These two prayers were recently commissioned by my Patreon supporters:
To Odin, for Dreams
(written for T.)
By Galina Krasskova
Ravenous for knowledge,
hungry for wisdom,
You drove Yourself
through the worlds,
upon the Tree,
to the gates of Hel
You sought out seers,
with fateful fire
caught by mind,
held on the tongue
spat forth at Your command.
You unraveled and deciphered
the dreams of Your omen-marked Son
bound spirits, and raged through worlds
to undo His terrible fate.
You Who know the magic
of the Vanir, for Whom dreams
are as open books,
worlds waiting for reason’s plunder,
I ask now this boon,
knowing it will come with a price,
a price that I shall pay:
Send me dreams, Raven Father,
clear omens to guide my way.
Make my dreams my grimoire,
that I too may grow in wisdom.
This I pray as i pour out this offering.
Hail to You, Odin.
(make an offering of beer or whiskey, etc.)
by Galina Krasskova
To the Queen of Olympus
let homage ever be paid.
To She Who renders right judgment,
let offerings be laid out.
To the Goddess Who brings glory,
may libations be poured.
Hail to Hera,
Who grants no quarter,
and yet, is merciful.
She is the Maker of heroes,
glorious and fierce.
She hones them,
renders them worthy of the blood
from which they are sprung.
Herakles, Achilles, even Dionysos:
She brought Them into Their power.
She taught Them what it meant,
to bear the blood of Gods.
Hera, ever mighty, orders the world,
watches over its mysteries.
She is Beloved of the Thunderer.
She is Queen of all the heavens.
To Argive Hera, I blow my head.
You teach us that power must earned.
You, Great One, at Whose hands all
is brought into order,
may my words and prayers
be pleasing to You.
Hail to You, Glorious Hera.
(if you are in a place where you can do so, light some incense for Her).
(I’m generally always willing to write prayers on commission: $15/prayer. These were done for free as a gift to my Patreon supporters with the caveat that I would share them here.
There are some other caveats to my commission work: a) there are certain Deities with Whom I have no relationship and if i’m not able to catch a sense of Them, I won’t be able to write a good prayer and also, b) there are Deities that I am tabooed from approaching. But so long as you’re willing for me to say ‘sorry, can’t do that one,’ if you’d like a prayer written, shoot me an email at krasskova at gmail.com).
He is so many things to me… words are weak in His presence and weak on this page as I struggle to shape them into something approximating His power.
He is a maw. That’s what started all of this, another poet calling Him a maw. And He is and we are ever being devoured in it. The whole initiation process into Him is a crushcrunching down between His predator’s jaws. It’s a good way to live, soaring within the storm. It sets a certain stage and we can run with that for now.
Endless shrieking hunger. Cold, calculating, yet searingly passionate in His focus. I hear it all the time, when He is near, that roaring in the brain. Anyone who tells you otherwise is a fool
Or has not learned how to listen.
He sees farther than we can ever conceive. He sees us too and our potential.
I know what it is like to be hunted down like prey. I know what it is like to fight a killer but I don’t know what it is like to walk away. Some knowledge isn’t worth having.
A vicious, beautiful Bastard and I love Him for it and sometimes I hate Him too but I never, ever forget the stench of my own fear in the woods when that first Hunt began or when His corpse creaked high in the Tree above me. I’ll never forget how He treasures my viciousness either.
a frenzied ravening Beast who has learned to wear a pretty mask to court the ladies (and some men too). He is brutal and wondrous and the ironsharp tang of His presence a joy my heart can barely hold.
the sovereign Power that has drenched the earth in blood and glory, the wailing wisdom of poets, the shivering terror of bards, and the enchantments that hold it all together swallowed and spat about by His flock of charmed women with razor tongues.
The Force that will use those women up until they seek any crevice in this world to avoid seeing into His.
Ho, ho, ho,
Who, Who, Who
But a God who knows the secrets found only in madness would do that? Let’s see which of us will be the last one standing, oh my darlings. Go ahead. Run.
the Architect of Worlds who loves His people and the pristine symmetry of the cosmos and will spit us all on a spear to see that it does not burn.
