pale and too weak to move
 cough your guts over
 edge of your bed
 in faint light from the door
 two trees
 walk towards you

 one black, the other white

 black tree becomes a pair of eyes
 you inhale smoke drifting up from a fire
 sharp fruit fragrance
 spiky, dark, sinewy, stiff bark,
 oval leaves with a serrated margin

 quickly over your body
 touches points here and there,
 painful thorns nick out bubbles
 of your blood
 it mutters strange
 under its breath
 with a low, crackling voice.
 The night grows old,
 dawn approaches
 dissolves into

 the white tree
 with long bright hair,
 lays a cool gentle hand on your brow,
 mutters with a sweet bell-like voice
 your sight sharpens
 until the white tree,
 becomes a woman,
 your pain eases.  She sweeps
 brown-grey, knotted
 and fissured skin,
 slender and brown limbs
 covered in thorns
 that do not hurt
 up and down
 your body, touches same places
 as the black tree
 pain vanishes
 into easy, restful sleep

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summer’s done

spice hearth
 of tha home, tha wickness
 with apples, pomegranates,
 pumpkins, squashes
 colour tha home
 with marigolds,

 burst pomegranate seeds
 with tha teeth
 savour their sharp,
 bittersweet flavour

 light bale fires
 to scratch mistakes
 light torches
 to honour tha dead
 kindle new fires
 burn incense
 set tha torc tenned ablaze
 a pyramid of timber
 called the Fire Boar
 save the ashes
 put a candle in tha window
 so tha dear dead loved ones
 find a way home

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only three points of light in a sky of stars

killed by a scorpion’s sting
 or his lover’s spear
 chases a bear
 his asterism belt is
 made of stories
 told by folk they pass over
 perhaps they are
 the three fates
 past, present, future

 three bright stars
 light of their past
 in our present
 Alnitak, Alnilam and Mintaka

 the Girdle, the Line,
 the Golden Grains or Nuts
 the Accurate Scale Beam
 The Weighing Beam
 the Three Stars mansion
 one of the western mansions of the White Tiger
 Frigg’s Distaff
 Jacob’s Staff
 Peter’s Staff
 the Three Magi
 the Three Kings.
 Väinämöinen’s Scythe
 Kalevan Sword
 hunter , a mule deer, pronghorn
 bighorn sheep shot
 by the hunter,
 its blood drips onto an island
 The Three Marys

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The Beloved

 in the past
 used a stick with a weight on it
 to weave the coloured clouds and clear skies of your life.
 She played with your roving,
 noticing as she pulled it that it got thinner.

 She made you think you controlled
 the weight of your spin around
 your centre as you twisted your
 roving world and yourself as a weaver.

 Only she controlled the colour
 of your clouds
 and the rate of spin.

 Today after an upgrade her rapier picks up one part of your
 life as from the centre, between two banks of kaleidoscopic clouds,
 carries it across one weaving area;
 as it finishes laying that pick, the opposite end of her other rapier
 picks up another part of your life
 from the centre,
 and her rapier moves in the other direction to lay a pick for the second weaving area, on the other half of the machine.

 She is your life coach.
 Controls the assorted colour matched thread of your life.
 Its clouds and clear skies.

 And as you stop
 and look at the weather
 in the sky you can see
 her weaving other lives.

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Purifying Shepherds

Smoke from burning

 droplets of blood from the tail 
 of last October’s sacrificed horse,
 ashes of the stillborn calves,
 the shells of beans.

 We are sprinkled with water,
 wash our hands
 in spring-water,
 drink milk mixed with must.

 Towards evening after shepherds
 fed their flocks,
 are used as brooms
 to clean their stables,
 water sprinkled through them,
 then stables adorned
 with laurel-boughs.

 Shepherds burn sulphur,
 rosemary, fir-wood, and incense,
 usher the smoke through the stables
 and the flocks to purify them.

 cakes, millet, milk,
 and other food
 is offered.

 Hay and straw bonfires lit
 cymbals and flutes play
 as sheep and shepherds
 are run three times
 through the fire.

 At an open air feast 
 we sit or lay
 on turf benches
 and sup a lot.

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The Burning Fox

A twelve year old lad in a valley
 at the end of a willow copse
 catches a vixen fox, snacker
 on many a farmyard fowl.

 He wraps it in straw and hay,
 set a light to her; she escapes him
 and in her fleeing sets fire to crops
 in the fields, a breeze fans the flames.

 Vital Winter’s snap to feed family destroyed by yon red brute.

 A fox is burned at every festival of Grow,
 perishing in way it destroyed the crops

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Red the Strong

Belief is a ship
 on the fish flecked sea,
 close hauled and tacking,
 against this Christian gust.

 It has a dragon’s head,
 and aft a crook, which turns up,
 and ends in a dragon’s tail.

 Gilded carved work on each side
 of the stem and stern.
 I call this ship “The Serpent”
 Its hoisted sails are dragon’s wings.

 I’m brought before me boss,
 who offers me baptism.
 “And,” says he, “I will not
 take thy property from thee,

 but rather be thy mate,
 if thou wilt make thysen
 worthy to be such.”

 I exclaim with all me might
 against his offer, say
 “I’ll never believe in Christ,
 and this so called God.”

 Boss was wroth, and says “Thee
 shall die worst of deaths.”

 He orders I be bound
 to a beam of wood, me face
 uppermost, and round pin of wood
 set between my teeth
 to force me gob open.

 Boss orders an adder
 rammed down my gob,
 but adder shrinks back
 when I breathe against it.

 A hollow branch of angelica root
 is stuck in my gob; others say boss
 put his horn into me mouth,
 and forces adder in
 holds a red-hot iron
 before me open gob.
 So adder creeps into it,
 down me throat,
 gnaws its way out my side.

 My last breath is a ship
 on the fish flecked sea,
 close hauled and tacking,
 against this Christian gust.

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strike sparks off the hill
 tumble down charged, fall
 an electric river.

 Captured photon tracks
 dot glass, world atom

 Lost particles,
 paper thin blanketed
 homeless huddle
 in doorways.

 Tiny explosions
 of heaven’s tears
 across the nailed lake.

 Day ends as fishermen
 fold up their green chairs
 by a splashed evening lake

 glowered, puddled.

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