Exquisite poetry from fellow poet Carol Stephen published on Silver Birch Press today as part of their Mythic Poetry Series. I love the way this creates a myth of childhood. Great stuff!
There’s something elemental in the odour of death,
each myth dissected, the way boys dissect frogs,
then wash hands in the pond’s fog. Each remembers
the veined legs, the death-croak, wonders
what to tell mother when she asks
What possessed you?
It’s a boy thing, a tradition, this call down to the river.
Answers mothers have forgotten:
how to balance on a log, counting to thirteen.
Things children know:
The call of the desert, summer wind, dancing silent.
Sacrifice at the oasis, the offering of young bulls.
Their death songs recede into sand, drift into
each mouth, the labour of their last breath.
Children burn through days believing nine religious things.
Whisper secrets. Escape from prayers, their auras
clear and hollow, drawn always to water, to riverbed.
Every child learns to walk at an angle, to memorize
the mysteries of ancestors kept in…
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