(from The Book of Days)
—D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove
From the far North come
The Tellings. They come so that
We may learn the many ways of others
Who live here in this place with us,
Even if their voices be small or their habits
Not what we may understand from our own knowing.
Those who travel, those who name, bring
The Tellings to us in Autumn. For almost
A week we watch their fires come closer as
They move down from the distances.
When they reach the meadows just beyond
The villages we send the children to them.
For three days they speak only to the children.
This is because the children
Are able to see the magic of The Tellings
More clearly than others. They will learn
The songs and find roles to assume in the
Ways of The Tellings. They will show us
What the travelers and those who name
Bring back to us. They will be the vehicles.
When I was young I was among the first
To see the ladders turning in the air;
The ones of flame, the ones of ice and the ones
Changing color. My part was that of the long
Bell and I would make its sound often, for it
Was pleasure for all to hear this curious sound.
This was long ago and this Telling is old.
Now we have music and the changing of the forms.
We also know the dance that moves the places of things,
So that which was far away may be near and that
Which was lost or almost forgotten may be found again.
Each time The Telling brings
Us what we do not know.
It is like what you call morning
When all is once again before you and unknown.
One time, in a Telling, there came
A great room, so great that mighty
Rivers were within it. This lasted
Many days and all that was asked there received reply.
We wait now for the return of the children.
Their voices can be heard at the edge of the wood
Lands. They sound excited. We are able to hear
Songs we do not know.
I am telling you these things about how we are
So you may come to recognize travelers and those
We name should they come near you in dreams
Or should you, in traveling, come upon things,
Or songs, or places requiring Tellings. We await you.