Tag Archives: poetry

Catalina – Duchy

I haven’t posted a scroll text here in a while, but this one was a lot of fun, especially since a bunch of people helped me read it.

I chose to write her text in the muwashshah style of poetry. This is a style of poetry that appeared in the 800s or so, and was popular in Andalusian during Catalina’s period. It is structured as stanzas of rhyming couplets separated by a chorus that is held together by a rhyme throughout the poem. Usually, as I’ve done here, there are five stanzas.

One of the reasons I chose this style is that in period it was seen as a visual representation of the wisah, the ornamented belt. The idea is that the stanzas are ornaments hanging from a belt formed by the refrains. This seemed too appropriate to Catalina not to choose.

The form is designed to be performed orally. Sometimes it would be spoken, such as will be done in court, but often these poems became the words for various songs. Usually, the performance is a soloist speaking or singing the lines, and a chorus joining in on the refrains.

I did a similar scroll for her Laureling, but this time I was able to arrange for the chorus by handing out a bunch of copies. By the end of the poem, most of the hall had joined in and the echo up front was damn cool.

Side note, since it was often sung, this means that yes, Rhianwen’s version might very well be more period in form, though not in tune.

Catalina – Duchy Text

In sweet days of Falcons soaring
With great rivers swift and roaring
Purple and gold were ascending
and great keeps they were defending
Came a queen of their kingdom fair
Whose charm and skill were all aware

All in this great Celestial sphere
(Chorus) Admired bright pearl of Calontir

Then to war went gold bird of prey
Steel and skill she brought to the fray
When riders lanced and arrows flew
Her courage held as all there knew
And those who cared for warriors bold
Brought sweet water as she foretold

In noble dance of swords and spears
(Chorus) Fought the bright pearl of Calontir

In tall and mighty heartland’s halls
Where nobles heed our kingdom’s call
Wisdom and law did she proclaim
Showed the falcon’s honor and fame
Calling folk before royal thrones
Their deeds to be forever known

Gifts to surprise people most dear
(side note, I almost cracked up reading this line, given that she and Donngal had surprised me in morning court)
(Chorus) Granted bright pearl of Calontir

As memories of bright lilies fade
Relaxing now in soft, cool shade
Heartland’s souls recall awhile
Love and grace and wit and smiles
They raise a cry to celebrate
Catalina’s story so great

Soldier, artist, and server cheer
(Chorus) Feats by bright pearl of Calontir

Anton and Yseult royal heirs
Listen well Their people’s prayers
At Lost Moor hall in summer’s heat
Fifty-fourth year of dream so sweet
Mushira will she now be called
By each poet, scop, bard and skald

A kingdom showed their love sincere
(Chorus) For brightest pearl of Calontir

A kingdom showed their love sincere
(Chorus) For brightest pearl of Calontir






And Your Old Men Shall Dream Dreams

It’s an odd thing to speak in the official ceremony of memorials, especially for someone as close as a parent. On the one hand, there’s so much I could say, but much of it is so mundane. On the other hand, the interesting stuff is often not appropriate. Plus, it’s not like one gets all that much practice at it.

In the end, I chose to go with one of my dad’s loves, Kansas poetry. During the time he was building up the web presence of small Kansas towns, he was also building up a sizable collection of Kansas poetry. Every time he’d come across a dusty copy of something, often printed around the turn of the 19th to the 20th century, he’d snag it and put it on the web.

Interestingly, there’s quite a lot of poetry written in Kansas during the late 1800s, early 1900s. Some of it quite good, like the one I chose to read.

The author of this poem is Esther Mary Clark Hill. She is most known for her poem Call of Kansas, which was written while in Long Beach, California. Essentially, the poem says that no matter how pretty the California beaches are, the prairies call her back. I understand that feeling.

Anyway, the poem I chose was this one:

And Your Old Men Shall Dream Dreams

The old men sit by the fire and doze
And dream to their souls’ content.
They were gallant enough in their time, God knows!
But the gold of their youth is spent.
They were rovers, daring and eager then,
In their manhood’s radiant dawn;
They are rovers still for their souls at will
Go venturing on and on.
The length and breadth of the Hebrides,
From the far north fields to the southern seas,
Past the austere Pillars of Hercules,
Venturing on and on.

They stir uneasily in their sleep,
They shuffle their hearth-bound feet;
While the visions last they must hold them fast
For the dream is sweet, is sweet!
The old wives sit by the fire and knit
And dream of their girlhoods gone;
But the souls of the old men seek the lands
They never have trod upon.
For the languid beauty of tropic shores,
Through the shrouding mists of the far Azores,
Past the frozen cliffs that are Labrador’s,
Venturing on and on.

We, too, shall sit by the fire some day,
When our blood runs chill and thin;
And our once swift feet are no longer fleet
For wandering out and in.
We, too, shall sit where the old wives knit
And the old men doze and yawn,
As bent and gray and as spent as they
When the flower of our youth is gone.
We shall nod and dream as the years drift past,
Till we come to the one great dream, the last,
And then, with our hands on our hearts locked fast,
Go venturing farther on.