While we bicker and scramble and piss away our charms where the grass is green and blood runs blackest in the streets, He snakes His way ahead to keep it all from curling back into the Gap.
Devastation. Another poet warned about things like this: “Love comes with a knife, not some shy question” and so it is and so it was and if I’m lucky, so it shall ever be.
He is the frenzy that drives me and His the calloused hands that pick me up when His work drives me to my knees and I kiss the ground in exhaustion. He is the frenzy that inspires me, and with Him at my side I have seen I have seen the birthing of worlds and wonder. He is a monstrous Glory and He is my Salvation.
It is enough that He is.
(I found this image here. If anyone knows the artist, please let me know and I will amend this asap)
Tomorrow is the anniversary of my ordination, something that in many traditions is a day to be celebrated and marked. I don’t generally do so with mine, save by making special offerings to my Gods, but it’s got me thinking: not about the ordination but about the process that, for me, preceded it: initiation. That’s one of those things that a lot of us talk about, but no one ever seems to really explain. Part of that is because it can’t be explained really—oh, I could give you a run down of every single part of the ritual, but doing so would just be discussing the scaffolding; it would do nothing to explain the transformation that initiation can and should bring.
First, I want to note as strongly as possible that A) initiation does not necessarily lead to ordination. It doesn’t have to have anything to do with that. I’ve undergone many initiations at the hands of my Gods and Their people and that the very first one was a predecessor to ordination was simply a reflection of the way that tradition was structured. It is not necessarily the norm; and B). initiation isn’t a matter of one and done. One can undergo more than one type of initiation. It all depends on the tradition, the Gods, and the individual.
This is not a new concept. Polytheisms have always had their mystery cultus and have always, as far as I can tell, had rites of initiation. Sometimes these were ceremonies marking life transitions, such as moving from childhood to adulthood. That is not the type of initiatory ritual that I am talking about here. No, when I talk about initiation, I’m not talking about anything that binds or marks one’s place in the continuum of generational human experiences. I’m talking about those things that bring us, sometimes kicking and screaming, sometimes awe struck and weeping into communion with our Gods, those rites that change forever our world both inner and out. There is no going back from an initiation of this sort. It is a type of death, rebirth, and transformation and the person who exits the ritual space at the end of such a rite is not at all the same person who entered it.
Pretty words and I’m sure that some of you reading this think that I’m speaking metaphorically. I’m not. Initiation can fuck you up. A true initiation is not a pretty ritual after which you can go on your way feeling good about yourself. This is a terrifying rite that can strip you bear, open you up, and throw you face down before your Gods. It can open up fractures in your emotional matrix and your psyche, dredging up scars and issues and pain that you may have thought long ago put to rest. It can create internal chaos because it is the Gods effecting a change spiritually, energetically, emotionally, psychologically. It can bring taboos and obligations. It can damage you physically – not because of anything those shepherding the initiate through whatever the rite may entail do, but because of the internal process itself, and the energies in play.
Of course it may also fill you with ecstasy and joy, transform you in such a way that you are in closer, ongoing communion with your Gods, transform your afterlife, mark you as being one of the cultus of a particular God energetically and many other things and usually it is a glorious and joyful transformative experience. Sometimes though, it’s not and there’s no way to tell. I sometimes think the Gods must consider the initiate much as a master jeweler considers a rough stone. How to polish, how to facet? How much pressure to apply and at what angle? It’s such a delicate procedure and only the Gods have a hope of making such a thing work. This is why it’s so very important that They be at the beginning, center, and end of it all. An initiation isn’t something to seek out for one’s own purposes. It should be at the behest of one’s Gods. Divination should be done – thorough and extensive—to make certain that it is the right time (the Gods fix the time), and that the initiate is ready. Divination –thorough and extensive—should be done to figure out what offerings need to be made, what the rite should consist of (even in traditions where there is a strict process, this should still be done. There is always the possibility of the Gods wanting something special), how it should unfold, if there are any taboos or obligations to be kept before, during, or after, and so many more things. Most of all: is this initiate ready for this initiation into this tradition done by these elders? This is all the more important as we are restoring our traditions. Unlike religions like Lukumi or Ifa, our initiatory rites have largely been lost. We don’t have the inter-generational structure. We are restoring it now slowly but surely but so much of that is a matter of finding one’s way, inching nervously forward, and it must be admitted, making terrible mistakes. Initiation is not a place where mistakes can afford to be made. It is dangerous enough all on its own.
