Tuesday, December 31, 2019

The Last Spell

The Last Spell

The sorceress said:
My blue eye comes from a peacock's pride,
two magpie plumes, one black, one white
are my cheekbones' span, one left, one right,
and the chilblained heart of a drunken man
beats out time for the madwoman's rhyme
that runs through my nodding head.

The hedgewitch said:
I'll work in the dark of a gone moon's quirk
with a sickle of poppy stem that I've curved
slicing dust from the wing of a moth with no sting
for a paste of bat's grease that paints shadows for skin,
nurse a mandrake root with blood, milk and soot, then dance
on one foot to the lord of hell til it smiles in my bed.

Yet none of these but this blackened art
can give back to me what died when I fell.
To make me again both young and well, my craft has no skill
except in my heart.

December 2019

posted for Kerry's final prompt at

Images: Crone, from the internet, author unknown, Fair Use
Zenobia, © Warrick Goble, Fair Use

Friday, December 27, 2019

Call of the Crow

Call of the Crow

The crow called,
What world is coming?
A world with no ease in the seeing

where the last battle
finds no ending, where gold eats up valor
where no sending of ravens
can swallow the feast.

The crow called,
what world do I see
where summer kills flowers
where kine have no milk
and die eating dust,

where women
gamble their worth,
and old men
bring false judgment;

where each child
is a reaver, each man
a betrayer,
blinding his own eyes;
where the sea can feed no one
not even a gull,
where poison is flowing
deep in the well.

The crow called,
I shall, I shall
see it all,
but no more
any world that is dear to me.

~April 2015

Poem 27 for April--unlinked, and a total self-indulgence.
Reposted and lightly re-edited today, December 27, 2019 for Sherry's last prompt
The Imaginary Garden with Real Toads

Process notes: This poem is drawn directly from a 9th century(?) prophecy(below) I happened on that reminded me very strongly of the description of the final days before the Ragnarök in Völuspá. Bleak as these prophecies are, I also see them as vital warnings, informing us so perhaps their dire ends can somehow be averted, foretelling as they do elements of a personal disintegration which leads to the more universal one.

This prophecy is Celtic, and spoken by the goddess Babd, the war goddess aspect of The Morrigan, who often takes the form of a crow:

I  shall not see a world that will be dear to me.
Summer without flowers,
Kine will be without milk,
Women without modesty,
Men without valour,
Captures without a king.

... ... ...

Woods without mast,
Sea without produce,

... ... ...

Wrong judgments of old men,
False precedents of brethren,
Every man a betrayer,
Every boy a reaver.
Son will enter his father's bed,
Father will enter his son's bed,
Everyone will be his brother's brother-in-law.

... ... ...

An evil time!
Son will deceive his father,

Daughter will deceive her mother.

prophecy of the goddess Badb,  from "The Second Battle of Mag Tuired"


Image: Crow in flight at Isfahan, Iran, 2012, shared under a creative commons license
via wikimedia commons     Manipulated.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Fire of Imaginary Origin

Fire of Imaginary Origin

We lit a bonfire
of lies on the earth
where we burned

not vanities
but sanities,
not tree parts

but peace, hearts,
flesh and bone,
blood and stone;

and whatever we learned
as planets were turned
we watched
fall to ash, and were glad that it burned.

Winter Solstice
December, 2019

It is with sadness and great gratitude that I post to Marian's Imagine prompt at the vanishing

Image: The Ladder of Fire, © Rene Magrite, 1939. Fair Use
Image of fire, author unknown, via internet. Fair Use

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Pinball Christmas

Pinball Christmas

The wind remembers the snow spirit
when the hunger moon paints clouds
flaxen with pearl.  Christmas is out

somewhere knocking
against lamp-poles like a steel ball
in a Jotun's bar machine

looking to clang a bell
over a red kettle with slit lid
past which a clamor of people

pass quicker, suddenly stiff,
fever eyes cast down, wary of any
expectation to give

here in the Land of the Take.
Christmas is nowhere, I say,
 in music or mind, only perhaps

in the rebound of blurred lights that fight
against the black buffer of December night,
striking their sparks where the heart is least bright.

~December 2019

Images: Salvation Army Bell Ringer, author unknown, manipulated, fair use
Christmas tree, 12/13/19, © joyannjones

Friday, December 6, 2019

The Keeper's Dream

The Keeper's Dream

Wild darkness grows tame lightning
blue light from wrinkled hands;
 St Elmo's fire, stormscream, water
pushed into a weapon,
air's hysterics
my mates in this dark place.  
From the dead sailor's dream I know
your cry, snaking
up the spiral spine of things,
to warn the time is here
when even fishes will need wings.

~December 2019

A quick and dirty 55--forgive if my tools are still a bit rusty--with thanks to Kerry for all the glories, past and present, of The Imaginary Garden, and to the G-Man for the form which never fails.

Images: Pharos and Pacifico Oracle cards, © Kerry O'Connor
Attribution Link