Author's note: This poem was inspired by the CD "Wizard Women of the North" (Northside Company) and the essay by Pernille Anker written in the liner notes.
Alone on the bog she paces the paths
that few mortals know to take,
and seeks the waters for her sacred bath
within the glacier-fed lake.
The cool white mists rise from the living bog
and obscure mortal realm.
But she is patient and doesn't mind fog
if it keeps the fell beasts calm.
It is autumn then, night air is cool
and cloudberries glow golden
beneath the full moon, though the frost is cruel
and glimmers like an omen.
She leaves the chill bog and enters the wood
where her dryad sisters play.
The passing moon winks as she lowers her hood
and trees began to sway.
The wind has picked up, a storm is brewing;
clouds move to cover the moon.
The lake is still far, though the air smells new
as the wind wails an old tune.
So she kilts up her skirts and begins to flee,
for lo, the mountains are nigh.
There lies the deep lake and she can foresee
that her plans have run awry.
She reaches the roots of the lofty peaks
and the storm has yet to break,
and the night begins to look not as bleak,
and she is still wide awake.
She finds the lake dark, and the storm still holds,
so begins the sacred rite.
She cleanses her body, and then, her soul,
and rejoices in the night.
She begins to sing a haunting new tune
and the hulder come to dance.
About her they weave a powerful rune
that sends her into a trance.
While in that deep state, they begin to speak,
and so begins her lesson
on magic and arts no milkmaid could eke
from under the loving sun.
When morning dawns bright, she wakes by the lake,
head pillowed on boughs of pine.
With wondering eyes and a new soul ache,
she feels the powerful divine.
She gathers herself for the journey home
through the haunting wood and mark.
But a tune rises up, from the dark loam
and in her lights a bright spark.
It followed her home, this haunting new song,
so she took it as her own.
And in the evenings sang it loud and long
as it echoed off the stones.
And so her life changed, for she became wise,
though she was still very young.
And when the Wizard Woman would arise,
t'was to her all others clung.
She never forgot her hulder sisters
and visits them to this day.
They meet to dance under birches and firs,
though now she is old and grey.
She is the Wizard Woman of the North;
she sings her haunting song,
and weaves the wild magic and sends it forth
to aid the true and the strong.