i am given keys from the sacred ash. i’m given mistletoe to brew.
the elder bush stops me as i hurry by and reminds me to be well. the dryad
of the apple tree with a far-reaching radiance appears in a rainbow arch,
ablaze with a clear, sweet, health-giving wisdom, she hands me the cup of the seer.
the may king steps into my path and throws a gay garland around me.
in my orchard the hawthorn is fruitful. frogs nestle at its root, it is shining
and all the sweet birds sing – the foreign birds their song, the native birds
theirs, crafting their soundscapes, coloratura for me, for my crowning with may!
now my tears begin to fall like the spent petals of briars. see!
see how they fall, dimpling the water, sending out invisible circles forever,
tears for the ache of old-age in my new-born bones, for the baby’s feebleness
in my old-age, for the impassioned unwisdom of my prime, i let tears fall.
i know all my veins, and that knowledge am i. all understanding sings
the still shouts of song of which i am made. i wear the invisible cloak
of the all-viewing, all-visible sky. and i know . . . only what hurts me, or doesn’t,
only what flits through my nerves. i have no wisdom, but my hands are full of it!