Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Time and the Corn Maiden

Gore Mountain, New York

Look: you have new eyes to see.
Eyes of black owl, eyes of white owl.
Don’t be scared when they sear your soul
and clamp strong talons on your shoulders.
Let them lend you their wings,
their ability to see at many angles.
Let them take you to the place
you did not expect in this, your only, time.

Sun on your face, you part the high grass
to the field of grain on the steep hillside
where beans and squash sprout among the corn
in the old way. You feel her, the woman
whose body is the fertile earth
and gives birth ceaselessly to the three sisters
from her belly, her breasts, her blood.

Why are you here? Climb the slope
to the cabin in the woods. Don’t run away
from the shadows and husk things along the trail.
Show respect for the grandmothers
as you enter from the sunrise side.
Be patient with the girl they have sheltered here
for all these years, until you were ready for this.
She comes and goes like a cat, until drawn
to you by the brightness of your tears.

Don’t be ashamed that you forgot her.
She forgot you in her world of love and magic,
where time follows the law of eternal return,
the phases of the moon, the cycle of seasons,
not the logic of clocks. Stand tall now.
Show that you have ripened into a woman of power.
Drum for the grandmothers, and the corn maiden.
Let her follow you home on your heartbeat. 

Plant beans and squash in your garden.
Braid cornhusks, blackened and bleached,
in the code of all life. The old ones taught you
that dark and light must always contend,
in every created thing. Without contraries,
there is no creation. Black owl, white owl,
Whirlwind and Sky Holder. End their struggle
and you roll up the game of the world. So:
Every day, renew the balance of order and chaos.
Each day, with corn maiden singing in your heart,
throw your arms up to the sky and shout
Yes to life. Birds will take flight from your hands.

- Gore Mountain, November 3, 2013

This poem was inspired by a shamanic journey for soul healing that led deep into the landscape and mythic imagination of the Longhouse People of the Northeast. 


Adelita Chirino said...

Beautiful! Yes, yes, yes!

Robert Moss said...

Thank you, Adelita.

Roger Z. said...

beautiful. hits home and true.