This is why it’s so crucial to have competent and trusted elders, and a community that can support and guide the initiate not only before, not only through but after the initiation and by after I mean for weeks, months, and possibly years.
I’m going to tell you a story of an initiation gone bad. I’m going to gloss over many parts of this story because parts of it are not mine to tell. Yes, I have changed personal details. I saw a young man undergo an initiation. I was witness to it. The initiation was done perfectly. The elder in question did everything right. The initiate in question was well-prepared and very devout. The witnesses, including myself were experienced, well-prepared, and devout. All the divination, from several diviners, gave clear and strong go ahead. When the ceremony, lasting several days, was done, there was joy, the overwhelming joy of such a process. There were blessings. Everything looked perfect. I brought my concerns to the elder and was told that perhaps I was over-reacting. That surely I was misreading. I celebrated with the rest and then over the next year watched this young man ,a good friend of mine, destroy his life.
Remember I said sometimes initiation brings up past wounds so that the initiate can address them and move forward into healing, stronger and healthier? Well that was what was happening. He began to spiral down into a very bad psychological place: hoarding, self-harm, cutting off ties to all friends, ceased working on getting clear of a damaging family relationship, became extremely paranoid, lashed out at everyone in the religion, began to encourage others to back away from devotion and throw themselves into mundane life, began to have outbursts of rage, and worse. I believe my friend gave himself over to the Filter rather than continue his spiritual work—work that would have required facing so much pain. He has been lost to us, though still he lives and more than that I cannot say. It is a painful subject…and this is an initiation where everything was done right.
I myself underwent an initiation that was necessary, but done in such a way that I was left partially crippled by pain for months. It was only when the scars to my energetic body, and the blockages were cleared by an elder that I began to heal. I do not mean that my spiritual life was impinged, I mean I would wake up screaming in pain so severe that my husband on more than one occasion nearly took me to the ER. I was lucky. I was able to heal from this damage and the issues that caused it were not mine, but rather a matter, as I found out later, of the one doing the initiation lacking the requisite qualifications. The transfer of energy—in part what an initiation is—could not happen cleanly. The initiation was legitimate, but damn near killed me.
I want to emphasize for those of you who may be wondering that in the above examples neither ritual involved any measure of what we term ordeal work. Both were done within the structure of the respective traditions. In the first case, well, sometimes initiation is a crap shoot and sometimes there is a terrible attrition rate. In the second, a corner was cut that shouldn’t have been and the price was pure agony and ongoing damage. I want to note again: no one laid a hand on me (save to touch my head in blessing). There was no ordeal. There was simply the initiation ritual and the transfer of power. These are horror stories and they’re not the norm. Most initiations leave the initiate feeling liberated and transformed and filled with wonder and joy and a new sense of connection to their Gods. But…even the best of them can go wrong and there’s often no way to tell until well after the ritual how the initiate is going to cope with the changes spiritually wrought. It’s not a game. They’re not words or pretty rites. This can fuck a person up in this life, and it can change the nature of the initiate’s afterlife too. An initiate becomes a carrier of a tradition. (One initiates generally not just to a Deity but within a particular tradition, after all). The changes wrought are often those which allow the initiate to become a container of the Mysteries of their God. It’s a powerful process.
