The poem is set in early Anglo-Saxon England at the liminal moment before dawn. (Liminal moments were greatly favoured for magical acts and gathering of medicinal plants).
The gatherering of litchen from standing stones is inferred from the practice of collecting it from crosses in church yards for use in healing as mentioned in Leech Book III P345 LXII: 'take....litchen from the hallowed sign of Christ..'.
The use of standing stones is based on The Laws of Ælfred (ca. 890) which state: ‘some men are so blind that bring their offering to earth-fast stone and also to trees and to wellsprings, as the witches teach’.
Elves are mentioned in many Anglo-Saxon documents and the reference to elves being associated with stones is inspired by Icelandic belief where elves are still said to dwell within certain rocks.
A galdor is a spell or charm that is sung.
A wight is a land spirit.
The Gates of Tomorrow
Door before daybreak, gateway to sunrise,
Before the cock crows as eventide dies.
He gathers litchen, together at night,
Containing its force before it is light.
Standing and casting, his magical rite,
Between the old stones portal in twilight.
In sacred deep trance, with twigs of ash tree,
As staves cast on ground magic runes to see.
Before sun appears, above burning bright,
From corner of eye appears elfin wight.
White shining spirit, where magic stones stand,
Guardian of rocks on this sacred land.
Waiting at the cold, portal of the dawn,
Hands held beneath his long tunic of fawn.
As all grass around, becomes frosty haw,
Dusting and dancing in the morning raw.
Singing long galdors, in a spellbound trance,
Chanting secrete lay in a runic stance.
Waiting for sunrise, the gods to entreat,
When the day wakest the charm is complete.
Copyright Andrew Rea Æfterra Litha 2017