The Gathering of the Clan
The wind quickens.
In the East the sky brightens.
In the West the wings of old loves hover on the horizon.
A moment passes.
It carries the damp of moors they have walked.
Wafts of their talk touch her collarbone,
her fingertips and earlobes.
Through the mists of her ancient eyes
Appears the arriving clan:
Clan not of bone
nor shared hearth.
In the land of heart’s desire
Are born these brethren.
Setting out one from the bone-dry desert,
Another from the willow sweep of river,
A third from the gladsome meadows of spring
Blushed of lupine and sweet clover,
They have tread the endless plains,
Bathed in the morning dew of Alchemilla,
And rested in the valley of many stars.
Around the night fire
They have opened the book of unending mystery;
They have sung its songs,
Retold its tales,
Deciphered verse by verse
The language of wolves and herbs,
Woven and unwoven the tales of war and peace.
Then moving on:
Packing their shallow bowls,
Winding the harp strings of first light,
Wrapping with care the blue and silver book of
Their collective soul,
They have followed the paths of remembering
To this forest glade
Where dwells this piece of time.
She opens the door to their verses and cloaks,
Their shawls and shoes and thirst.
Herbs she brews, mats she spreads,
Pillows she plumps for their rest.
She welcomes them home.
They sit on her porch as the evening descends,
They watch as the moon opens its heart
And the sky reveals its treasures.
The wind is still now.
An owl calls from the wood.
Someone plays a flute.
She opens the book of promises forged
And regrets forgotten,
Of jade palaces and purple peacocks,
Of clay bowls and painted portraits,
Of golden hope and silver memories,
Of hay and sand and stone.
She chooses a poem of birth,
She chooses a poem of death.
She reads them together as if they were one
And passes the book to her right.
Thus they spend the night
Reciting each a fragment of this life
‘Til sleep rejoins the shards
And they are made whole again.
By morning they have gone,
Making each their way through landscapes and sunsets,
Oceans and orchards.
On the blank pages of her book
They have written the poem of their journeys
In the language of tansy and violets.
May the regal Angelica guide her voice
As she translates her vision
and her dream.
May Artemisia protect her,
Borago give her strength
To speak the true words,
To know the true names,
To write the story only she can tell.