John Pistelli

writer

Occult Diptych, for the Children’s Room

[My amateurish dabbling in formal poetry continues with two more villanelles. Something about the restriction and repetition leads one on to these legendary-fantastical themes that are otherwise not to my taste. Maybe there is a future in YA verse?]

The Seer

The seer hears the pulse flutter under the stone.
As a boy he bundled each sheaf with twine
And said, “My soul’s a leaf, spirit is in a bone.”

His first books were the heroes, brave and alone,
Who’d breast the lightning to save the lowest of kine.
The seer hears the pulse flutter under the stone.

His first loves were the women, ugly, disowned:
All men eat fruit; seers savor the rind
And say, “My soul’s a leaf, spirit is in a bone.”

They’d summon him to tombs: “Call back the flown!”
Each resurrection was a gain in time:
The seer heard the pulse flutter under the stone.

The priests proscribed reseeding what once had been sown:
Only a mage would show the timeless in time
And say, “My soul’s a leaf, spirit is in a bone.”

His monument lows with the moaning of crones.
Now who will bind the large life to the life that is mine?
The seer hears the pulse flutter under the stone
And says, “My soul’s a leaf, spirit is in a bone.”

The Prophetess

“If the prophetess screams, we will drown her tonight in our fear.”
Girlhood was bird entrails, glistening and bloody.
And the prophetess dreams that the harvest will fail the next year.

She read of the witches—love spells, cursed births, spoilt beer—
Slouched home each night, the hem of her skirts all muddy.
“If the prophetess screams, we will drown her tonight in our fear.”

Men were so frail, they could be had for a tear;
The satisfaction of lust was not worth her study.
And the prophetess dreams that the harvest will fail the next year.

She raved the course of the war at the end of the pier:
The sea in her mind, all wreckage, foamed ruddy.
“If the prophetess screams, we will drown her tonight in our fear.”

“Does she spy our disasters—or summon them here?”
“Bequeath us a blessing!—corn, wine, and honey!”
And the prophetess dreams that the harvest will fail the next year.

She laughs in the night when she feels the goddess come near.
Blessings for weaklings?—not while time was like putty.
“If the prophetess screams, we will drown her tonight in our fear.”
And the prophetess dreams that the harvest will fail the next year.

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This entry was posted on 29 September 2014 by in literature, poetry, writing and tagged , , , , .
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