Owl of the Violet Moon
Owl of the Violet Moon untired from your trackless flight from the Fortunate Isles -
from what deep chalice of Night have you drunk,
full of the opiate-laced dreams of crushed and powdered stars,
the bruised and fallen petals of Eternity?
Bird of luminous omen
nemesis of the sinner and the wise -
what man born of woman might stare into your eyes and live?
Pale-pinioned ghost of the soul,
the soul of what great World-crowned King sits astride your back?
Do you carry the wayward Prince of some distant Faery Otherworld
towards the mortal dawn
or the merciless Lord of the Dead,
come to harvest the children of the Earth,
sundering flesh from flesh
liberating spirit from its bondage to matter?
See them flee before the cruel-clawed Lord of the Sidhe
and the gore-dripping beak of his albino steed,
tossed like autumn leaves upon the phantom wind.
Only the souls of children and poets laugh with glee
in the face of the Death Owls pure white smile.
Dance of the Djinn
My sister died when she was only six years old
caught by a stray bullet as she ran out to snatch her
woolen donkey Abba from beneath the tracks of a burning tank
that was veering up the street, out of control,
its driver dead or dying.
Already it had smashed three shops, sending kettles, pots,
drums of scarce cooking oil and little bags of herbs
onto the steet and mangling Mr. Japha's prized old pushbike
beneath its groaning, unseeing tread.
I tried to call out to tell her to come back
but my vocal cords were frozen with fear.
Already I had seen my father and mother killed infront of me
and now my sister was to be taken away from me too...
just before the final instant my fear vanished.
I rose up, careless of the soldiers and the snipers on the rooftops
and rushed out into the path of the tank
and the river of ignited cooking oil behind it
but before I could reach Xena half of her head vanished,
she jerked up into the air and spun around several times
before the rampaging machine devoured her.
I will never know whether it was an American or a Shi'ite bullet that struck her
I will never know whether her death was deliberate or just another 'accident' of war
I will never know who to hate or plot revenge against,
whose sons to kill in retaliation,
whose father to curse, whose sister to spit upon
unless it is the makers of bullets.
But guns are as common in my land as they are in America
where feuds and gang-killings and car-chases are the regular
entertainment of every growing child...
perhaps my sister was killed as much by the media
as she was by any mercenary, arms-dealer, Whitehouse General
or zealous Iman
whom shall I hate?
tell me please...
for a short time I hated myself for my own cowardice and failure to rescue her
but I still had my younger brother Achmed to look after
and could not afford the luxury of hating for very long.
But sometimes, in the darkness of the night,
I wake from troubled dreams of woolen donkeys, burning tanks
and pirouetting young girls bathed in blood
and I wish a river of hatred might carry me away, away,
over the very edge of the world
where demons spin in space
like djinn spin in the desert
and I might lose myself in the beauty of their wild, abandoned dance,
trancending forever this murky world of war and fragile flesh.
The muted strings of long-lost love
the blood-stained breast of a wounded dove
golden shadows in the wood
briefly flare and then grow cold.
A million waves have washed the shore
some with but a sigh or whisper
some with angry, raging roar
- the muted strings of love play on,
the wounded, blood-stained heart endures.
Beneath the stars two shadows pass
one of oak and one of ash
uncognizant of each other,
beneath the pale white moon they ask
the reason for the ocean's task.
Through days and months and seasons long
the woodland slowly falls away
a city has been builded where once
there was a shore but sometimes in the night
I hear the waves lap at my door
and a shadow passes over my heart
- light or heavy I cannot say,
shadows have no weight in the womb of the dark
just as in the light of day
they must leech colour from commonplace things
or else be colourless and grey.
In sleep, in waking or in dream
the muted strings of love still play
and amnesiac Sorrow must have her way...
Copyright © 2009 Willowdown.