Cup prompt - Christmas Tradition in Wales
|Theme: Christmas Traditions Around the World. (go for the obscure!) Pick somewhere you've never been. Research and then write your poem about a Christmas tradition (up through New Year's) practiced there now or in the past..
Words to use: The name of the country you pick, the tradition
Forbidden words: none but be creative!
The Mari Lwyd
Bridled in stars with harness of gold
the skull of a horse with shining eyes
goes hovel to castle with plaintive plea
to battle-verse to get inside.
Reminder of those who are dead and gone,
a battle of wits to get out of the cold
a rhymed exchange: to the winner comes warmth
thus words fly both brave and bold.
Bridled in shadow, saddled in scream
once left her stable for infant birth
and now she sings deep in the night
seeking a Welsh hearth on lowly earth.
The dead still wander in need of light,
forget-them-not for still they roam.
Betwixt Christmas and Old Year's passing
they will attempt to invade your home.
Bridled in sadness, harnessed in fear,
oft in song they trot the night.
Be quickened in your poetic reply
else a battle ensue for wordsmith right.
Across yon moors, benear sea cliff
where stars reflect in seamless sea,
winter's death is sought; kill frigid night
one yearns for Spring's fetility.
Bridled in seafrost, reined in by hail
the Winter Mare begs at the door--
let her in and chaos reigns
in dead of Winter says ancient lore.
O white is the frost on the breath-bleared panes
and the starlike fire within,
and our Mari is white in her starry reins
starved through flesh and skin.
It is a skull we carry
in the ribbons of a bride.
Bones of the Nightfrost parry,
bones of the Fire inside.*
*(Paragraphs in Italics taken from the ‘Ballad of the Mari Lwyd’, Vernon Watkins 1906 – 1967.)