“The Bardic Circle”


August 13, 2019 by phicks2012

There is an old tradition in the SCA called a Bardic Circle. People gather in a circle, usually at night after most of the day’s activities have wound down, and perform for one another — songs mostly, but also poetry and other performance arts. A candle, or a staff is passed around the circle to indicate whose turn it is to perform, and everyone who wants to share their talent does so. Some are wildly talented, others less so, and still others somewhat challenged — but people appreciate their efforts, and (with rare exceptions) are polite and accepting.

This tradition is somewhat less prevalent now than it once was for some reason, but this verse was written a very long time ago, and at the time Bardic Circles were wildly popular and were seen at nearly every event.

The verse below was written LONG ago, and might have been posted before, but still…..

The Bardic Circle

The darkness gathers, like a dark wine poured
Into an empty chalice, and the sound
Of voices rising in a vibrant chord
Sends ripples through the night to lap around
The golden rim where faces hover near
In the reflection of a candle’s light,
And music’s laughter’s soft upon the ear
As lips draw near to take a sip of night.

The candle passes, and above the flame
Brave tales are spoken, and a magic spun
Of Poets’ dreams and melodies proclaims
The glory of another victory won.
Brave verses flow into the pool of night,
Borne on the surge of music, clear and sweet,
And, as with stars, the evening comes alight
As o’er the bowl the eyes of comrades meet.

And as the magic gathers with the song,
The candle passes, like a lesser sun,
And laughter bubbles in the air, and long
Expectant pauses herald all and one.
And as the candle passes in its arc
Bold visions pour into the sparkling night
Like diamonds tumbling o’er a rainbow’s arc,
To fill the bowl with scintillating light.

Sing ye, oh Bards, of wonder, and of time,
And tell your tales, and let your verses fly
Beyond the night on wings of song and rhyme,
To hang like stars within the velvet sky.
And we shall set the candle down, and smile,
And lift our cups of softly glowing wine,
And toast the dawn, and linger for a while
While morning flows into the cup of time

[22 August, A.S. XXV, 1990]

3 thoughts on ““The Bardic Circle”

  1. Jehanne says:

    Thank you for sharing “The Bardic Circle” poem. I haven’t seen it written about before this. Please know this tradition is amazing and living well in many SCA Kingdoms, especially Calontir. It’s one of my favorites at Lilies War. Keep it up where your are.

  2. Ooh what a lovely piece! Great ending!

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August 2019


I am an active, outgoing person interested in all sorts of things and all sorts of people! I'm constantly discovering new interests, and expect that to continue right into the grave!

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