cailleach

last night’s feast of brighid was beautiful
good food, fair friends, and plenty of shining verse
(the rarebit and candles not so much)
planting seeds for the coming year – to heal

in the circle i shared a bit brighid’s folklore
of she and cailleach exchanging a wand to mark the year
like an invocation of the crone she came – dark
she had come to take away one of her own – light

thinking of the callieach and her creel drippings shaping the landscape
some mountains and others valleys, a mound here a shallow there
like a matriarch at her extended family, each feature shaped by her hand

here is a bit of verse i wrote for my father’s mother
i share it with you in honor of catherine, my mother’s mom

Her Owl Eyes – for Izzy Kukyendahl Mabus
21 Sep 2003: Astoria

not a god of severity or mercy
no angry fire and utter damnation
nor the sorrowful joy of gethsemane
hers was a god of growing things
both those of the seed and those coeval

in her compost pile we tasted sweet
the smell of earth becoming warm
becoming from the fecundity of decay
the rich loam which made camilla leaves
a most uncommonly large elephant ear

while she wrestled words into blocks & squares
i became an expert hunter of spiders
pecans rained like hail on the shed’s tin roof
in dark corners of cigar boxes & coffee cans of nails
the fell prey to my jars gaping maw

like some idyll we swung on her porch
watching as she fed her charges
watering the rows of backyard veggies
on fence posts leaving bread and nuts for squirrels
an unusual queue of critters in her yard

but it wasn’t all arcadian delights
there were hours bent down on our knees
scrubbing accumulated dirt from floorboards
of rent houses betwixt the flow of tenants
honest work was the severity of her hand

spite and malice marathons on the driveway
always and everyday soap operas and a nap
there was this break in the day – quiet
to soothe a heart as the day sped away
a siesta in the balmy heat of the houston heights

the click clack of bones on stone tables
or the clatter rattle of dice in a yahtzee cup
her games where the constant throughout
whether we were camped at the lake
or under the pecan heavy trees in the waning of summer

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