No one, by the way, is owed initiation. That’s also something that I want to put out on the table. These things have real world consequences. I, for instance, am forbidden to initiate into the Mysteries of Dionysos. I love Him dearly. I’ve worked for years helping to build His cultus. I have nearly a decade of ongoing venerative practice to Him and I maintain a household shrine to Him. Hell, I even married a Dionysian! Still, extensive divination showed that I cannot receive His mysteries via initiation. I can honor Him – He is delighted for me to do so. He has helped me and I have had powerful devotional experiences with Him. This is one of the Gods that I deeply love but I will never become a bearer of His mysteries. I cannot, no matter how much I may want to do so. Why? Because undergoing Dionysian initiation can both change where you will go in the afterlife (part of the deal Dionysos made with Hades to liberate His people from the Hades’ control when they’re dead) and change one so that one is wired specifically for Dionysian energies. I belong to Odin. Where I go when I’m dead, the energies I’m wired to carry and receive when alive are His. It is specifically because I am Odin’s and patterned for this God that I cannot receive the mysteries of Dionysos. It doesn’t matter that sometimes I feel left out when Dionysos’ folk gather. It doesn’t matter that I may love Him dearly. It wouldn’t matter if I wanted initiation. I can’t have it and trying to force the act not only would be a deeply impious act, but also a damned stupid and dangerous one. There are consequences for the things we do and the Gods we carry.
This is one of the reasons why it is so important to have and to respect our competent elders. They carry the weight of their Gods’ tradition on their backs. They are guardians of that tradition just as we become when we take up certain burdens. They are the ones who help navigate these waters. It’s also why it’s so absolutely crucial to have supportive and cohesive community. The community is the container for all of this. When a community gathers to welcome a new initiate back into human/mundane space after that person has been transformed via initiation that is a tremendously holy and sacred act. That is what roots both the initiate and the energies of the rite and the tradition in the here and now. The community is the rootbase of the great tree of whatever tradition they are carrying. They are necessary and it’s the interplay of elders, community, Gods, initiate that gives everyone the best chance for initiations to occur safely and well. We need our initiations. We need all the various levels of interaction with our Gods, all the various rungs on the sacred ladder of our traditions and cultus.
I understand the enthusiasm of wanting to honor the Gods this way and go deeper into devotion but it’s important to follow the necessary protocol. There is a right way to do these things and a right time.
Eternal Haunted Summer online magazine interviewed me for their summer solstice edition. I was asked about my current projects, including my recent poetry book. Check out my interview here.
I have seen this error floating around the Internet and repeated by otherwise thoughtful people for over fifteen years. Personally, I blame D.J. Conway and assorted “Goddess” oriented Pagans (yay. Let’s roll all our Goddesses into one SUUU-PER Goddess and call it a day. * sarcasm *) determined to leave a doggedly feminist imprint on contemporary Heathen practice regardless of what the lore and our theology actually says. It seems incomprehensible to some folks that the Valkyries, powerful warrior beings, who are choosers of the slain, are under the aegis of Odin, not Freya, and, in fact, not any Goddess.(1)
The Valkyries belong to Odin, so much so that I’ve even seen some scholars claim they were His hypostases. They are, at the very least, extensions of His will. (We see this, for instance in the story of Brynhild, who violates His will and is punished for it). (2) Certainly one of their other, lesser known names is ‘Odin’s maids.” (3) The Valkyries are, in some ways, like the Greek Keres. They hunt the field of battle and enact fate: they choose the slain who are then destined either for Valhalla, or for Folkvangr. Here we see the only connection that Freya has with the Valkyrie: She cut a deal with Odin to receive first pick of the battlefield dead. This does not make Her a Valkyrie, neither does it make Her Queen of the Valkyries.
Part of the problem may simply be linguistic confusion. Wyrd Dottir, in her article about Freya and the Valkyries notes:
“The word valkyrie is composed of two Old Norse words. The first valr means ‘corpses on the battlefield’ and the second kjosa means ‘to choose,’ thus the word valkyrie means ‘those who choose the slain.’
