BY JOSEPH SPECE
Struck a pair of stones to start off. Left behind
ten men curled like scythes round the fire.
Left behind the bracing moon. Passed a pack
of ibex, passed the mammoth. Left the carious
canines before the rath, left the scapula—
freed space for petal dyes, for fixatives.
Passed (in a dream) Chauvet. Alsace. Lorraine.
Past the scree, past the wolf standing sentinel, her
mouth. Struck two stones to hearten the blaze,
sped up; pulled from the sack the manganese, the gilt
mixture of ochre and ore, the animal fat,
the deer bristle. The hare I speared fresh
for better reds. Mash of berries in a rolled frond.
Looked back—still breathing, still lone, set
bone to the bare wall: summoned up the aurochs
in a dervish turn, flank hot with lashes, all hot with dying and kneeling
down. Then nothing. Then the quiet
credit of our kind.
Picture found here
Listen. Can you hear it? There's no mythology that I know of to support this, but, for me, the period between Samhein and Yule is the Time of the Wild Hunt. I have an odd, unearned sympathy for Herne and what he does on his hunt. And as the veils begin to solidify right back up, everywhere I look I see him, his horse that steams and snorts and hooves the Earth, his horn that sends chills, the kind of chills that I think Mary Oliver may have meant when she said: Let the unknowable touch the buckle of my spine,
, his host that blasts the leaves and sends even the foxes and squirrels racing for covered places. Here he comes. Do you have a ready offering?