Bríg

The icy water of the sacred well slips down
your throat, the taste of stone on the back
of your tongue like the flavor of time at
the root of the World Tree. Turn your face
to the fading stars, brushed by the blushing fringe
of Her indigo cloak, and hear the crystal notes
of starry strings, the murmur of the dawn wind
a poem you almost understand under the susurrus
of leaves whispering Her name.

Her cloak holds the fire of stars
and waters of the sky. The dawn wind plays
on the strings of Her harp, whispering poetry
at the door of the day. Hers is the Fire in Water,
brewed by Her hand–water of the sacred well,
honey of Her bee, the breath of the wind.
No truth but Her fire lights it,
No joy but Her hand blesses it,
No song but the calling of Her name.

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Doing the Work

It is putting one foot before the other that crosses
the sea. One step, one stroke of the oar, one wave
breaking over your head. It is the loss
of every precious thing you tried to save
but couldn’t hold. It is the opening out
of every hidden flow into the gaze
of those you’d love to love you. It’s the shout
that breaks from you when lightning blazes
from feet to skull and shatters the fragile eggshell
of the life you thought you wanted. It is the day
you wake up knowing the well is dry, the knell
of a dream ending. This is the only way.

The journey unfolds one step, one breath at a time
And though I drown, I won’t forsake what’s mine.

Let Me Forget Your Name

Let me forget your name, O Dancer of Storms,
and know you instead as the breeze caressing my skin,
in the wind that waves the tree, in the deafening din
of the gale that runs before you. My heart warns
that names are dangerous, limiting things. No grace
can come of trying to bound you, trying to bind
a tempest into a story in my mind,
to a people, or to a time, or to a place.
Who can grasp the storm, who bind the wind?
I am not such a fool to hold you still.
I’ll fly with the wind – buffet me as you will –
Throw wide the windows and let the storm come in!
Let me forget your name and ride the blast—
Teach me to forget my own and be free at last.

Heart of Apple

Once, while riding in his chariot over the waves
the king of the sea said to me, “No matter
how you love the oak or dream of the world-
spanning yew, remember it is the apple in your
heart, with its blooms more sweet than roses,
fruit more staying than blackberries, and
sheltering branches enough for any fire.”
And I felt it then, this living being
in my heart, blooming and fruiting and growing
at the core of me. And I knew by the slant
of his eye and the way his hands curved the reins
that this was our kinship—he too had an apple
in his heart. I saw then it was as wild
as any yew, as strong as any oak, for what is wilder
or stronger or older than the sea?

The One Who Comes

I. On the Eve of Hurricane Isaac

All day I have heard the wind, tapping at my heart,
     I am coming, I come, I am coming
Trees dance and bow and shiver at his touch, whispering
     He comes, he comes, he comes!
The cicadas wait in silence, their usual chorus stilled under racing clouds
Spiraling over the too-blue sky
I am waiting, feeling his breath in the ghost of rain,
his fingers tangling in my hair, his promise beating on my skin
     I am coming, I come!
Those racing clouds are his messengers, hurrying to ready his path
My heart would fly with them, but I turn
to face into this wind, turn my face up to the promise of rain, to the coming storm.

II. The Storm Arrives

I cannot sleep all night for the beating of my heart.
     I come, I am coming, I come!
His footsteps, dancing spirals on the water’s edge
Spinning, spinning, and the wind flies
From his motion.
     I wait. I am waiting. I wait.
The trees dance a rising madness
Embracing the possibility of destruction
For the certainty of joy.
Have I the courage of trees and earth?
Can I dance, without reservation,
Bending, bending to his hand, even to breaking?
Dare I dance in his wildness
Trusting he will only carve away what I do not need?
I remember obligations and oaths,
The bindings of love and honor and trust,
And I wonder whether a sometimes mad
And always wild
God can honor any boundaries
Or if even asking is an insult.

“Living is a risk,” breathe the leaves
And the wind still beats at my heart.
     I am coming. I come. I am coming.
My feet ache for dancing, my throat strains to sing
I have known him all my life, in every breeze, in every storm.
Who can I trust more?

Let me dance.

The Breath of Gods

“The bee is sacred because it touches
all three worlds,” she said, as she lit
another candle in its brightly colored glass.
“A nest in the underground, harvesting the flowers
of the earth, and wings to touch the sky—
they are messengers who can travel
to all the spirits.” She smiled,
closing her eyes and breathing deep.
“Do you smell it? Beeswax is the scent
of the breath of the gods.” The light flashed
like tiny wings of flame in the glass.
“If you breath it in, they say, you can
sometimes hear their words.” I breathed.
I listened. I heard our breathing and the hiss
of the hungry flame, like the distant hum
of a bee at its duties. The scent of beeswax
coated my breathing, tasting of honey
and sex and mysteries. Then a whisper
too low to understand, but I felt joy
welling up inside me as if
I had heard something wonderful, more
beautiful than all the poetry in the world.