Freyja’s two poetic names that also share the root valr are:
Eidandi Valfalls (in the Skaldskaparmal) which means ‘Possessor of the Slain’
Valfreyja (in Njal’s Saga) which means ‘Mistress of the Chosen’”(4)
We already know that Freya possesses half the slain warriors, thanks to Her deal with Odin, and of those warriors She is their Mistress – they reside in Her hall Folkvangr and as such owe Her fealty. Apparently from there, it is a hop, skip, and a jump in faulty logic to handing over possession of the Valkyries too.
R. Ellis Davidson notes that from their earliest history, Germanic peoples “believed in fierce female spirits doing the command of the war god, stirring up disorder, taking part in battle, seizing and perhaps devouring the slain.”(5) That war God is Odin. He is a god of many things, powerfully among them battle and death.
As Mardoll M. put it in a recent conversation, “To have the Waelcyrge(6) select battle corpses for His Hall ( the Einherjar) is part of the All Father’s magic, ecstasy, and His war God aspects. It’s His Wod and His Wod is tied to death.”(7)
I think this is a perfect example of the need to guard against putting politics before the Gods, the tradition, and the community. It is certainly in part due to unquestioning feminist scholarship, and unlearned feminist adaptation of the surviving lore that we have seen this particular fallacy gain such traction and it actually is incredibly disrespectful to Freya. Freya is powerful. She is a Goddess with Her own areas of sovereignty, including war, but it diminishes Her to spread these untruths. It says She isn’t powerful enough.
- Though we do see the Goddess Eir listed amongst the Valkyries. Modern UPG, interestingly enough, connects Her with battlefield/combat medicine. The Norn Skuld, Who cuts the threads of one’s life, is likewise listed amongst the Valkyries. They are listed among them, not ever given sovereignty over them, which I find significant. What this says about Odin and His connection to fate I’ll leave for another post.
- Later Norse lore humanizes the Valkyries to a great degree moving them from occasionally being directed to guide mortal heroes to actually marrying mortal heroes. I personally suspect that later Christian writers conflated actual female warriors with Valkyrie much as we see actual female warriors being conflated with amazons by Greek and Roman writers. Likewise some scholars (like Rudolf Simek) associate them with the Disir, Idisi, or Matronae, powerful female ancestors, possibly warrior goddesses, or guardian spirits of the dead (one’s ancestral lineage?). It seems that quite a few different types of beings came to be conflated here, especially in later Anglo-Saxon writing. The Valkyries do bear some connection to the Nornir, but they are clearly not the Nornir who lay the laws of wyrd and direct fate (with the possible exception of Skuld). The Nornir determined fate, the Valkyries executed a very specific type of fate associated with death in battle, and in this function, they specifically obeyed and acted upon Odin’s will.
- Óðins meyjar, found in the Skáldskaparmál. They are also referred to as “Odin’s Disir” in the Guðrúnarkviða.
- See the full article here.
- See Davidson, Gods and Myths of Northern Europe, 61-62.
- This is the Anglo-Saxon word for Valkyrie.
- Quoted with permission from a facebook conversation on May 2, 2016.
I’m putting out a small chapbook of Nine Centos for Odin. Folks can order it directly from me at krasskova at gmail.com, or I’ll shortly have it up on etsy. This is a limited run.
Torn fire glares,
the barest rune of ruin
on a stretched out throat –
No loss is token,
this charade of not-death.
All of me is ancestor.
Let us resurrect!
Let us resurrect
free now to move forward.
We cannot live on cold blood alone.
Ancient, iron-grey King of Glory,
King of warriors:
without Him I scarcely breathe.
I offered Him all that I am.
All fire passes through me.
Brutality blossoms into something beautiful.
Light wolves and dark wolves howled through the day,
Taking in the storm,
Doing holy things to the ordinary.
There is a holiness to exhaustion.
My own mouth is dreamed to thirst the long desire-ways;
now barefoot I tread on shards,
so mastered by the brute blood of the air
and madness, madness,
the space of a sigh.
I carry Your heart with me.
