Imagine sitting around a fire of olde, Renaissance era minstrels and bards singing and reciting love poems, or perhaps poems about the darkening of the sky in midwinter? For lovers of Renaissance festivals, we still celebrate poetry and song, fires and wassail, and the chill of winter held at bay by a warm woolen cloak. Author and poet JT Morse shares a poetic vision of a winter faire that sounds so perfect we can nearly hear the bagpipes and see the dancers. Nollaig Shona!
With the rising of the sun, the King
and Queen kiss ‘neath a ball of hallowed
mistletoe, encouraging the day’s patrons
to summon courage and follow suit.
“Huzzah to Midwinter—at this most
revered Renaissance Faire!”
Jousters skewer evergreen wreaths
from the grasps of elven jesters, clad
in red tunics and too-snug green tights,
as fairies paint golden star bursts and
crimson holly berries on the cheeks of
giggly children and grizzled barbarians.
Mulled cider, sugared yams, and spiced
ham, their scents commingle, swirling
midair with the raspy harmonies of untamed
pirates singing bawdy versions of ancient
carols and medieval parodies of pop hits
at the tavern, just around the bend.
Crushed velvet cloaks cover snowflake-
embroidered bodices and woolen socks
keep calves of brazen kilt-wearers warm,
never mind their chilly twig and berries
left traditionally unadorned—“Brrr,”
silently say the rowdy band of brithers.
Robin and Maid Marian dance to Un Flambeau
Jeanette Isabella played airily on Highland pipes,
accompanied by masked, choral singers as the
parade passes Maypole Meadow, led by Father
Christmas and his eight regal Clydesdale-deer.
At the masquerade ball, jugglers delight in
using hand-blown ornaments for their daring,
comedic feats, while puppeteers spoof classic
Twelfth Night customs and a bard rambles
on about the history of yule logs as a troupe of
mummers begin their ever-playful mumming.
Then as the sun bestows her final farewell,
all gather ‘round a crackling bonfire or
fireworks-lit, lakeside arena, snuggled up
with friends, family, and a few complete
strangers, wishing Happy Faire Days to all
and to all a gute nacht.
This poem inspires us to listen to wonderful, wintry music, including the ballad “Drive the Cold Winter Away,” sung by the inimitable Owain Phyfe, performing with the New World Renaissance Band. You can find our playlist here: https://music.apple.com/us/playlist/ladyfaire-a-cozy-winter/pl.u-2aoqP5bFVeMLlK
JT Morse tiptoes the fine line between recklessness and bravery every time her fingers grace the keys. A multi genre writer, Morse pens everything from corporate web content to deeply heartfelt essays, from award-winning horror fiction to eye-catching ekphrastic poetry. This retired singer/dancer/actor, now prefers flexing her creative muscles for the written-word muse but has still been known to show up centerstage from time to time. If missing, she’ll more than likely be found hiding out in the barn, grooming the rescue horses while listening to a podcast from NPR at her SE Texas homestead. To learn more about JT Morse, visit her website JTMorseWriter.com or find her on social media outlets: @JTMorseWriter.