THE BEAR AND THE ROWAN TREE

Where the river winds in the forest glen, where the salmon jump in the morning sun,
When the breath of summer's on the wind, at the break of day the Bear will come,
And watch the leaping silver fin then slap the water three times three,
And breakfast there in the forest glen 'neath the spreading shade of the Rowan Tree.
And her singing leaves will whisper sweet to lull his great and shaggy head;
Weaving shade for the noonday heat with flowers white and berries red.
Straight and tall, she stands alone there where the rocky waters start
With roots that break the mountain stone yet tender twine the great Bear's heart.
And he will smile a wintry 'sigh and nuzzle soft against her skin
And feel the scar of years gone by when she had felt the hand of men.
And his eyes will fill with boiling blood and rumbles growl inside his form
As anger flows like a raging flood to think of those who wished her harm.
They came with steel and braying pride and wineskins draped from saddle bow
And spite was in their very stride and thunder clouds upon their brow.
They hunted horn from the wild hart's head as handles for their knives so bright,
The flesh they left for maggot's bread with waste the nature of their spite.
They stopped to boast and drink their wine beside the rolling riverside
But of the Bear their was no sign that ever did he there abide.
Prehaps a bow or shaft of spear the men saw in the Rowan Tree
And though the tree was young in year the axe bit deep to cut it free.
Like thunder after lightning's stroke from out the forest came a roar
And from the woods the fury broke and down upon the men it bore.
The axe was torn from a shoulder bone and necks, like twigs, were cracked in twain
The fruit sprung from the seed they'd sown was nourished in the bloody rain.
But soon the hunters gained their steel, for these were men that knew of war
But from the death the Bear did deal the ravens numbered one and four.
With spears they ringed about the beast, determined men with cunning bold.
One or two he'd kill at least before he felt the blade so cold.
Then the clouds grew dark and the lightning woke and witchfires danced above the trees;
In the forest heart there stood an Oak all ringed about with fiery leaves.
A white Fox stood at the oak tree's side with a grinning Wolf as dark as night;
An Eagle on the wind did ride above the fiery forest light.
And the men drew back as the lightning spoke and from the circle tore the Bear
And when the spell at last was broke a score of men stood cursing there.
They tracked the beast unto his lair, with spears they charged into the dell
But from those woods not one did fare and like a shroud the silence fell.
So, if by chance you ride one day where the river winds in the forest glen
And under a Rowan Tree you lay when the breath of summer's on the wind;
If for a time you'd linger there then let your heart dispell despite
Or you may chance upon the Bear, for the woods have teeth as well as sight.
And her singing leaves still whisper sweet to lull his great and shaggy head;
Weaving shade for the noonday heat with flowers white and berries red.
Straight and tall, she stands alone there where the rocky waters start
With roots that break the mountain stone yet tender twine the great Bear's heart.