Silence Speaks the Flame:


Lux parva di profundis clamat.


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.


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.


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.


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.


While all around, hushed and still,

Quavered not one tiny flame,

Amid the stunning silence stood,

A woman rent with loss and shame.


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.


The whole nightlong her vigil kept,

Nearby the candles dying,

In golden light she knelt and wept,

No prayer could ease her crying.


Her village razed that very morn,

By henchmen with sword and spear,

Away from the harrowing foe

She fled, in panic and fear.


By fire razed 'mid anguished cries,

At dawn by henchmen vile,

A cold and brutal wind did rise,

Bleak snow fell all the while.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


As candles died with fading night

Her frail spirit ebbed away.

So she passed with the coming light,

At the dawning of new day.


With nascent morn the wind arose,

And blew the fine snow flying,

Buried the tarn and bitter woes,

Beneath drifts her body lying.