The Ballroom of Life

I  Summer Solstice

Resplendent Lady of the sunlit ways,

counting your steps to the Midsummer dance,

held in the circular Ballroom of Life.

The Oak King your consort,

shining gold rays upon your green gown unfolded.

His power you feel, as he keeps time to your beat,

your sacred feet so light as around him you twirl,

hair flying, face bathed in the reflection of his.

On grassy mound, barren rock, seashore sand, so fleet in your bid

to prolong ecstasy, your movements a celebration of summer’s delights.

The skyscape of blue, pink, gold makes your rainbow of walls,

the king’s in his court in the Ballroom of Life.

“Yes, yes, rise up to your height,

come merry man, honour I’ll give you,” she cries.

As Arianrhod’s stars fade, his heart is exposed,

glow kindles glow as together they merge.

The Oak King is triumphant as, hand in hand,

the Goddess leads him onward to the battleground.

“My champion, you are the sweet Lord of the Land,

but defend it you must, you are honourbound.”

Her beauty astounds him. He’s held in Her thrall,

commanding him thus at his peak of prowess.

He is master of sky, greenwood, cave.

Clad in armament of gold, he bends to her sway.

“My fair lady, my challenger I avenge,

to keep your fair beauty from ravaging the Land.”

So strode he into the circle of light,

oak crown tied with Goddess streamers

his banners of fight …

the king’s in command in the Ballroom of Life.

The Goddess on throne of woven willow, buttercups, bluebells and may,

a chaplet on Her head, Her handmaidens so gay,

gives signal to start, as out of the shadow of tree evergreen

strode an opponent so determined to win The Queen.

Bristling spiked armour of dark hue, his voice rings out,

“The Holly will be champion, I will put you to rout.”

Whirling, stabbing, then staves, the enemies fight,

oak leaves flying, holly trampled.

Exertion, perspiration, as this way and that,

strength is matched, adrenaline high, they grapple and roar.

Goddess, in wisdom, no cheers from Her come,

she sits serene, lute strumming, as around Her the drum

of the Holly King’s entourage grows louder,

insistent it beats …

“No!” The Oak King, he’s lost his feet.

Down, grass meeting crown, armour dented, panting,

he’s fading on the battleground.

“My Lord,” the Goddess is succour to his plight,

“You fought well, a true knight, who now must rest,

I honour your sacrifice to Gaia so green,

and will resurrect your spirit

at the year’s dark heart, unseen.

But for now, I bid you farewell

and to the underworld you must travel, to sleep for a spell,

leave the Holly King to me,

in the Ballroom of Life .…”


II  Winter Solstice

She comes down from the mist-shrouded hills,

through silent, cold forest ways.

Her feet make no sound, as contemplative Her far-seeing gaze.

She has a dreadful duty to perform,

‘tis but a familiar one.

But ne’er the less in mysteries lie Her heart’s still hidden quest,

Oh, wondrous Lady of night-fall light

who’s lover now is old and worn.

No longer can she sustain his crown,

while the Star-child’s tie remains un-born.

A clearing, shadowed, dark, forlorn,

he sits, his once gleaming crown of thorny hue, askew.

The Goddess, in memory’s lanes, remembers nights and days,

their glory gone, fields of hay, mellow-love-shine, flowers, bird song

replaced by bronzed fallen splendour, and yet again to the

frozen lands, they have once again returned.

“My Lord, you grow ever weary,” she cries, “trust my hand,” as

fondly she leads him onwards to the battleground.

A spent king on his way through the Ballroom of Life.

His armour heavy, he leans on her strength,

from corner of eye, green of oak is glimpsed,

Fresh, bursting, new energy sparks,

“My Lady, your beauty’s not clouded, never dimmed,

we’ve travelled far the circle,

now your dark drapes hide your silver heart from the land.”

Her hands so icy, her face so serenely white,

as on and on, through pine forest, barren mountains, raging rivers,

no sound does she utter, as follow he must,

that mysterious fur-cloaked figure.

Weary, lain head ‘pon earth clammy and wet,

shaded mirrors of misted hue,

as around him the walls crowd, candles flicker,

in the gloom-ridden Ballroom of Life.

Goddess, in wisdom, lays on couch supreme, the wheels turning

around Her, softly, unseen. Resplendent they spin,

as a sound, a drum’s insistent beat.

A new King is imminent, feel it She must.

As the thorny crown falls,

oh, ‘tis green splendour,

‘tis seeds of ecstasy,

as smiling, She turns …

“My Lady, ‘tis I, cast the weeds and the drapes,” he cries,

as around him dance maidens with gladdened, knowing eyes,

“‘tis your lover, so green,

restored once again to claim my Queen.

Your duty’s done, no longer to mourn,

un-pin your hair, let it trail o’er your lands.”

He casts down mantle of leaves, oaken spread, gilded with

spring blossoms, for the Lady to tread.

As Goddess takes up the crown, now burnished, to place ‘pon his head,

the maidens are chanting, the drums on they beat,

as Lord and Lady, once again are complete.

Around them the gloom fades to rosy hue, pale blue,

lighting faces, fresh with cool morning dew.

Now, ‘tis seen by sun’s light, no longer dormant,

a Goddess, vital, Her spirit re-born.

Shining, pure beauty, no longer winter-worn.

“Yes, ‘tis true, come my champion, lay claim to your land,”

Goddess urges, as around and around them spirals dance.

The maidens they dress Her, white gowned all a-new, and ‘pon Her head

chaplet of oak leaves, snow drops, crocuses of golden hue,

as towards it she’s led, feet dancing, heart skipping, laughing

gaily she treads, in triumph she emerges from dark midnight blue,

a magical transformation, a mystery, so true.

The Oak King he awaits his radiant Queen, takes Her hand,

warm and glowing, they reign supreme.

The maidens are twirling, their skirts all a-bright,

now merriment and gladness sparkles in the Yule-tide Ballroom of Life.


[Sally Nemesis is a Wiccan priestess and also a life-coach therapist. She lives close by the ancient Roman walled city of York in England where she has a patch of land and grows organic vegetables and celebrates the turn of the seasons in her elemental garden. She is an active member of the Leodis Pagan Circle.] 

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