In the dawn that ends the longest night
He is born alone in the midwinter forest.
Snow is the only milk the infant knows
To suckle from his sleeping mother's breast.
The wild boy grows as the days lengthen.
The sap leaps like salmon to his budding horns;
He is stag and boar, hound and hunter seeking
Music in the air and blood on the snow.
He beats his velvet horns on the new branches
And she wakes in the greening of the year.
Her tread springs the flowers from the thaw;
She plaits them fragrant in her shining hair.
From sun child he grows to green man tall.
The earth that is her body quickens
Receiving the fire of his bright spirit
Conceiving at once death and life's return.
Together under the summer stars they dance
Revel and feast in the time that is theirs:
That night that always ends the soonest
For once he is brightest he must then wane.
The ranks of the corn are gathered
They fall from their height ripe in pride
In the fullness of her bounty she joys
And weeps for the loss of his light.
Autumn's labor bows her shoulders
And her hair dulls like drying cornsilk.
Winter's first breath chills her bones,
Her belly rounds like the Harvest moon.
Opening the Gate of the Underworld,
She transcends death in journeyed ordeal
To sleep and dream of life returning,
Wait for the sunrise and his first kiss.