Thursday, August 8, 2019

Anthesteria poem

I had this mostly written right after Anthesteria, but kept forgetting to finish it.  And I debated sharing it at all because it's a snapshot of a pretty intense, sacred and intimate ritual experience.  But it's a love poem that's worth sharing.

For You, Dionysos

For You, Iakkhos, 
I robed myself in twilight silence,
Isolated and Othered,
becoming like a phantom, sliding into sanctity,
so that when I finally cried
“My God, You are Here!”
my voice was a gift and an anchor that 
tethered us both to the waiting Earth.

For You, Limnaios,
I submerged my body by candlelight,
in a bath of holy water,
blessed with angel root and holy thistle,
shined my skin with oil and salt,
(breathing in)
my cigarette of flowers -- releasing 
memories of some past springtime
(and out)
into the air, like ghosts,
but some always stay, 
plant their seeds, spread their roots and
settle in
(as You will)
for a more prolonged possession.

For you, Agrios, 
I fell in with the Raving Ones.
Such silent predators, they!
To see them is to 
be surrounded, 
sacrificed and subsumed.
We are an eclipse of panthers,
devouring time,
holes in the sky pierced by
silver teeth and claw
as We haunt the forbidden dreams
of yesterdays’ girls.
The seeds are planted and so...
when madness comes knocking,
there is nought to do but remember--
there was never a door.

For You, Katharsios,
I accept the sacrament,
understand the sacrifice,
say yes, with parted lips,
cup to kiss.
You come--flowing, filling my mouth,
fired and fermented, red and raw--
down my throat. 
This is Your divine plan, realized over millennia,
to get in the blood, to liberate from the inside out.
You’ve inhabited more bodies
than any other God. 
We implore. We desire.
Thou art. Such art. 
O Savior,
I am undone.

“For You, my Beloved…”
A bullroarer is still ringing in my ears
as I find myself on the floor.
The weight of holiness has slipped away.
in a post-storm stillness.
I am the lightning-struck tree, forever scorched,
the pitcher, filled 
and overturned, filled 
and overturned,
sweetly aching, hollow and poured out.
Drums fade -- receding hoof beats
that leave a hundred thousand flower beds
in their wake --
as the pregnant, wine-soaked earth
begins to sing.