The Winter Lullaby

Hullo! I realize it has been roughly a thousand years since I have posted anything on this page, and that is essentially because I am exceptionally lazy. However, last weekend I was invited south to Nashville for a Brewing and Bardic meetup (affectionately termed “Brewdic”) in the Shire of Glaedenfeld. The loose theme presented to us was Tales and Songs of Winter.

Being as I cannot stand winter and nearly every song I know praises it, I decided to take up the pen and use some inspiration derived from the A Song of Ice and Fire series and let Old Nan help me with my song. Below is the result, a song transcribed from her last tale to Bran:

The Winter Lullaby
Omokehindegbegbon (mka T Johnson)

Lie back, sweet summer child
Close tired eyes, rest weary head
You ask for horrors, Others stories
Nestled neatly in your bed
What could you know of fear, my lord
Armies filled with stalking dead
No night for heroes’ tales, my lord
I tell you now the truth instead

Fear is for the winter, child
The long, cold night and lonely moon
Day be day, sun hides its face
And winter is coming soon
Yes, winter is coming soon

Trapped beneath the marbled snow
Impossible to speak its depth
Blizzards howling from the North
To freeze the rivers, blind of breadth
Mothers hush babes final cries
Frozen tears, frozen breath
Castles and huts each fitting tombs
And all of us equal in death

Fear is for the winter, child
The long, cold night and lonely moon
Day be day, sun hides its face
And winter is coming soon
Yes, winter is coming soon

No man escapes their wrath, my lord
Ice stills all hearts, even the brave
Maids and babes fall to the slain
And all the land a frozen grave
No iron halts the Others’ hordes
Our own warm blood condemns the saved
Even gods shut their eyes to men
Tell me, is this the tale you crave?

Fear is for the winter, child
The long, cold night and lonely moon
Day be day, sun hides its face
And winter is coming soon
Yes, winter is coming soon
Winter is coming…

 

Notes for performance: This is a song for a deeper voice and lower tones. Old Nan is not a loud speaker, especially when delivering scary stories. This sings a little more like a dirge than a lullaby–the North is hard and harsh. The North is austere, and the melody of this song portrays that. Winter is coming whether you will it or not. This is not a lively song for dancing or drinking–it is a warning, a fact, as cold and unbearably realistic as winter itself. I hope you like it.

Advice to Young Ladies – Terza Rima

Advice to Young Ladies
By Omokehindebegbon (mka T Johnson)
Inspired by Muirenn ingen ui Dunchada (mka Shannon Bryant Carey) and her limitless wisdom

I stand now with my back unto the sea
And face my spurned suitors boldly, without fear
Twin terrors, though, they face right back at me

They ask me, have I never held them dear
Could I not see love taking its toll
How can I look upon them, face light with cheer

Says the dark man, “Do we merely play a role,
In a great dance, where we’ve no plot in our fate?
If so, must I take charge of my lonely soul?

Tell me, true love, have I here come too late?
What madness now commands you to forsake
Or has our whole affair been built on hate?”

The fair man has few pretty words at stake
“Desert me now, regret it all your days
You’ll sleep alone and miss me when you wake.

You’ll yearn for me until your fire’s blaze
Turns to ashes in your bed and even so
Your bones to dust and eye’s glimmer to dark haze.

You’ll call for me, grief-stricken, filled with woe
And fall back in my arms, full readily
To land upon the rocky field you sow.”

“I will wait,” says the dark man, “steadily,
You may leave a thousand days, a thousand more
Know that my heart will grieve you, heavily

And I will plow each stone that scores your regret’s shore
Know that I would rather die a hundred deaths
Than to live a hundred years, never yours.”

The fair man laughs and tells me in a breath
“I’d leap on soldier’s pike full merrily,
Than waste another moment in lover’s depths.”

And now, I tell the dark man, ever wearily
“Even the prettiest words do not true lovers make
If their vows ring hollow ordinarily.”

“And you,” I tell the fair man, “are but a snake,
Ready to poison love at its first quiver,
You are more than pleased to strike it when it shakes.”

My lovers did not argue with the giver
Of news that threatened at first to end life
And left me to accept what fate delivers

Ladies, to save eternal strife
Never settle as a false man’s wife