Wednesday, September 18, 2013

End Times Of The Cailleach

Untitled, Zdislav Beksinski

End Times Of The Cailleach





The world winds down,
the spirit seeps
out in a steam of boiled bones,
my bright bones that once
danced up the sky.

I look for you still
in the wheel of rain,
the bruise-smoke of rosemary's skin
burnt on the licorice black
forehead of night.

I see you in the wind-made wave
that is not blue but running ochre
sand through my sleeve,
pooling strontium drifts,
calcified dunes.

The idiot roar
from the gun's dead mouth
kills the walking flesh
but never me. Hands so busy with gold
make a snake around the throat.

Come stroke the white knives
in my ebony hair;
of all I've lost in faith or fire,
the last blessings, these few
I've saved for you.

~September 2013







posted for   real toads
Kerry's Wednesday Challenge: The Old Gods 
Kerry O'Connor offers a hard-to-refuse challenge today over at the Garden, to select a Celtic or Roman Deity…"…and write in the first person perspective of the god or goddess, but as if he (or she) were contemplating existence in the present era. Allow your imaginations to dictate what has become of the gods' personalities and relationships with humanity." I have chosen my old friend, the Celtic figure of the Cailleach, who is also one of the other faces of Brigid or Brighde, the goddess of fertility, poetry, spring, high places and all high endeavors.







Image: Untitled, 2004, by Zdislav Beksinski
May be protected by copyright. All copyright belongs to the copyright holders.

22 comments:

  1. First, that image you've used by Beksinski is just stunning.

    This poem seems to me to be all about reduction; the erosion of the high and the worthwhile down to mere money and steam.

    I had to read this twice, both times slowly, to savor the sheer poetry of it. "burnt on the licorice black forehead of night." That's so you, and so well-turned.

    The ending is startling, and haunting. She's lost faith and fire, but saved just the one thing, pale knives so opposite her dark hair, or more particularly, herself. Like, "Here, one bullet in the chamber to do yourself in with. You're welcome." What a jaundiced, terrifying, bleak and darkly gorgeous poem, Hedge.

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  2. This is just amazing. You have such a great way with creating images that can blow the mind away. Love it!

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  3. Brigid...?
    I thought her name was Fertile Myrtle

    Mesmerizing Dear Hedgewitch, I'm under your spell...

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  4. The idiot roar
    from the gun's dead mouth

    Damn - I wish I'd wrote that,

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  5. Oooh! The white knives in her ebony hair.. I love that image of a grey-haired goddess still packing steel. This is a wonderful response to the prompt, Hedge, and you chose the perfect image to compliment it.

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  6. "burnt on the licorice black
    forehead of night."

    Sorry, I know you don't appreciate copy/paste but I had to!! This just knocks off my socks along with the rest of your poem Hedge. Extremely well described...a very full poem experience here!

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  7. This is absolutely brilliant writing - just stunning. I am in awe.

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  8. geez joy...where do i even begin with this one...i could just copy and paste the poem back to you...heh...ok, wheel of rain, cool...the golden snake around the neck after the mouth of the gun..tight...the end is just haunting to me, at least int eh voice i read this in...

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  9. I could savor just this for quite some time:
    "I look for you still
    in the wheel of rain"

    I love this:
    "The idiot roar
    from the gun's dead mouth
    kills the walking flesh
    but never me."

    What a profound statement: "Hands so busy with gold
    make a snake around the throat."

    The ending is the most powerful to me. I picture an aged woman with silver streaks in her hair. But she is oh so bitter over what life's done to her. I feel almost as if the closing is ironic, as if she really means "curses" rather than "blessings." I'm afraid of her.

    When I looked her up, I read that she was the Queen of Winter.

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  10. Yeah, the image is beautiful, but, as always, so is your poetry, and such beauty cannot spell the end, or can it? Sometimes, walking on the beach I'm astonished that we could be 5 minutes from midnight, but the statistics don't lie. We must sing as best we can while we can.

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  11. Wonderful lines and images from first to last. The "blessings" seem to me to be a prelude to some awful final silence--a demise. Not a pretty sort of peace. Fine work, and a very fitting response to the prompt.

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  12. \Hi Joy, I agree with everything everyone before has said. A very cool poem with so many striking lines and images that one could just recite the whole thing back to talk of strongest bits. I think she sounds like quite a lovely goddess, and her blessings (even the last ones) much better than the snake around the throat for those gold working hands. (That may be my favorite line, not because of its beauty but its sharp aptness as a description of what gold seekers get.) This kind of goddess --fertility, poetry, spring, high endeavors--always seems to have something saved up, even in end times--and I guess that is what I find so beautiful here--lnot just life but something more goes on--why I suppose you do what you do and we all try to. Anyway, lovely. k.

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  13. yeah, it's the idiot roar line that makes this for me, too. fascinating and timely, Hedgewitch.

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  14. The language alone makes this a pure joy to read, Hedge. Exquisite work.

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  15. As long as a shard of bone remains . . . I fear. What a vision of the fall of the great which cannot fall, though we lose worlds and magic and beauty and the ability to choose. I love every word, pared down to the bone and vital.

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  16. another goose bumps read - especially the final verse. though she's resigned, she still wields power.

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  17. another exemplary use of color's magic. your music is visual and has the distinct ability to span great riffs of time. of course the goddess of spring/fertility/poetry/high endeavors -- speaks of end, of sharp white, of licorice black/forehead of night. these contrasts have me reeling with excitement. so glad to come by today. this is poetry I crave to read and experience. thank you!

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  18. the licorice black forehead of night; running ochre sand through my sleeve; the last blessings, these few I've saved for you.

    Gorgeous! This is brilliant, beautiful, I am so impressed

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  19. I, too, will remember that image of the white knives in the ebony hair. Stunning and powerful poem!

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  20. The idiot roar
    from the gun's dead mouth
    kills the walking flesh....I too wish I had written this. I am so tired of war and rumors of war...That image is the art of nightmares...yet, I love it. Beautiful work as always!!

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  21. Exceptional! The gods and goddesses are cheering you on! I love so many lines, but if I had to pick my favorite stanza this would be it:
    " I look for you still
    in the wheel of rain,
    the bruise-smoke of rosemary's skin
    burnt on the licorice black
    forehead of night."

    Brilliant!!

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  22. The first stanza is so descriptive of the image you chose - both so passionately sad. I agree with everyone above ... and as usual SO enjoyable when read aloud.

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'Poetry is an echo asking a shadow to dance' ~Carl Sandburg