Thursday, 12 January 2017

Waes Hael

After Christmas is cleared away
And shops are shorn of lurid displays,
Now, outside, on Old Twelfth Night,
There’s a stirring in the trees
As merry music leads us
Along the Old Ways
Into the orchard,
Flickering with torchlight,
And log fire burning bright.

With wreaths of evergreen leaves
A new king and queen are crowned
And the ‘loving cup’ is passed around
Filled with mulled cider, or lambswool beer,
Bringing both warmth and good cheer…
In the cold of winter
And the darkness of night
We wassail and carouse
To waken and arouse
The naked apples trees
And wish good health to them,
In root and branch, fruit and stem.

Then: pots and pans are clanged
And shotguns banged
Uncluttering the branches
Of lingering malingering elements,
Replacing them with shining lanterns
And pieces of dunked, drunken toast
For robin, the good-fellow, to make the most
As we raise our voices in joyful boasts:
‘Ere’s to thee, Old Apple Tree!

And so enjoining one another
To make merry in midwinter
And joining together both bark and skin
We hope, once more, the trees will bring,
In autumn after summer after spring,
As much as we give to them
In our wassailing
So that next year, we may all share
The abundant health and wealth of the orchard
Many an apple, many a pear

Waes Hael!! Drinc Hael!!

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