Mudlark No. 61 (2017)

The Phoenix Song

I sing of all who sang before me.
The Greek with her gown of wind, fleet sandals.
The sisters on the heath, wind-whipped.
The white dress at the narrow table, stitching up poems.
The woman putting stones in her pocket & walking
into the river of the unsaid.

The dark-eyed seer, the dark-eyed beauty, the scold.
Then the ones who told all.
Every last turn of the screw or the tale.
The kiss, the longed-for tongue.
Cries that tore the night like lightning.
Tears set adrift on the sea.

Love me. Love me.

But that was no message to carve
into rafter or beam
for those who came after.
Better a name, one that might serve as memorial:
Fire tender. Bone keeper.
Some dates, & then the instructions:

As soon as your hair turns grey
cut it short & dance naked
in front of the fire.  
When you feel the heat in your bones,
open your mouth. Guard
each word like a coal.

Lynne Knight | Echo
Contents | Mudlark No. 62 (2017)