Lady of the Lake

December 3, 2017

Body of water
Body of work
“A body of collected knowledge about the therapeutic properties of any substance used for healing”

Call it a healing ritual
Or a mercy fuck, whichever you like.
Corporal act of mercy — that sounds nice

It was on an afternoon woven of equal parts
Sunlight, aimlessness and proscribed botanicals
A young hero in need
As they often are,
Of a body of collected knowledge
A body of work

Where the sun came in I was gilded
Where the shadows fell he was oak leaf and ivory
A cascade of glossy black down his back
Where the fire inside touched us both
We were molten copper
A burning ship
St. Elmo’s fire wreathing the mast
Climbing along the rigging
Reflections like flaming coins scattered
On frantic waves

Ocean?
No. Not ocean.
I was a lake,
I have always been a lake
Quiet,
Until some idiot threw a sword in me.
There’s always some idiot with a sword.
How’s a natural phenomenon to have any peace
With people always mucking about making an omen of one
Requiring auguries, questing after this vision, that revelation
Or simply demanding that one reveal or conceal the artifact of the week?

My sister’s a cenote.
What’s thrown down her, vanishes.
Cold jade waters.
Colder silence within.
I am more temperate, if no warmer.
I prefer the give and take
Though it means my contemplations will be disturbed from time to time
By this one making a deposit
And the other one drawing something forth
A regular lending library, some centuries.

The sword was hot, newforged
Or so I recall.
There was, as always, enough and more
To quench the burning brand, temper the steel
I think, from time to time, this annoys some of them
The sheer inexhaustibility
Of a body of water, a body of work, a body of collected knowledge
As if it were somehow a reflection on them.
No matter. The sword went in.
As I recall, I gave it away again later.

My old lover the witch in her tower
Used to tease me
Call me a plaguey thing for giving her gifts away again
Roses cast up on shore,
Bits of ribbon for the ravens to carry off
Hey, offerings come and offerings go.
Collect knowledge. Disburse.

The sword stayed for a while.
The hero died.
They do, you know. It’s generally part of the tale
Though people may not always want to hear it.
Swords outlast them as a rule.
Lakes outlast swords.

There were currents cold within me
Green weeds wreathed my heart
As I took in the sword, drew it down
The word “fathom” was not made to describe
What was in my young hero’s eyes
They widened as he felt the water close over him
I was still too much lake
To tell him that he was a hero
That heroes die.

My silence disturbed him
More than he had disturbed mine
But the waves we made together
Rocked him to peacefulness
Or exhaustion.
A body of work, whatever else it is, is just that. Work.
We came back to ourselves
In that room of dust and oakleaves.
The shadows were longer. We had come very far.
What water was left spilled down my cheeks.
Struck dumb as any oracle, I held him,
And with what little kindness I had left
Carefully told him nothing but stories of swords.

Elise Anna Matthesen

Raw Honey

December 1, 2017

He draws on the iron claws
forged by the blacksmith,
eats the raw meat and honey
the villagers have brought him,
last of all
pulls on the thick pelt.
Dark smell, earth smell.

Now, you say, he becomes a bear.
Truly a bear, though summerlong
he’s lived among them
learning to hunt and growl,
learning bees and old gods.

What happens next? I ask.
We’re skin and skin,
the night’s around us
as your lips move, storyteller.

Next, you say, he goes into the woods
where the wolf-demon dwells.
The villagers never see him
again, their protector,
but their milk stays uncurdled,
cows’ tails uncut, bones unbroken.
They know he saved them.

But they never speak of him.

Only the witch remembers,
wise-eyes makes an offering
yearly, on the day the bear walked
into the demon woods.
She burns rowan, brings honey
and sweet, sweet berries
for him
who heard the bear king’s last breath,
who killed the demon,
who was man and bear
and asked for nothing.

Silence. I’m crying
as you do, after a story.
We drift to sleep.

I dream of iron claws and honey.

Sara Norja

Can I Fly Too?

November 26, 2017

You are a witch.
You taught me
To hear in the slurping of mud
The cry of the Ban Shee
To see in the life cycle of the caterpillar
The struggle of the soul
Towards immortality.
Take me.
You alone could turn the weight of years
Into release, ecstasy.

Philip Hobsbaum

Envoy

November 24, 2017

It is your destiny so to move your wand,
To wake up storms, to run through the heart of storms,
To lay bare a monument like a nest in a thicket,
Though all you wanted was to pluck a few roses.

Czeslaw Milosz

wolfskin

November 11, 2017

you pull on your wolfskin
and escape into the arms of the night while
your adopted family sleeps in a house
far too small for them all.

you pull on your wolfskin
and try to forget the way they called you a witch,
malice dripping from their tongues.
you pull on your wolfskin
and dance with death under the stars
while the fae keep watch.
you pull on your wolfskin
and try to forget that after the night
the morning always comes.
you pull on your wolfskin
and sing with the grey wolves in the oak groves
until your throat bleeds.
you pull on your wolfskin
and run and run and run
until your legs collapse under you.
you pull on your wolfskin
and try to forget the boy who wouldn’t open his mouth
to say a single word to help you.
you pull on your wolfskin
and pray to the gods that it’ll keep you safe.

h.c.r

Hallow what…?

October 31, 2017

She prayed, and her prayer was monstrous because in it there was no margin left for damnation or forgiveness…She could not offer herself up; she only told of herself in a preoccupation that was its own predicament.

Djuna Barnes
from Nightwood)

choose the form of a cat

October 29, 2017

cat alert

FAMILIARS: Familiars like to live in a small box of earth, a dusty pouch, or pocket. Are fed on milk, blood and bread. On Birthdays, they should be given a small crumb of the Host. Are often toads, but almost never frogs. Most often choose the form of cat or bird in preference to smaller creatures such as mice, rats, bugs, lice, which are susceptible to the careless handling of pesticides. Are inheritable.

Barbara Ninde Byfield
The Glass Harmonica: A Lexicon of the Fantastical

The night belongs to women

October 1, 2017

Women should never fear the night. It is their domain. They are strongly linked to the moon, and during the night feminine energy flows strongest and the Goddess is in the air. The night belongs to women and moonlight is reflected from their souls…

spooky but enchanting witch

September 4, 2017

Her one great desire was to be this spooky but enchanting witch living deep in the darkest part of the forest; her cottage there would be filled with the mingled scents of sandalwood and cinnamon, and her pet crow would sit close at hand and engage her in meaningful, magical conversation the whole day through.

Patrus
Witch dreams