ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem came out of the February 2017 Creative Jam. It fills the "WILD CARD: Family Love" square in my 2-1-17 Platonic card for the Valentines Bingo fest. It has been sponsored by [personal profile] artsyhonker. This poem belongs to the Polychrome Heroics series.


"Marjorie's Baby"
-- a song by Amergin


Marjorie's baby was born on May Day,
As fine a boy as the midwife could say.
What he did first made the whole family squeak --
Soon as he's born, that wee baby could speak!

Here came the grandmother, withered and bent,
Who said the baby must be heaven sent,
Born of a line that had done mighty things,
Given the voice of an angel that sings.

Down came the Good Ones from their hollow hill,
Bringing a blessing as faery folk will,
Meadowsweet, mountain mint, thicket and thorn,
All on the morning the baby was born.

In came the kingsman who lived in the town,
Bringing his book to write Baby's name down,
But when he asked it, the babe gave a cry,
"Keep your old book, for no mortal am I!"

In came the parson who kept up the kirk,
Taking a break from his spiritual work.
"Named for Saint James is your baby," he said --
James raised a cry fit to wake up the dead.

Up came the witch from her cave by the sea,
Creaking and groaning the baby to see,
Meadowsweet, mountain mint, thicket and thorn,
All on the morning the baby was born.

Then came the harper who wandered the land,
Taking the baby in his gentle hand,
Saying, "Though raising one sure can be hard,
I'll help you teach him, for he'll be a bard!"

Grateful, the parents agreed to his plan;
With a sweet lullaby, lessons began.
Over the harpstrings his fingers did sweep,
Putting the wee little bardling to sleep.

All of the visitors bowed in respect
To the great harper who made them reflect,
Meadowsweet, mountain mint, thicket and thorn,
All on the morning the baby was born.

* * *

Notes:

Amergin (Alroy Sheach) -- He has pinkish-fair skin, green eyes, and short curly chestnut hair. He uses his faire name pretty much all the time now. His family pronounces their surname as "shuck" although other branches say "sheech" or "sheeck." He speaks Beurla Reagaird, Cornish, English, French, Irish Gaelic, Italian, Manx, Spanish, and Welsh. His heritage is Irish, Scottish, French, and American. His parents work the Renaissance Faire circuit; his mother is a blacksmith and his father is a silversmith. He is the husband of Marjoram. Amergin is homefree and a dedicated rennie with the Caravan Driver skill. He is a bard who plays bodhran, clairseach, guitar (both six and twelve strings), lute, mandolin, recorder, pennywhistle, and shawm. He can play the three strains (Geantraí for merriment, Goltraí for sadness, and Suantraí for sleep) of bardic legend, although currently at ordinary rather than super level. This helps his friend Nebuly to manage his moods.
Qualities: Good (+2) Bard, Good (+2) Dexterity, Good (+2) Homefree, Good (+2) Kindness, Good (+2) Languages
Poor (-2) Mainstream Culture

* * *

In this case, Amergin is a faire name, inspired by a legendary bard. This article discusses the Song of Amergin, of which there are many (conflicting) translations.

A refrain is a repeated line or verse in a song. Historically, these often consisted of folderols (nonsense syllables) or litanies of things such as herbs. Meadowsweet, mountain mint, and thorn are all plants associated with faery folk and other magic. Thicket is both a reference to brambleberries -- another faery plant -- and the subtle defenses which kept the Hollow Hills safe from mortal notice.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-02-21 08:47 pm (UTC)
thnidu: edited from img383.imageshack.us/img383/3066/ss35450qf7.jpg (smiley)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
Oh, very satisfying. I was, at the start, a bit worried over how it might end. And, I must admit, I take much pleasure in the ballad-like rhyme and meter.

«He is the husband of Marjoram.»
Is that the same as Marjorie, the baby's mother?
Is he then the father? Or shouldn't we ask?
Edited Date: 2017-02-21 08:49 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2017-02-21 10:03 pm (UTC)
mirrorofsmoke: Text icon: I can't believe we're still protesting this shit. (Default)
From: [personal profile] mirrorofsmoke
Ahhh. Pennywhistle <3

We play a bit of that, though we're sorely out of practice and need to unearth our whistles. We've one in the key of C and one in D.


-Kobra

(no subject)

Date: 2017-02-21 11:46 pm (UTC)
technoshaman: (raven)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
Would not be the first Bard I knew that was fey or changeling, nor even the second...

(Not including present company... You, my dear, are in a class more or less by yourself... :) (And a classy class it is!)

But as for Amergin... Of course he would know one of his own kind! :) (As for how *I* know such things, it was a hard-won skill... and no small bit of "luck"... )

(no subject)

Date: 2017-02-22 11:21 am (UTC)
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
From: [personal profile] artsyhonker
I have no business adding anything to my project pile at the moment, but how would you feel about me setting this to music?

I might even get my harp out. My harp playing does leave something* to be desired, so if there is an accompaniment I might stick to piano, or a leadsheet with chords.

*an hour a day of practice for several months, for starters

Re: Go for it!

Date: 2017-02-22 06:22 pm (UTC)
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
From: [personal profile] artsyhonker
A leadsheet with chords is probably most useful for guitarists, but many pianists can cope with one perfectly well too if they have a folk and/or jazz background. I don't knwo how harpists fare with such; I suspect it depends on training and background. And of course some musicians play by ear enough that sheet music isn't really helpful or necessary; and this is also my experience of partially-sighted musicians -- the ones I know do read Braille music, but prefer to have a recording to work from too if at all possible. (Putting sheet music into Braille is on the list of skills I'd like to learn; I don't know if computerised transcription from, say, MusicXML files or MIDI is being worked on or if it's still something that needs direct human transcription. I'm also not up on the latest in OCR technology for sheet music.)

In any case, as I'm in Aberdeen for the next 8 nights and my instruments are all in London, a recording of any accompaniment will have to wait.

Re: Go for it!

Date: 2017-02-23 08:52 pm (UTC)
fyreharper: (Default)
From: [personal profile] fyreharper
Definitely depends on training and background - this harper does pretty well with a lead sheet (though better with audio for the melody and lead sheet for filling in the chords easily) since reading music is not one of my stronger skills and I don't always have the same range as whoever wrote out the accompaniment anyway.

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