June 16, 2017


in the old days,
everyone danced together
the young men leaping,
the maidens swirling,
the old men and women swaying and
waving their hands like shamans,
like birds,
like branches,
like witches.
the young had the power of creating new life,
the power to bring it to birth,
the elders had the wisdom to nurture and teach.
everyone knew the steps
everyone had the magic
life was a circle of dance,
from childhood to courtship to coffin.

in the old days,
everyone sang
there were dancing songs,
working songs,
songs for children's games,
songs to lull to sleep,
songs to heal the sick,
songs to ease the dying,
teaching songs,
memory songs,
songs of praise,
songs of sorrow.
everyone knew the songs
everyone felt the magic
life was a circle of song,
from lullaby to love song to lament.

once we had the music
the magic
the meanings,
once we had eyes and ears
for the rune-songs of life,
the gleanings of years untold,
our kin all around us
in field and in fire,
in water and sky,
in fur and feather and scale
and stone and leaf, too,
and we sang
all the year through,
patterning time
yearning and eternal,
from baby to bride to baba.

a gift

a woman comes to you
flower crowned, bearing flowers,
and how should you greet
this offering?

nameless and naked
in the night,
a woman who might
just as likely
walk through the wood
with her hand resting
on a bear's back,
ambling in wordless peace

dressed in thin linen,
veiled in lace,
a woman who might
touch a face with
infinite tenderness,
and then pour the tea

stark in black wool,
hands full of mugwort
and artemisia
and regret,
a knife-edge smile,
unshed tears,
with a fox at her hem
and a crow faring before her

how well do you know her,
this woman
who is many women,
as they all are,
who comes to you now,
arrayed in flowers?

what precious, gentle thing
can you offer
in return?

midwifing the future

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