The hodening hoss, the Marbury Dun,
Old Boneface the deathless am I
Heavy with foal two thousand years;
bridled with sorrow, saddled with fear
I canter through pastures of tremble and quake;
I gallop the track between sleep and awake
Seeking the deep of welcome and stint for my tears.
The mare-headed queen, the Mari Lwyd,
I was mother of all of the herds
Ten thousand years my shining foals;
bridled with starlight, saddled with gold
Leapt the divide between living and dead,
quickened the year with a toss of the head
Galloped the deep of beauty and never grew old.
But mother of God, the Mary mild,
the pregnant maiden came
Bursting with Jehovah seed;
entered my stable, cried out her need
With ropes I was dragged from the birthing straw;
aching with foal I was heaved to the door
Swapping warmth for bitter weather and birth of a rival creed.
And now I’m nightmare, I’m rattling womb;
the Uffington wraith I’ve become
Forced into dark, you made me a fiend;
bridled with shadow, saddled with scream
From window to window, traversing the night;
my face in your glass in a shudder of light
Seeking that deep of welcome, befitting a queen.
Let me in once again: let me in!