White witches burning sage, sweet grass
and their dreams, slightly swaying when
their lungs turned to highways to Hel, He was paying
with some parts of his mind like the wise women told.
Soon he entered a cavern of profound appeal,
stalagmites very low, dripping water so cold
yet nothing and nobody inside here was real
except the single, fading call of his voice
and in hindsight he wished he had
mad different choices. Soon the choir of hags
trapped his feet underground, they were
mounting their stags gagged his mouth,
killed all sound. Ravished flesh, bleeding pride
nightmare’s realm he endured as they took
him in stride neither poised nor demure.
On his tongue there was placed a single
green rose and his eyes turned to stone
when the Old One arose, from her slumber
in depths not a human heart travels.
Her dress was like rain and her voice
was like gravel, yet he could not deny
that her beauty was pure, even though
he was blind, that was one thing so sure
as the dying of stars, universe growing old
and he whispered one question, like the
wise women told. What’s the point in
still dreaming, while everything crumbles?
and in answer she opened her mouth
and it rumbled. Most exquisite songs of
torment and joy fled the entity that could
have been Helen of Troy. With a wave of
her hands that were bigger than wheels
she granted him vision, spectral bright
and unreal. In this sole grain of light lay
an infinite truth, as he touched it he knew
it was nothing in sooth. Still so warm
on his skin and it slowly sank in, gently
pushing his thoughts as his mind broke free.
Luring lands he eventually was able to flee.
Once he woke and his sweat felt like tears
of the night, while his furs kept him warm
and he wrapped them so tight. Tried to write
down the word he had heard just before, but
it faded, unraveled in the embers of yore.
Still this feeling inside kept him warm, kept
him sane, and he knew that his mind
and his heart would contain all the wisdom
he found even if it seemed shallow, it could
safe him indeed from a dance with the gallows.
© Matthias Geh, 3rd July 2018