Candlemas Vow

In the moody half-light
of the Imbolc landscape
between birch, ash and oak,
there’s an unspoken oath.

Brassy hazel catkins shimmer,
lemony lamb’s tail buds glimmer,
and there’s a gleam in Candlemas
bells’ nodding waxen flowers.

Everywhere, for the first time
this year, is the vow that temperatures will climb
and imbue everything
with the welcome scent of spring.

Kim M. Russell, 1st February 2021

My response to earthweal weekly challenge Seasonal Changes 1: Imbolc, also linked to dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night

Sarah welcomes us to the first of a series of seasonal posts about changes in the seasons.

She says that much of humanity has become disconnected from the earth and that seasonal changes are integral to how our planet works. She tells us about her walks during lockdown, noticing the seasonal changes in the landscape, and feeling connected again.

Sarah also tells us about the Wheel of the Year, a traditional framework for acknowledging and celebrating seasonal change, based on the traditional Celtic calendar. She explains Imbolc, a festival of new life and new beginnings traditionally celebrated at the start of February, and invites us to celebrate Imbolc through our poems.

65 thoughts on “Candlemas Vow

    1. Thank you, Sarah. I’ve seen a fair few lamb’s tails and catkins but so far only one of our many clumps of snowdrops has bloomed. I’m waiting for the rest with bated breath.

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  1. It’s hard to stump for the traditional cycles here at the end of the Holocene — all this weird weather belling the end of the past 10,000 years of serene climate — but the Imbolc fires are faithful and the noggins of the new are getting up through the snow. The vow is kept. Thanks for sanctifying it in this lovely poem. – B

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  2. Oh, lovely, those snowdrops. They popped into my poem too! We are on the lip of spring. In fact, here, on sunny days, it IS spring, buds are poking up. One more springtime of delight ahead. How miraculous that is. Every single year.

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    1. Thank you, Sherry! I love spring flowers. Sadly, it’s pouring with rain this morning, even the cats won’t set foot outside the back door, and the garden is waterlogged.

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  3. I really felt this yesterday when I was out for a walk: spring is just around the corner, finally! Lovely imagery here:
    ‘Brassy hazel catkins shimmer,
    lemony lamb’s tail buds glimmer’
    Perfect for early spring!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Ingrid. I had to drive my husband to pick up his car from the garage yesterday, after months of not driving at all, and was amazed to see so many catkins by the roadside. Some gardens even had blooming daffodils!

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  4. Beautiful Kim, it was reading your poem that inspired me to join in and find a focus now I am a long way from Navasola and for a while now as we live these lockdown lives but I have my photos to inspire me to remember the seasons there.

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  5. This is absolutely gorgeous, Kim! I especially love the image; “Brassy hazel catkins shimmer.”💝 A fine poem that reminds me of commemorating the presentation of Jesus at the Temple. 🙂

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  6. I always learn something at dVerse! Was not familiar with Imbolc festival! I always love the poems where you describe flowers and gardens. You do it so beautifully I can picture myself in the midst of the blooms. We have quite a ways to go before spring arrives here. Are you a gardener, Kim?

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    1. Thank you, Lill! I am a sometimes gardener: I spent a lot of time in my grandparents’ garden when I was little and learned a lot from my grandfather; when I lived in Ireland I grew fruit and vegetables; when I moved to Norfolk, I did a lot of gardening; and last year I attempted to grow vegetables, but mostly our garden is for the wildlife.

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  7. Well, at least we got some sunshine today (1st time in over a week) & we went out (in the car) to bask, even though it was -8F & a bit breezy.
    So your fine poem was particularly welcomed relief, KR. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Ron! We had sunshine today and it was a little warmer, snow has been forecast for the weekend, but the signs in our garden are pointing to spring.

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  8. I adore all things Celtic. I have a Celtic wheel of Life above my stairwell. Lovely poem. One commenter mentioned “lockdown lives”, which is a perfect title for another d’Verse prompt.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you Kim, I was hoping for a sweet touch of the ‘imbolic’ tonight… And you didn’t disappoint me – Delightful… Thank you for a beautiful read.

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