Silence Speaks the Flame:

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Lux parva di profundis clamat.

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Spark struck to wick, thus small flame passed,

Three candles upon the field,

Aura of streaming light they cast,

A golden disc on night's dark shield.

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Wind swept the snow from icy tarn,

Cleared mirrored votive altar,

Candles placed, her face cold and wan,

With this last task, would not falter.

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Shone on ice, each flame was doubled,

Each small light towards earth and sky,

Burned calm, by wind untroubled,

Beneath night's all watchful eye.

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But brighter still than e'er before,

Broad fields cloaked in pristine snow,

Gold upon white this starry night,

Yet no human eye shall know.

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While all around, hushed and still,

Quavered not one tiny flame,

Amid the stunning silence stood,

A woman rent with loss and shame.

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With white wool clad from neck to toe,

A plain shift so unadorned,

It seemed her form was wrought from snow,

Faint as hint of coming morn.

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The whole nightlong her vigil kept,

Nearby the candles dying,

In golden light she knelt and wept,

No prayer could ease her crying.

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Her village razed that very morn,

By henchmen with sword and spear,

Away from the harrowing foe

She fled, in panic and fear.

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By fire razed 'mid anguished cries,

At dawn by henchmen vile,

A cold and brutal wind did rise,

Bleak snow fell all the while.

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In yon sod roofed cellar she hid,

'Neath the earth from flame was spared,

There trembled 'til the tumult passed,

And with it, all for which she cared.

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Gathered tapers, striker and flint,

Then walked off into the storm.

Climbed high all day the snowy heath,

For her sweet lost loves to mourn.

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Would mark her eighteenth year this day,

Had never been hardened to war.

Thus with the dawn she ran away,

Saved herself and nothing more.

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Still in cradle and one bed small,

Left her two wee sons dreaming,

As she speed from her hearth and hall.

'mid death and mothers screaming.

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Sole gust blew o'er the crystal snow,

And snuffed the three faint flames,

One small light for each child gone,

And one for the life that wanes.

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As candles died with fading night

Her frail spirit ebbed away.

So she passed with the coming light,

At the dawning of new day.

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With nascent morn the wind arose,

And blew the fine snow flying,

Buried the tarn and bitter woes,

Beneath drifts her body lying.