Posts Tagged ‘my poetry’

O Serapis, husband of Isis, I have no husband.

O Serapis, father of Harpocrates, I have no father.

O Serapis, father of Hermanubis, I am travelling alone.

O Serapis, bearded lord, sometimes I am afraid,

travelling alone, and then I am ashamed of my fear.

If you watch over me, Serapis, I would be grateful.

If you would send your son Harpocrates to wait for me

when I am out late at night, if you would send your son

Hermanubis to guide me safely out and home again,

if you would look after me like a father, Serapis, and ask

your holy wife Isis to look after me like a mother,

I would be grateful, and I would sing your praise.

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In the heart of a piece of coal

both the fire and the diamond

In the heart of a human body

both the blood and the pulse of nerve

In the heart of a clod of dirt

the spark of the star that birthed it

In every heart, in every hearth,

in flame, in lamp, in power plant,

Vesta, Vesta, Vesta


Goddess of the primal fire

who humbly consents to warm our homes

to cook our food, to drive the machines

that serve us, Vesta Dea,

may we also serve you

with prayer, with praises,

with fuels that burn clean,

with clean and focused hearts,

Goddess of the primal fire,

Vesta Mater, fire of life.

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Well, it’s a treasure for me, anyway–a poem I remembered writing but had no copy of anywhere. I wrote this in July 1996, a first experiment with prose poetry.

Knowing that she had not murdered her son, knowing perhaps that she could have, Rhiannon preferred to carry her burden rather than argue whose it was. Seven years she sat by the mounting block and lied about herself, telling the story they wanted to hear, the ballad of the bad mother. They never saw her rage or her tears; her fists were clenched beneath her knees. Did she recognize the child another woman had fed for seven years? All we know is that she named him anxiety.

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In his excellent book The Apple Branch: A Path to Celtic Ritual, the late Alexei Kondratiev suggests that the Song of Amergin can be used as a calendar, without rearranging any of the lines or accepting any of Robert Graves’s other speculations.  His attribution for the lunar month just passing inspired the following poem:

“I am a hill of skilled ones” – The Song of Amergin

No longer does the hill rise above the people, the sacred place

of the gods.  No longer do the skilled ones carry their harps

and wear six colors in their cloaks (seven for a king), with

a border of feathers.  No longer do the bards gather in the month

of the harvest to praise the praiseworthy, to satirise the base,

and to sing of the shining ones.

Here I sit at my computer,

in a basement of a library building, in clothes a bard or bo-aire

would consider drab and dull, and make words of fire, black lines

of electrons on an otherworldly paper, saved by magical memory

greater than mortal mind.  I climb the hill of the Internet,

a world-wide web of gathering, a continual moot, and cast

my song abroad, in the bards’ month, in the time of harvest,

when the skilled ones gather to satirise, to praise, and to sing.

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The hair is rays, or else the rays are hair;

He is a sun god, after all, and so

He shines, radiant in metal as he is above.

The eyes are open, and no doubt they see;

There is no part of him that does not see

The eyes that look at him, the heart beneath.

There is no part of him that does not see you,

As once a poet said about another god;

But he was looking at a broken statue.

The face of Belenos is but a mask,

A disk held up to amplify the sun,

To dazzle seeking eyes with its reflection.

Or was it worn by one who wore the god,

Or whom the god wore as one wears a mask?

No matter what was done, the fact remains:

The mask is there to amplify the truth.

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