Tag Archives: mythology

If the Germans Could Laugh Like the Irish

If the Germans could laugh like the Irish,
reckless, deep in drunken ambrosial seas,
walking wandering paths,
their cracked looking-glasses on open hearths

(these are the holy fools)

If the Irish could laugh like the Germans,
deep and still like endless speech-lost oceans,
climbing somber mountains,
their rise and fall engineered by the night

(these are the gods’ architects)

If the Germans could laugh like the Irish,
their eyes warm and hair gentle heather-swept,
greeting quiet morn in song
and weeping proudly in their silent grief

(these are the poets of the gods)

If the Irish could laugh like the Germans,
strong and firm, like dark primeval forests
meeting sun’s fade in song
and building stories in their silent sleep

(these are the holy dreamers)

If the Germans could laugh like the Irish,
if the Irish could laugh like the Germans,
if the earth both revere,
and the sky and the sea could hear them all

(these are the gods’ ploughmen)

If the Irish could laugh like the Germans,
if the Germans could laugh like the Irish,
their fires burning bright
across the valleys deep
and over mountains high
in morning’s rising fog
and in evening’s cool mist,
with awestruck joy and mirthful fearlessness

(these are the storytellers of the gods).

corrected version 20 Sep 2001

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Ehwaz

Today’s rune: the eight-legged horse
that Odin rode to battefields;
where god and rider seemed as one
great being, neither man nor beast.

My own steed? More of Boxer’s ilk,
George Orwell’s noble working brute
who would attempt to cure the world
by taking on the extra mile.

We toil as one, that horse and I,
and still, the work is not enough;
our dented armor shows its rust,
the plowshare swords are dull and bent.

The labor never seems to stop;
the world continues to decay,
and will not pause its slow decline
despite our efforts, night and day.

Yet bound by pride, my mount and I,
press on and without breaking stride
move slowly through each newfound task.
Our fate is sealed, the dice are cast.

The centaur that we have become
through this long night seems deaf and dumb;
and silent, spends the too few hours
between midnight and dawn awake.

Ehwaz? Bestill those mighty hooves;
the world is filled with noise enough.
And no storm yet is so untamed
it ends other than drizzled gray.

10 DEC 2007

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New myths are required

There’s just so much that you can take
as karmic payment for mistakes
before you start to wonder and
imagine that you understand
the link from cause to each effect:
that every action or neglect
results in a changed universe
that’s neither better, nor is worse,
but different, needing different acts,
new myths to organize the facts,
revised agendas, maps and tools,
new visions, sages, holy fools,
and more important than the rest,
new meanings for both cursed and blessed.

On faith, we take for granted most
of our advantages, and coast
through life without imagining
much beyond what each new day brings,
and fail, too often, to observe
that most get just what they deserve,
or at least, just what their belief
embraces: joy, bliss, sorrow, grief.
Through all the trials, tests and strife
we must accept, to accept life,
one thing remains: those who feel blessed
are obligated to the rest.
To claim dominion of some kind
is to expect that dumb and blind
the world will simply bow and serve,
a sad fate that nothing deserves.

09 JUN 2005

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The Hero’s Face

Old myths teach us to see
great gods each equipped with
a thousand arms and eyes
facing all ways, seeing
all directions at once.

Each hero has my face,
and yours too; what we find
good in ourselves is there
in the wrinkled high brow,
the steady gaze, strong chin.

Old myths show us the way
that humankind evolved:
a thousand hands, each one
five fingers connected
using a single palm.

15 AUG 2003

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Ravens and writing desks

Why IS a raven like a writing desk?

Mythologically, the raven represents a messenger, not a gatekeeper like the blackbird. He is a courier, carrying secret letters of transit enabling passage beyond the borders of this brightly lit world into the misty mountainous regions of the Otherworld. The writing desk likewise symbolizes a conduit to another place and time, where hours and miles have different meanings, where illusions become real and the real becomes a mere wisp of ephemera.

The raven is a deliverer of news of great portend conveyed simply to change one’s current agenda. This news by its very nature preempts the standard broadcast with a bulletin of import. The writing desk is also about disruptive or transformative change – the moment you begin examining something in enough detail to actually trouble with transcribing the experience you have already changed that something, interrupted its previous busyness. Its and your experiment and experience is altered as the process of observation becomes part of the observed world.

In truth, both raven and writing desk are scavengers, capable and willing of devouring almost anything. Both are ravenous. Both will indiscriminately use any substance for sustenance.

12 Feb 2003

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