Monday, 25 July 2016

deer magic

Yesterday I was on the outskirts of a small town awaiting an event (a children's music academy's summer concert). As I had quite a bit of time, and knowing that I'd be in a amongst a large crush of people for a few hours, I decided to take the opportunity for a walk in the countryside. 

Part way in, storm clouds gathered, and the first drops of rain fell. I had brought an umbrella with me, but spotted a hunter's hut which, while I don't know if it's still in use, was anyway stable enough for me to climb inside to take shelter. 

The view out the front.

Out the side.

And out the other, a gorgeous oak. And the rain truly began. 

I never go anywhere without a book. I sat for a while reading, and enjoying the sound of the rain on the roof and of the birds singing each other deeper into the branches of the oak tree. 

Then, as the rain let up, a different sound came. A furtive drumming.

Hooves on the dampened earth.

The youngest came to the foot of my ladder. The mother right behind, perhaps scolding her child's foolish boldness. 
They came with such swift elegance, such wild beauty that my breath caught.
Then I felt a wave of dismay at the juxtaposition of the trust and innocence of the fawn, and of just where I was sitting. 

She urged them away quickly.  

The wild beauty of her, of them, was a gift of magic, 
pulling me into a state of wonder, of connection, of awe. 
I sensed, so strongly, the web which combines us, as those hooves plucked the thread connected to me. 


i press 
ochred hands onto the walls of this cave.  my skin.  my shelter.  

my fingers crawl like night insects 
to sing the running of the animals,
the wind of the chase, the beating of hearts and hooves 
across the plains, of stone and dust.  

each night i dream the chase
across my eyes’ black-lidded sky
each night 
my body slick with sweat and smeared with ash
i run 

as i run, 
i hear the beating of the drum i’ve made - 
taught and resonant - from my own skin,
feel the weight of the weapon i’ve made 
from my own bone.

i leave the fire-painted walls
of this illusion

and i run

under the cool, many-eyed gaze of the night 
i run until i feel my heart will beat its last beat and tear through my skin
i stop

my fear as dry as the dirt in my mouth.

i lower my antlers to the pool 
and drink the stars.

(A poem I wrote a few years ago, which Mike and Anita Allen were kind enough to publish in Mythic Delirium back then.)