here’s a long poem about becoming a druid

Emerging.

1.

Out of the cracking time-light woven egg I push my being.

I muscle away my old star-scarred sky.

I blossom like petals. I crack apart the sepals of my world.

I tumble into flame, a-flame within the incubating flame.

Like a bitter tear I am spilled from the flame-petalled eye.

Teardrops of flame spill upwards, tears of water down.

I hear, with one half of my tear-built body, earth and, with

the other half, the flame and water air.  I spread out

wings!  I’ve found no sky beyond the one I knew when I

was small. These new distances that I have found

woven of atom’s souls are my own soul’s horizons.

I fill my distances.  I weave a well-known sky of new horizons.

By a sentient but not yet autonomous act I make of my being

my beast.  I am a skyful of many kinds of birds

and many small and armoured beasts; a blue and singing flame

cradling another sky-sown seed of self, an ego-egg, a world.

I look down where my columnar rising climbs the sky

built of beings, each myself, me here, me there, me then, me now,

a solid rising, locus and logos, atom and aevum, a core –

a form I make back and forth through the bucking bolts of time.

I am a white woman.  My wings are white.  My skies of night

and day shine for me.  O naive beings of the Earths, you are bred

in the skies’ nests!  You open your eggs and see sky.

You are licked scarlet and gold by the flames of the nest.

2.

In the muscle of Earth’s torus I once lay like a sun, unknowing.

Unknown to me the knocking heart of my serpent mother.  It is

the flaming dragon mouth that brought me forth out of the atom,

the aevum, locus and time, which by my backward glance I make.

Oh with my whole heart, O wounded king, my friend, my sister owl,

and my brother swan, I want the gods!  I seize my being-spun wand

and climb it, crying out ‘Come!  Help us Lir!  O Lovely Lugh! O Brighid

so Marified!  Cernunnos gentled!  Esus treed with pain!

I’ve seen wan faces haunting cages of bone.  I am the splintering

souls of devils; I have them under my wings.  I find the weary ground

too full of its soaked up pain to soak up more.  Gods of war,

have pity!  The rocks give back pain; the plains are poxed with pain!

I am the paining atom sucked by reluctant aevum, and the sucking aevum.

If time stood still, locus would flow.  (Oh, time stands still,

damp-feathered hatchling!)  But oh, the irony ache in my widow’s eye,

in my cripple’s handshake, in the sick, sad flesh of all my beings.

I walk upon the sky.  I’m making my sky-making Earth.

I am the darkness in it, a many-being’d brain. I forbid me, and command

and tempt me. I try, I will, I dream, I quail, negate, deny.  I shut

my eager lips, I clamp my teeth on my taboo-tormented tongue.

How can I sing the glittering jewel of dew and oh, all being’d gods, to whom?

Each eye a dewdrop, knowing as well as I do the sighing sweetness

of a spring morning, the textured beauty of time-long thought,

the wash of rain, the nagging kiss of pain, the pain of kiss.

3.

Roving I find, furred with perfumes oh, so welcoming, my prey.

Bred among the unknown roots they dart like rainbows.

Oh, my fish! My hares!  My goal is the young god’s hand, his leathered wrist,

his upraised arm: to sleep in a ribboned hood, to soar on command.

My night, the half shut of my eyes, is my hood.  I dream in jesses.

Mars is a red-eyed elf, his arrows steely slick with the oily pain of dying prey.

O masculine! O man!  I have struck your wounded womb with words,

O wounded god, I’ve slain you now, while searching for your soul!

Your sky-womb nurses the red-eye elf-stone of your soul.

Your fleshed-with-warlove, stained and stony egg you lick with pain-

edged flames of water, warm within, cool in hot, your stone

of willing self.  I feel your foetal feet kick the inner muscle of my womb.

I saw my god’s hand lift an earth-swathe fold of a valley of her dress.

She stepped a laughing impatient step, and I saw every atom dance,

every cloud swing, every stone stand up, every star swirl in heaven.

I saw spring forth from stones springs uncountable.

Every atom laughed.  Each aeval locos was effusive with her laughter.

Sweet are smiles.  He came forth from every smiling stone!

So dancing the air!  So singing the water! The sculpturing earth!

The easy and urgent blossoming drama of fire!

Oh, there you stand, my god, though I know only your name and the sky

of your eyes and the laughing steps I take towards you, dancing

stone that I am, red-eyed elf of a planet of war that I am, your own

sad sister, my love, my Lugh.  You are my logos, my locus, my love.

The round and circling spiral pathways of the dance of the mystic math:

Star-footed, swine-eyed, ten-tined we go; silver our talons,

rainbowed the flash of our scales.  You gyre above my little wren’s gyre,

above the muscled serpent gyre of my slumbering mother.

