Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Month of Poetry #5: The Tree of Knowledge

Yesterday's MoP was a fairly sour little spray, so I just posted it to the closed MoP page. No need to whine in public!

Today I'm heading back to the Women of Mythology theme to look at Viviane, the Lady of the Lake and ruler of Avalon in the Arthurian mythos. I'm concentrating on the part of the myth that has Viviane trapping Merlin in the tree after learning all his secrets and leeching his magic from him. I've always wondered how this story could be read counter-intuitively, and here's my take on it.

The Tree of Knowledge

You said, Lady, I am sick with love of you
     just let me, a little, under your kirtle, I must -
And I said no to you, I said, old man, I am here to learn, give me
     your trickery, your sorcerous faint-fingered magic of the stars and seas
     let me take on your knowing let me give me I must -
And you said, woman, I am dying of love, I will die of it
      let me slake myself let me burn let me let me I must -
And I said no to you, I said it, and I pushed away your blue-roped hands
      teach me what I need to know, now, under this harvest moon
      you must, count out to me the runes and bones, I must -
And you said, oh beauty, beauty, the sky is full of golden blood
      let me let me you must I must -

And I did not, I did not
     but you did

The tree knows, its tendrils wound through your heart
     what you did what you said what you gave what you took
The tree claimed its prize

As for me, I put on your knowledge like a cloak woven from midnight and noonday sun
     looked at you, just once, and walked away
     down the dream-road to Avalon.

- Kathy, 5/01/16

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