Thursday, July 21, 2016

Totem



Totem


Spirit Eater
White Waltzer
secret inside my skin
snailcurled in snowdrift
sleeping, black lips closed over
teeth big as carrots, dark poppy-pod eyes
shut, REM flutter stilled
silent as the melting flake;
in dreams you
come to eat the gold yolk
from the half-egg moon called
winter’s sun.

Wake when the hunter comes,
lift your chainsaw paws,
show him your ivory-yellow teeth
scrimshawed by the obduracy 
of your kills; shake 
his bones from your throat
with a growl.
Ice Orphan
White Diver
my only protection now.
All winter you reaped
sleek black bodies of grief,

turning the ice
salty red with your patience,
and when the dark time came
and there was nowhere else, you wooed me
 with garnets and alabaster, freshcut from
the sorrows you'd slain for me.
So I gave you
sleep in the black heartcave
content to barter away
all yesterday’s skins
for the talisman necklace
of your ebony claws.





~January 2011









Originally Posted for   Fireblossom Friday   at real toads


(Hannah has a very similar prompt up at real toads today so I resurrected this but did not link.)



Header image: Post card. Bear totem on grave. Ketchikan, Alaska.
Source: US National Archives, series: Photographs of the Inhabitants of Metlakatla, British Columbia and Metlakatla, Alaska, compiled ca. 1856 - 1936
Public Domain via wikimedia commons



7 comments:

  1. Oh Joy, how gorgeous. I bet Hannah would love you to link...........I am excited that someone has a bear carving on their grave. I wonder if I might have a wolf, LOL.

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  2. A beautiful poem, Joy. I am too late (rather it is too tired) to make a detailed comment but will return. The word combinations and finely wrought images are all very vivid and strong and stick in the mind like tooth and claw inhabit some innate consciousness (only they are somewhat more tender seeming here.) k.

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  3. I love it Hedge...your descriptions draw me in deeply to this creature...

    Love this:

    "in dreams you
    come to eat the gold yolk
    from the half-egg moon called
    winter’s sun."

    and this as well:

    "you wooed me
    with garnets and alabaster, freshcut from
    the sorrows you'd slain for me.
    So I gave you
    sleep in the black heartcave"

    Just excellent throughout entirety!!

    Please do link this up, Hedge!! Thank you, for the comment to bring me here...others will love this as well! :)'s

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  4. Whew. This gave me a shiver. Some wonderful lines in this Joy...you
    come to eat the gold yolk from the half-egg moon called winter’s sun....was the first one that really caught me...i really like your description of the chainsaw paws, it grounds it a bit in a little more reality...the closing on this though, the bartering of the cave in your heart, that is def my fav.

    how are you. just peeking in, for a little time.

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  5. I adore the imagery here.. and what a great image of a bear totem, those chainsaw teeth and the slaying of the winter's sorrow... This sound like a perfect totem to take you through the darkness..

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  6. Don't nobody mess with this mama bear, or anyone within its totemic circle ... no teeth fallen from the myth here, and as invocation it's naked and ferally efficient. No distance, no shadow between speaker and totem here. The purity of it is refreshingly terrifying.

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  7. Wow, just wow. This is you in all your poetic power, Hedge. This is just overflowing aith astonishing turns of phrase, but my favorite is "silent as the melting flake." I think the shorter lines serve you very well here, just adding to the punch and primitive undercurrent of this piece. Freaking amazing stuff.

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