But listen, oh listen, o rim of my wooden wheel, spoke of my hub:

Conjure a while in the silent and listening east with your nut of a knot.

I swing you about like a star like a sun in the breadth of my sky

at the circling edge of my self!  I deceive myself! I lie dying, I die lying!

I bear my lie like a flower.  My lie I bear like a fruit and my death

like a seed. It is the tree-egg, the serpent-seed of self.  Into my heavy,

hidden heart go the deep nerves of feeling, feeding like tree roots. I find

my virtuous light, my truth, my lifeful of deaths, in the soil in darkness there.

In the knot of my serpent-muscle heart I feel. In my forest brain I know.

I count the selves of my universes in faces as many-eyed and -tongued

as mine.  I am them.  They are me.  My fearful flinch is theirs,

their yearning fingertips of near perception mine.

4.

O Power!  O Merlin in your cloak of stars!  Your palms are zodiacs.

In your eyes slide snakes, in your ears eternal winds.  Your nose filters

the scents of heaven out of chaos.  Your tongue tells the wisdoms of worlds

sieved through the zodiac webs of your fingers like fishes through nets.

How can I tie them down to my wounded and cross-hatched palms,

those stars? Step down my Samhuinn howl to a shy Imbolc of hope?

Crown with a loving garland of healing herbs my well-trained dragon,

schooled in the ache of wisdom and the flowering death of a lie?

Look how small I stand, Wandjinna, in the circle here.  I am my craeb.

Look how the grinning west and the near-tears east and the menacing north

breathe fire, sigh air, splash water in; and the stone-sullen south it is

who captures me, who pins my wings to the zodiac points of Merlin’s palm.

Out from the dark, crying tyranny of craeb, the lance in the cauldron heart,

the nail in the palm’s centre, the celestial pole, streamers of a perpetual Mayday

ride out on waves of pain and waves of love.  Serpents seek outwards

from my mind, my eyes, my ears, and from my many-tongued mouths.

Basil the snake glides outwards like an ivy wreath. Ivy the saint

winds outwards like a dancing harlot.  Death in the berry black eyes of one,

poems in the scaly eyes of the venomous other. I have a thousand poems,

a thousand arms.  I am a thousand roads to travel song by song along.

I sing a journey and it is an open gate.  Between za and re, between

cláirseach and lute, between bare soles and well-buttered brogues more gates

stand open.  Scarlet are the dancers’ veils.  They wrap me in a shawl

of singing, dance my blood through my veins.  Each one visits my heart

bringing roses. White-petalled stars are: roses thorned with splendour.

They nestle like chickens in straw.  Sharp are their twitterings of light,

exploding golden among dark, cold pebbles that no-one can see, because

they are ourselves, oh, truly they are our millions of magical selves.

Each star, the bride of time, is as long and thin and winding

as time itself.  Who has braided these?  Taliesin’s hands on a lyre loom?

I follow a braided rainbow way through attitudinising zodiacs

on the braiding hands of gods, and get at last my place among the stars.

5.

Here’s a new and alien labyrinth, a many-furled dimension hidden

in a flower.  My gods dwell in it, coiled, like islands sleeping, yet

nowhere coiled!  but spread like any sky above a starry ocean

crab-impaled and bleeding stars of love, like any atom, any earth.

I am the serpent’s coils: my twin dooms, birth and death, almost

kiss each other; and they would, most dangerously

if that Caduceus were not swaddled up tight as a lily bud, hard

as a totem pole between them, twinning all things both twinned and twinned.

Twin-handed, twin-footed, twin-eyed, I hold the staff and shout

till the soundwaves break on my horizon and come wake-weaving back

up along my new-laid beach.  This is an ocean I have not made.

My voice has not sung this sailor-spilling ship upon my shore.

6.

I stretch the very lenses of my eyes after my dying soul,

not seeing where it goes.  Does it flow like love through the veins

of the gods, like a fish or a bird?  Does it dive with a will of its own

to its well-remembered, eagerly sought out doom?

Warm ache ofLife, I wear you like a cloak, like a skin I’ll one day slough

Your skin is the ground I stand on, sky above me, and the sun

in it like a yellow flower, the moon beneath my feet, symmetrical

flowers of being all in a row, leafed with Brighid’s cupped hands.

Have you heard a flower shout?  A mountain sob? A newborn baby roar?

The molten stars of magic bleed three beams of power.  O you young god,

if only this, my three-voiced song, could course like ocean currents through you,

unborn babe of mine, I’d heal your heart, my sobbing planet child, I’d heal your hands.

AWEN                                                 AWEN                                                    AWEN

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