Wednesday, September 18, 2013

banshee

I am not here at your summoning.
I do not blush,
and while I am obedient in my own way,
at my own peculiar hour,
you don't know a thing about me
nor command me in any manner at all.

At the edge of the green-gone woods
where the mist, like souls, shall rise,
you will find me washing the bloody husk
of the brave one who slowly, stoically, dies.

I move through the world in hag-face,
appearing ancient, for I am ancient,
but not weak.
That's for you, the young man who called to me,
mistaking who and what I was,
and when I turned my head, said,
"Don't look at me bitch!" and laughed along with your friends.
Did you feel the ice snake curl around your heart?
I had already looked,
and once having looked, I cannot look away.

At the edge of the green-gone woods,
where the peat fires burn unseen and deep,
you will find me bent to cradle the head
of the brave one whose heart slows, sinking to sleep.

This is the age of superfluous racket masquerading as song.
Myself, I do not sing--
my throat is too thick with writhing crows,
my nostrils too full of ash
for me to do anything but keen.
I am Morrigan, and I am a banshee;
when I open my mouth, the razor flock flies,
a black scream for the extinguishing stars.

At the edge of the green-gone woods
where bat and raven at twilight cross,
I am the coarse-cut shriek of death
the voice of grief, the soul of loss.

Young man, you don't want to know what I do
about the bad cast
and the locked door.
Beneath my crone's costume, I carry my beauty in reserve--
it is formidable, and fair,
and kept for the deserving.
Remember this: I will not keen for you.
What comes out of your mouth is yellow dust;
what comes out of mine is a glass-shard hurricane.
Your future holds the thing you know nothing about;
what awaits you just around the next coward's corner you come to,
will be all yours as I walk away--
utter
stillness.
_______

For Kerry's fantastic "Old Gods" challenge at Real Toads. 

Check out the amazingly cool journal that Margaret Bednar gave me, for my poems. I can't say how much I love it. Next to it, is the beautiful Celtic necklace given to me by Lynn, of Good Things Happened. I wear it a lot. Thank you, dear ladies. Your kind gifts mean so much to me.  

24 comments:

grapeling said...

goose bumps, all over my arms and temples and neck.

TexWisGirl said...

heavy poem. love the cool gifts, though! :)

razzamadazzle said...

This gives me shivers! Amazing!

hedgewitch said...

So much to appreciate here--the mastery of language, of course, but also the structure, with its formal sense of the past in the four-line intervals, its peculiar sense of place and time, alternating with the equally formal but more direct, conversational long stanzas, full of steel-shot imagery and arctic blasts of emotion and power. I could quote for hours, but the parts that stand out most starkly and clearly in vision for me are the opening lines, and everything from 'Myself I do not sing' on to the lightning bolt close. Just fine, glowing work, Shay. To call it powerful would be a meiosis.

Sam Edge said...

Thisi s right up your alley eh FB?

At the edge of the green-gone woods,
where the peat fires burn unseen and deep,
you will find me bent to cradle the head
of the brave one whose heart slows, sinking to sleep

The alliteration in parts of this poem reminds me of the anglo-sazxon tradition. Excellent.

G-Man said...

I've heard your screams
I've read your tomes
I've felt your wrath
Ease my pain
I'm ready
Take me
Now

Kerry O'Connor said...

Wow! Wow! Wow! This is formidable, Shay. What a conception and execution. I love the narrative interspersed with song-like verses, and what words and images you have conjured up. She may be forgotten but she certainly has not lost any of her powers.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

One of the best of your best writing. Sizzling good. Too many fabulous lines to quote and I loved the verses that are interspersed. But the stanza beginning with superfluous racket is a wonder. The whole thing is a wonder, from message to execution. Wow. The power in the glance of the goddess who pens these words could wither such a mocking young fool at fifty paces - and hopefully it did.

Mama Zen said...

I adore the alternating stanzas. I just love it when you rhyme!

chamomile sea said...

I can't stop reading the first stanza. These are more of my favorites:

"I move through the world in hag-face"

"This is the age of superfluous racket masquerading as song."

"my throat is too thick with writhing crows"

"a black scream for the extinguishing stars"

"I am the coarse-cut shriek of death
the voice of grief, the soul of loss." (this may be the most powerful section of the piece)

"Beneath my crone's costume, I carry my beauty in reserve"

"What comes out of your mouth is yellow dust;
what comes out of mine is a glass-shard hurricane." (my very favorite lines, I think)

I think this is an excellent challenge to stop being a coward, to find a voice, and to create some piercing noise from one's grief rather than simply emitting "yellow dust."

LaTonya Baldwin said...

This is fantastic. This is suppose to be dark so why do I feel giddy? How else do you feel when you love poetry and tale and someone spins what you do? I hate that I gush. I swear if I had a nit to pick I would, but I don't. Glad I stopped here first when I got home.

Margaret said...

I love the descriptions of the green-gone woods - those stanzas for me are dripping with celtic details - I can feel the mists envelop as I read this woe of a banshee, ancient... but not weak. She will blow his yellow dust to kingdom come! (and your welcome for the journal ... this fits nicely inside of its pages if it is one of its first poems :)

HermanTurnip said...

Two poems at odds. I read this thing once all the way through, then again while reading the two separately. Each read through was a totally different experience. Nicely done!!

Cloudia said...

You receive gifts, because your poetry touches us deeply. This one is carved in the obsidian heart of my memory now. Beauty in reserve....So many perfect phrases. I can't believe a dark publisher and audience doesn't NEED YOU!

Fo realz, yo!

myinnerchick.com said...

**when I open my mouth, the razor flock flies,
a black scream for the extinguishing stars.**

exquisite.

Xxx

Daryl said...

i have been reading a series of books set in the medieval times in an abbey ... as soon as i began reading this awesome epic i flashed to the books .. you should check them out .. author is priscilla royal

Lynn said...

I'm glad you like the necklace, FB! It was fun sending it.

Susan said...

WOW! I hear her identity through your narrative and song, and hope I am ready for her gifts when she comes for me. I have never felt the banshees' possibilities in my heart before. So this is a true gift. Thank you.

Debi Swim said...

I think this is just amazing. The two voices and tones - wow. The green-gone woods is so lovely.

Lolamouse said...

What does it say that we both chose Morrigan? Of course, your poem blew mine out of the water.

Susie Clevenger said...

Wow, so powerful and chilling. Youth thinks it knows it all until silence teaches them how little they knew...marvelous writing as always!! Love the journal and the necklace.

Ella said...

I agree one of your best! I love these lines best:
"my throat is too thick with writhing crows,
my nostrils too full of ash
for me to do anything but keen.
I am Morrigan, and I am a banshee;
when I open my mouth, the razor flock flies,
a black scream for the extinguishing stars."

I love your gifts-how wonderful!!

Vanessa V Kilmer said...

Beautiful gifts.

Joanne said...

Well-crafted indeed. I love your crone, and your wisps of myth and female power. A fine structure for a fine story.