Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Celtic metamophoses

Your gatekeeper is a horned god
who stands back to back with a second self. 
You enter a field of metamorphoses.
You may turn into the curl of a wave
or a waterbird in flight or a wild bull.
You may sprout leaves or tusks or antlers.

Fish becomes man, dog becomes dragon.
You reach for a flagon of unmixed wine.
When your hand closes on the handle,
it becomes the hound that is chasing a duck
that swims into your mouth on a red river. 

Long-beaked bird-headed men spring from a cross.
Gold and silver and bronze glint at the throats
and on the forearms of queens and heroes.
verything is in connected, everything in flux,
vital energies change form and surge beyond form. 

Here art is a technology of enchantment;
it can seize your mind and bind it like ivy.
Obscure shapes 
become tendrils, endlessly looping,
making knots without end or beginning,
with no strings you could pull. 

The boar runs before you and around you.
Be careful. You pause to hear the hot howl of war
from the throat of a boar-headed carnyx.
Swords and shields, iron and oak, ash and bronze.
Shields with hidden powers, serpents coiled at the grip.
You find your end in the great silver cauldron from the bog,
when you brave the stare of all those gods you cannot name.
You swim in bull's blood down to the mystery at the base,
where a naked woman warrior exults, sword in hand,
over the body of a dying bull. His potency will be transferred,
with the rush of his blood, to those who willed this ritual.

Image: Base of the Gundestrup cauldron. This richly decorated silver vessel, thought to date from the 2nd or 1st century bce, was found in a bog near Gundestrup in Denmark.

1 comment:

Sandy Brown Jensen said...

That is an amazing poem! It belongs in the second volume of “Here, Everything is Dreaming.”
I just started to read “Mysterious Realities.” That opening story is a crackerjack! So beautifully Borgesian.