LitFest Tours – Stories from the Regions: Echtra Encore

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Bring the Sun to Echtra
by Gwen Enchanted

Rain on shields and hands on drums,
Scops and singers, open-mouthed
Call the silent stones to life
Bring the sun to Echtra

Oh, for so long we chanted, in the rain. For so long we hid from the dark mountain. So many lost. So many mourned. For so long we breathed the scent of lanolin, slept with the animals for warmth, and with each other.

And on the walls, the fires burn
And on the meadow, silent stones
Stir, you sleeping granite giants
Bring the sun to Echtra

Follow the glowing footsteps, said the man with the dragon helm. And so many did, so many. And now they are lost, lost, as lost as we are, here on our barrel-raised houses, here with our scantly-filled cookpots, here and only here our children’s memories cannot hold anything but the mountain, the rain, the clouds.

In the belly of the dragon
In the rhythm of the rain
With the memory faint of music
Call the sun to Echtra

My sons are not sure, when I tell them about the sun. My daughter thinks I speak of them when I speak of it. They laugh at the notion of eating lamb: so precious now as sheep for wool and warmth and protection against the ever-present rain. And do not ask me about my husband. Do not ask.

Down below the silent longhouse
Down the secret, long-lost passage
Ran the men who beat the drums that
Brought the sun to Echtra

So here we sleep, although we trudge
Through mud and muck and rain and sludge
Waiting for the stones to wake and
Bring the sun to Echtra

I’ve lost hope. I no longer wake in the night, thinking I hear their footsteps, the departed warriors, the lost bards, the fallen scops and singers. And yet my children look sometimes to the sky. Sometimes they look. Sometimes they look to the sky.

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