Absinthe: A Call to the Green Fairy

Like many previous poems on this blog, today’s poem was written for ritual use. However, it is for a ritual that my readers might not have expected me to address: La Louche, the traditional method of preparing absinthe. Now, absinthe fans have a poem they can use along with the usual absinthiana of fountain, glass, and spoon.

At Midsummer, I received from a friend a completely unexpected, but quite appropriate, gift: a bottle of absinthe, complete with glass, spoon, and sugar cubes. Somehow, in all of my poetry writing in the past three years, it had not occurred to me to experiment with absinthe, despite my knowing about its traditional associations with poetry and art. Within a few minutes of receiving such a wonderful gift, I decided that I should write an absinthe poem, one befitting its use as a drink for seeking inspiration. (We might even see absinthe as a sort of modern-day Óðrerir, the stirrer of inspiration, but that discussion would go way beyond the scope of this post!)

In its classical period, absinthe was personified (or perhaps deified) as the “Green Fairy.” Thus, one might call to the Green Fairy much as one would call to Odin, Thor, Freyja or other gods and goddesses. That’s exactly what I’ve done here with this poem titled “Call to the Green Fairy.” It is written in my usual alliterative style, in four stanzas of ljóðaháttr. Unlike my other poems, it is completely free of obscure terms, except for the last word, wode. Pronounced to rhyme with “road,” it is taken from Old English and is used in modern Asatru circles to mean things like “poetry, inspiration, fury, and madness” all rolled together — which fits quite nicely with absinthe’s reputation in its classical period!

Of course, the Green Fairy cannot truly be separated from her signature drink, and the proper recitation of this poem cannot truly be separated from the preparation of that drink either. Thus, one who seeks genuine inspiration from the Green Fairy should recite it just after finishing the ritual of La Louche and just before drinking the absinthe. Heathens (and others) may wish to hold the glass aloft at this point as if it were a drinking horn and they were making a sumbel toast. Enjoy!

O Green Fairy,
glorious lady,
I call on thee to come!
Angel of awe,
in absinthe thou dwell,
and now thy draught I drink.

To thy wormwood wine,
some water I added,
to release thy louche of herbs.
Sucrose sweet
I set on the spoon
to feed and fuel thy spirit.

Rightful ritual
readied thy gift,
changed from clear to cloudy,
and soon my soul
will soar in heights,
changed from cloudy to clear.

O mighty muse,
my mind is ready:
my ghost I give to thee!
Fly forth now,
O Fairy of Green:
come and clasp me here,
come and wax my wode!

Copyright © 2013 Eirik Westcoat.
All rights reserved.

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2 thoughts on “Absinthe: A Call to the Green Fairy

  1. Pingback: I’m with Them | The Skaldic Eagle

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