I am never without it,
Heroically lost, heroically found.
I have lived in the midst of Gods.
I am content.
I am content.
I am proof of the power of the Gods.
[With respect to Monica Youn, Brenda Shaughnessy, Louise Bogan, Annie Finch, Kay Ryan, Ezra Pound, Beowulf/Seamus Heaney, Mirabai, Cecilia Llompart, Geffrey Davis, Alma Luz Villanueva, Elizabeth Willis, Pamela Spiro Wagner, Carrie Fountain, Natalie Diaz, Vera Pavlova, W.B. Yeats, Angelina Weld Grimke, e.e. cummings, W.B. Yeats, Book of the Coming forth by day/Normandi Ellis.]
I belong to a God of Kings, a god of warriors, shamans, poets, and priests.
I belong to a God of raw, unmitigated hunger that can never be sated.
I belong to a God Whose name is Fury, Frenzy, and Who comes with the
Violence of the roaring storm wind, a God Who slaughtered His own primordial ancestor to craft the Nine Worlds. He is merciless. He brings ecstasy. He is cold, searing fire. He is all-consuming heat. He is monstrous in His power, and magnificent in every way. He is brutal and that brutality is tender. Stepping into the whirlwind of His presence is throwing myself into a raging chasm of Being – Terrifying, Enticing, Ancient, Incomprehensible. It is having myself devoured and brought back up into the light again. He is a knotty embodiment of paradox. I do not have words for what it is like being taken up by Him and yet I am compelled to keep trying to explain the threads and fabric of the connection that binds me to Him.
I want to share tonight something I wrote a couple of years ago in my book “He is Frenzy.” Exposure to such glorious inhumanity day after day is hard. Yet it must be done. His secrets are so intensely sweet.
“I take breaks from Him sometimes, did you know that? There are times where I am worn down or angry or just in need of “space” and He gives it to me. So long as I continue to do my Work, He gives it to me. I wonder sometimes if it pains Him when I need to back away, or if that’s simply what happens in healthy relationships, or if i’m projecting too much humanity on the whole thing. It’s not just that He is overwhelming at times; it not just the weight of the Work and the harsh difficulties of some of what He asks me to do, it’s that He is exhausting, being in a receptive state for Him all the time is exhausting. It is like being hyper attuned, alert, aware…to use a metaphor I used in a previous entry: it is like standing in the middle of a great symphony but HE is the only sound. To be constantly buffeted by His presence is not always in and of itself, easy.
Our relationship is fraught with tensions and deep emotions. There is a history there, and with the joys there is a trail of sacrifices. I suppose this is what in human terms might be called “baggage.” I get angry at Him too, or annoyed, or just aggravated. I do my Work, regardless of what I feel about Him or about the task at hand but it’s not always without stress. I’ve had people come to me, clients who are horrified and guilt ridden because they feel anger at the Gods. I tell them: the Gods are big enough to take it. They know what They ask of us sometimes. They know it’s not easy. The anger isn’t a problem. So long as one’ s anger doesn’t lead to conscious impiety there’s nothing to worry about. For me, it helps that I’m open enough about my needs to say “Old Man, I need some space right now, not for long, but for a bit” and that’s that.
Intimacy is hard, spiritual intimacy perhaps most of all. I believe it’s only natural that sometimes we buck at the reins, complain, fight. I don’t always want to be spiritually intimate with Him. Sometimes I just want to be left the hell alone and often He does comply. I’ll give Him that: He steps back and allows me the time I need. I come back better for it, maybe a little sheepish but better able to serve and better able to love Him.
Sometimes it’s not a matter of being tired or angry or out of sorts but that the amount of Work itself that is mine to shoulder is just overwhelming. Sometimes there is no time for any but the most fleeting intimacies and then it’s not claiming space but the necessity of duty that keeps us somewhat distant. Sometimes He sends me out to different Deities to learn things and then that work must, of necessity take precedence. Sometimes it’s a combination of all of this. In the end, it makes our relationship sweeter. If there’s ever any burn out, it isn’t because of my interactions with Him.
