Advent

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Advent is a tradition we treasure in all of Scandinavia. It is the four weeks of waiting for Christmas. Each Sunday of Advent (4 Sundays) we light a candle, and each candle represents a prayer. We have one poem in particular, written by a very beloved Norwegian poet named Inger Hagerup, that all kids and adults alike in Norway knows by heart. We say one verse each Sunday as we light the candle.

I have translated the poem for you to English as there weren’t really translations available. So here it is:

Advent
By Inger Hagerup

We light the first candle tonight
And we light it for joy.
It stands alone
Shining bright for all of us to see
We light the first candle tonight
And we light it for joy.

We light the second candle tonight
And we light it for hope.
Two candles are burning brightly tonight
Two candles for hope and joy.
We light the second candle tonight
And we light it for hope.

We light the third candle tonight
And we light it for our longing.
Three candles are burning brightly tonight
Three candles for hope, joy and for longing.
We light the third candle tonight
And we light it for our longing.

We light all the four candles tonight,
And we let them burn for hope, joy, longing and peace,
But most of all for peace,
Peace to earth and to all mankind.
We light all the four candles tonight,
And we watch them burn down,
For hope, joy, longing and peace.

Beautiful art by: Lisi Martin

The Call of the Nighter

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If you hold your breath amongst the leaves
And trees a’hushing by
A quiet whiff of lover’s smoke
Somewhat misty-eyed.
A wild wind rushing in your sleep
And you, a little girl upon the moor
Enchanted by the twisted chimes
Pulling at your feet.
Step then upon the trail
Follow the allure, a lass
A’ wreathed by burning sprigs
And a handsome troubadour.
But the gloom still deepens as we speak
And the lilies hastily swim ashore
And the innocence of Summer
Must hearken to the fall.
Stop then your tread, little girl, and
Observe, you’re drowning in his pond
For straying maids must always heed
To the Nighter’s loving call.

* Note: The Nighter, or the Nykk/Nøkk as he is called in Norway, is a dark faerie creature from Norwegian folklore. He is said to live in woodsy ponds and lakes and his aim is to find a bride as he is very lonely. He takes on the form of a handsome young man and sings and plays music to lure young unmarried girls into his domain, of course, to the Nighter’s great frustration, the girl drowns as soon as she has entered the water. The Nighter is the Irish “translation” of the word Nykk, the English one is Nix.

The Water Sprite’s Garden

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I gazed into the garden pool,
Searching for my golden ball, but as
I stared into the vastly blue
I began seeing odd things, strange bits
Of woolly courage entangled on the
Garden floor. A fairy door left open,
Spilling sing-song diamonds and wet
Tears; the floral head of a goblin,
Scattering in the grass. I lay down
Where they fell, in garden beds of glass,
Where transparent corn flowers
Shone like icicles. And here he came,
The fish-lord, along a path of salmon
Pink scales, faint and gentle
Did he glimmer. He stopped when
He saw me, and for a moment,
The garden spun, like glass wheels, and
Pearls, white and golden fell
From his lips. And then the vision
Was gone, and left was the vastly blue,
Stealing into my veins, a loveliness
Neither of me or another. But the song,
Oh, that haunting song, ghostly and pale,
Pushed through the cotton fields and beckoned,
Like a full-bodied leaf traced by tender lips,
And I found a path of crushed sand, and the
Soft current of the song tripped over
My own lips. It was then, within one of the
Fairy doors, I saw
the mad old-woman’s face,
Something, a finger or a tiny fish,
nibbled at her cheek,
And I screamed, for that time-beaten face
Was exactly like my own.

The Changeling

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I watched the lake from my window
And saw the raven plunging like a dart,
A feathered beast with golden beak,
(Or a black-sailed ship with a raven’s heart?)
His eyes were set upon his quest,
All beady-nights and glowing,
He drew his wings to his chest,
And stretched his claws like pointy oars
And I saw, to my utter astonishment,
That his treacherous body was growing!
With spear in hand, he landed swift
On human feet on the faring shore

“Stay your wings, enemy ship!”

He uttered from his raven lips.
I stared and stared into the mist,
But could not spot a single ship
But white-winged gulls and sitting ducks.
Then the Raven-boy looked up at me
And I could see that his mouth was still a beak,
He lifted his cape, black as thorns,
And raised his feathers, like arrow-reeds,
And became the lantern-eyed raven once more,
Ripping through clouds, silver-lined by the star-sheen

“Bear my away!”

I shouted, for no reason at all, and he turned his sails,
And away I was borne.

* This poem is dedicated to my friend Cynthia Morgan, whom I know
would love to be spirited away by a changeling Fairy Prince.
If you want to read some of Morgan’s poems, please click here:
https://booknvolume.com/

The Weaver and the Underlings

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She weaves the flying tones of Linden-trees
Strong and true, through spindle-woods.
Earthlings, doomed to roam the undergrounds,
Grasp, by light of hollow-stars, at the spring of
The Faerie-sound.
Up and up and up they flee, by twigs of leaves
On dancing feet, up through birch and evergreen
Where hill-top grass lay glistening,
And the shadowed moon has laid her fate,
For them to dance through Elven-gates.

Pan’s Flute

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Enchantments coiled around my wrists
And over the field I hastened,
Through thistle-spun trees and lily-woods
But, alas, my feet began a’dancin’.
Through umbrella-leaves and parsley-blooms
I twirled in fields of goldenrod,
To pipes unseen and larks unheard.
And Pan himself must have laughed,
For he had caught me in his Faerie-trance.

The Fairy Prince and I

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I couldn’t believe the singing was real
But I followed it into the murky trees.
My shoes became heavy with reindeer-moss
And I abandoned them in the woolly blooms.
The ravens chased my heart and I
Traced their wings by shadow-moons.
But the path was laid with heather and I
Walked steadfast forth until I heard a brooding tone:

“You are dark and I am light, so keep away
From the night!”

He spun his words around my wrists
And challenged me to sing along
Fading the world until it grew old and thick.
It was then that I saw the ring,
A wreath of grass around my feet
And I made to leave, but he
Said that I was forever his.