strong & true, well told

    ReplyDelete

  18. Going against my natural instinct to
    'stand out from the crowd'
    but i had already been taken with

    I come to take the green glass heart
    that earth will only break.

    its a cracker!!!

    i find the scheme suits the subject so well,
    acting as a rythmic fulcrum: allowing the words
    to pivot and rock the images into life . . .

    the whole package is V. impacting as i absorb . . .

    the top pic alone
    had me drooling and as ever i finish with my tongue hanging out . . .

    fox to your hounds . . . without the chase i'd be lost






    ReplyDelete
  19. And i looked and beheld a pale horse...

    This canting fool sings you praise Hedge.

    A nice gallop to this.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Thank you for this wonderful ballad - it had movement, drama, everything a good story should have. And then you give us the extra treat of the music.

    ReplyDelete
  21. A stunning poem with a great narrative. Most enjoyable.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I adore every word of this, but the fourth stanza really blows me away.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I enjoy trips back in time to places that I would otherwise be unable to visit.

    Cheers,

    Mark Butkus

    ReplyDelete
  24. This is such a rich offering. You know how to spin the tale and create characters full of whimsy and lore. I've always been fascinated by the wild hunt - and of course Steeleye Span is the perfect accompaniment.

    ReplyDelete
  25. How skillfully and imaginatively constructed. You're a class act Joy and no mistake. I love this. I'd like to hear you read it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, James. I was going to, but it really wanted me to sing it, and I didn't want to subject people to that. ;_)

      Delete
  26. This is *incredible*. It has such a wonderful Old World feel, like a true legend or fairy tale.

    ReplyDelete
  27. ...i like how you execute a ballad with such modernity & style... so rare to find these days a real tragic ballad and though written in a much modern approach still manages to carry the classical feel i found in particular to Lord Randal & The Ruined City from the anglo saxon period... kudos... smiles...

    ReplyDelete
  28. I especially like the first stanza and the painting that set the mood; lovely ballad..the music of it rings as that in the video. A treat for the senses.

    ReplyDelete
  29. yes it is musical and as sad as myth.
    i like your language, moonmad, deathwhite, midwinter blue

    ReplyDelete
  30. Came back for another read. It's got even better while I've been away!

    ReplyDelete
  31. A new favorite, this is worth coming back to again and again.

    ReplyDelete
  32. This is how I'd like to take in every myth and story of lore. Your first two lines drew me in and I slid into the rest like a melting butter pat. But then, to read again, less slippery and more thorny. I find this often with your poetry, Hedge. Your words combine to make a unit of lovely, but reading deeper I usually feel some sharp twinge of excitement or even fear in myself. This is a rather blood-curdling topic -finding beauty in word symmetry. Inspired.

    ReplyDelete

'Poetry is an echo asking a shadow to dance' ~Carl Sandburg