I’m not sure why I was moved to write about this today. He is more present now and I am feeling more blessed, loved, and cared for than ever before by Him. I’ve just been thinking a lot about the ongoing process of loving Him and I think that people don’t understand that process…I’ve had too many clients beating themselves up because they even wanted a little down time. It’s normal. I sometimes think that relationships take not only time but a certain amount of tension and release: the down time allows us to process the inevitable results of being in the devotional Presence of a Holy Power. That is something that has consequences. It has results for the devotee. Sometimes we need a little space to comprehend. Sometimes He might say no but the need itself is not a fault. It’s natural.”
Following up on this, I think the only problem happens when we convince ourselves that our Gods always want us to take it easy, to pamper ourselves, to step back and not do the work that is given us to do, when we use Them as an excuse to exceed the boundaries of good, healthy self-care and instead become excessively self-indulgent. Or when we begin to develop habits of avoidance of our Gods because of the challenges. Spiritual work is hard yet that which nourishes us, which keeps us strong and focused, which enables us to thrive is that devotional connection to our Gods. No matter how hard it becomes, if we return to it willingly again and again, it is sustenance, necessary sustenance.
Four short pieces from “He is Frenzy”:
Ymir shuddered once
was still. butchery began.
9 worlds One-Eye Made.
He shuddered once
The Tree ran dark rich with blood
a screaming King born.
wyrd bears heavy worlds
inside a man’s memories.
Even Gods taste fear.
Odin sits, mighty King
worlds haunted by His passage.
I am haunted too.
We harden like trees, like rivers grow cold.
I roamed with my soul.
Love bade me welcome; yet my soul drew back,
Not a whisper, not a thought,
The divine intoxication…
Can you love something distant and strange?
I would empty my soul of the dreams
That have gathered in me.
He spoke; He reached out:
“Every part of you that broke
I carried in my throat.”
Break me broken.
Leaves like feast-day offerings
Wind an altar,
Blossomed and faded, our faces between,
With voices sad and prophetic.
I’m here with shadows.
Over those fires no one could walk.
It came to me we had resumed.
What was written in blood has been set up again,
Half deathless, half mortal,
Crown’d with warlike fires and raging desires.
You will follow the bare scarified breast.
It is noble to die of love,
And honorable to remain.
Some dull cowardice called a world vanishes.
Into the ragged meadow of my soul
Like a diamond
The nectar of the divine name,
The scar of this encounter like a sword —
Like a sword be without a trace of soft iron.
That is how You came here.
I too can go into a grave made only of air.
I celebrate our old, eternal custom.
Passion has brought me to this clearing of the ground.
The name of the Dark One has entered my heart.
This roaming killer came in a fury.
Dreams! Adorations! Illuminations!
I boil my tears in a twisted spoon,
Trembling with fear.
Oh sweet cautery,
I abandoned and forgot myself,
where the desires of two come together.
I am Your reflection.
You are Master of the Hunt.
Our backs gleam
Shards in a tender torrent.
A fight is a kind of dance,
Of bat-shit particles meant to scatter.
Our deaths keep us company
when nothing else would.
You are Master of the Hunt.
[With respect to Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, E. A. Poe, George Herbert, W.H. Auden, Emily Dickinson, Cait Johnson, Sara Teasdale, Ada Gold, Vergil/S. Lombardo, Joshua Davis, Marilyn Hacker, Elizabeth Akers Allen, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Agha Shahid Ali, Elizabeth Bishop, James Fenton, Catherine Tufariello, William Blake, Louise Glűck, Ezra Pound, e.e. Cummings, Mirabai, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Rumi, Reginald Gibbons, Euripides, Wendell Berry, Beowulf/Seamus Heaney, Allen Ginsburg, Etheridge Knight, St. John of the Cross, Mechthild of Magdeburg, Monica Ong, Cathy Linh Che, urayoan noel, Douglas Kearney, Sampson Starkweather].