Each yellow outstretched
finger, reaching for the sun
Each yellow outstretched
finger, reaching for the sun
The old woman said
that there is only one way
to remove a wart
bury a toad before dawn
it will be gone by sunset
Since the dawn of man
he has worshipped the Goddess
under many names
At four o’clock that morning the stags on the hillside had commenced their belling. The eerie bellowing echoing all around the valley. This morning however Abel was more interested in the loud gasps and cries from behind the skins hanging from the line, forming a curtain which divided the single room in his hovel. Pacing up and down the room he was anxious to know what progress, if any, was taking place with the birth of his second child. Continuously stroking his beard he strained to hear what was happening. At last there was a loud gasp from the assisting nurse followed by the sound of a slap and a loud shriek accompanied the sound of crying. Abel turned then stopped and watched as the nurse raised the skin and silently with sad eyes, looking at the floor, held up a white bundle. Abel knew what this meant and with tears in his eyes grabbed the bundle and turned to the doorway. Outside stood three elders, ready to perform the customary baptism. Taking the rudely wrapped child from Abel’s hands the three started the solemn procession up to the ceremonial site at the head of the Tor. Amidst the granite blocks there was one which formed a natural basin, it’s waters continually replenished by the frequent, heavy Exmoor rains. For long centuries this had been used as the villager’s font where all baptisms had taken place. Abel watched them depart then returning inside, retired to a stool in the corner, where he sat with his head in his hands, the grief he felt for the abomination he had witnessed so great that he had no heart to go in and try to comfort the mother of the newborn. Meanwhile on the hillside the elders arrived at the site and gathering around the stone they held the child up to the rising sun before placing the white mewing parcel into the water. This was to be no ordinary baptism for instead of a brief immersion in the icy waters the child was held under the water till there were seen to be no more bubbles rising. The body was then laid on a bed of grass on the large flat boulder adjacent to the basin stone. The child had been chosen to atone for the tribal perceived sins. The raven and the buzzard would help to consign the child’s spirit to the all-seeing God, where forgiveness may be obtained. Though the only sin this child had committed in it’s brief life was to have been born a girl. A crime worthy of death in the patriarchal society in which she had had the misfortune to enter this life.
22nd. March 1832 and one of the greatest thinkers of the age dies at the age of 82. Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe , whose last words are reputed to be, “More light.” A poet, novelist and philosopher he was probably most famous for his work, “Faust,” written in two parts the second of which being completed in the year of his death and published posthumously.
they parade with arms entwined
heads bowed to the ground
each silent bloom in splendour
celebrating the new dawn
See the elation
in outstretched foaming fingers
reaching for the shore
ire of the wind blown torrent
vented on unbending stone
Raksha could not believe how cold it had become. Wearing only the white robe of the initiate, he had willingly descended the steps into the stone-slabbed tomb. Like his father before him and all the other young men of his village this was to be the most important of his so far, young life. His body would outwardly be the same but braving the perils of this night he would emerge in the morning imperceptibly and subtly, be changed. In his mind, and in the eyes of his village, he would be a man. Illuminated by the torch of his companion who had accompanied him into the cell but who had quickly and silently departed, he was aware that his bed for the night, a cold stone bench without even a layer of straw or a pillow was the only item that could be considered furniture. The stone-flagged floor had glistened with the pools of water that he could hear slowly dripping, monotonous, irregular from the rough-hewn rock ceiling, just a few feet above his head. Luckily there appeared to be no water dropping onto his bed space. He walked slowly around the bench and contemplated how long it would take for his eyes to grow accustomed to the darkness. He knew that the door was to his left but could not judge the distance to it. There was only one thing to do. Adopting his favourite position he sat cross-legged on the hard floor and pulling his robe tightly around him and over his head he clasped his hands, shut his eyes and with eyes closed, started his meditation. This way he would not feel the pangs of hunger or the cold that would surely envelop him throughout his night-long ordeal. His breathing became shallow and he started to feel the sense of serenity that came with his faith in the Gods of his fathers and the teachings of his Holy brothers. By attaining this semi-comatose state he knew that he would be protected from all the unseen demons of the night whom the evil underground dwellers would surely send to torment him in his vigil. All he could do was rely on his inner strength and self-discipline. It would be a long night and he expected many spiritual and mental battles before the morning.
if you chance your arm
make sure the odds are equal
or in your favour
the urge to bloom,
in cold restraint until
the Spring, when in verdant glory,
Your eyes, my lines.
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