Poems

of the stars, and two

"If you recite the first spell, you will enchant the sky,
the earth, the world of the night, the mountains and
the waters.   You will understand the language of all the
birds in the sky and all the reptiles in the earth . . . If
you read the second one, even though you may be
dead in the tomb, you will regain the form you had on
earth."

- Nenoferkephtah (dead, risen & disguised as a noble lord)
to Satin-Kharma (the son of Ramses II)

"I am the blue-lidded daughter of Sunset; I am the naked
brilliance of the voluptuous night-sky."
- XCIII = 418 to DCLXVI, The Book of the Law

calls down birds down sky &
arched for love her back of sun
at night a drum of gifts of gemmed
azure she bends the earth to black
or she a moon & hunts a book of
skin with horns her lidded heart &
curls the inky mouth & waters scared
to wake as bornless lake of dirt or
love he walks he speaks is dead &
sleeps with dust her mandrake dance
a feather in the scale in painted wood
her bloody hips her hole is winged or
framed by war & girt with sword her
secret house of red her leavings soften
trees or hang as meat or birds the lovely
bones of stars her crown or coat of light
a charcoal skull salute or golden kiss a feast
for life & greater beasts her hands upon the
hiding air the hiding too deep too much air

 

 

as she looked down from the skies

"Till you have truly mourned beside the grave,
You cannot take your place among the brave.
Love drives the wandering pilgrim on his quest;
And where by day or night will he find rest?"
      - Farid ud-Din Attar, The Conference of the Birds

"What matters to Earth's inhabitants is that they
should know of their vital connections with the sky."
     - Isha Schwaller de Lubicz, Her-Bak

lion of the sun he suckles tamarisk it
helps to sleep & now as bones she arches
air & earth a gifted dew or left eye of the
sky she speaks the thought a night-bark
mound all white & red & issued from the
fen as bird-head god of moon the ruined
place of owls & water fruit of dust & blood
she lives for love all horned her neck a
kind of star to touch or shine like milk
of turquoise trees with wings her face in
glass & meat at night & formed of snakes
her hair a sword in hand her voice of tear-
like droplets baying mansions of the dog
his arid pool of dreams an armoured fish
or box of gold he found the book a sunken
gate he smote & cast away with sand the head
& body watched by snakes or vultures stark &
still she waits as gone to grave to earth she
reads the river mountains knows the sea

 

 

morning star

"The light of this star surpassed that of all the others;
its brilliance was ineffable and its novelty was such that
all those who looked at it were struck with astonishment.  
The sun, moon and the stars formed a choir round this star."
      - St. Ignatius, Epistle to the Ephesians

"She wore upon her head a circlet of towers, because the
circumference of the Earth is, like a circlet, full of cities, castles
and villages.   The robe is woven of green plants and hemmed
with leafy boughs thus signifying the trees, plants and herbs which
cover the earth.   She bears a sceptre in her hand ... Lions draw
[her chariot].
      - Vincenzo Cartari, Le Imagini colla sposizione degli dei degli antichi
     
(describing Ops, the Italian Earth Mother)

beak of grapes of black dwarf sun &
open-mouthed she strikes at hooves
the menaced bird her pool the child
of tree & fish the armoured moth of
time she bent to purple light her stars
a magic steel inside the wind the sky  
is marked with cuts & falls to dust on
certain nights & drawn by mountain
cats she rides or tastes of mint & after
sunset corn the ashen breast of morning
tree or bush acacia-crowned or gold /
the poisoned milk to nurse a sort of raven
dog or sea to wet the tongue or sail above
the day he took the ring & later lost & all
was water barley dark her feathered shifting
face she draws down moon a crown of wine
& honey milk & stone the lucky dirt his finest
stole he etched on balas stone a helm of supple
branches flowered horns her reptile dust & spit

the one and only star

"I saw the sun shining brilliantly at midnight, and approached
the Gods of the Underworld, and those from On High;
and I worshipped them face to face ..."
      - Lucius Apuleius, The Golden Ass

"There is only one Being, though the poets name it variously."
      - Rig Veda

edge of grass she feeds a cloud of black
& from the fen her milky rain or sighs &
no one ages born at night & dressed in
blue she bears the star destroyed by sun
of sores & wounds the moon-spit dew a
fleece that does not fall the seed in time
a stone he finds the thing the hail & rain
the wheel the way more sure a northern
rose or thread of ruddy light inside the
morning white & marked with streaks
the keys she keeps the tongue of horses
bridge of birds his rocky quickened street
& hands of light of hair the egret race he
bends the snaking bank of shame & silt
a cornered star & blacked like glass to
bed with local caveskin fire she flaunts
the shells of feet & sleep her twigged
beyond like nervous fog or blood the
child as under gold & watched by swan

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