Search Results for 'davitt'


poem17 Dec 2018 07:49 am

Against the face of night, a white moon hoves
into view; a hostage, bound and fevered
by a titan’s gravitic caress.

Responding to him, trammeled
by a fellow captive’s jealous chains,
her inner ice melts, yielding
to the sweet torment
of gravity’s exquisite duress,
bending and quivering,
buckling and shivering.

Four parallel scars rake down her belly,
left by a celestial tiger’s claws;
she bleeds ice-mist in torrents,
trailing veils of crane-down behind her,
shattered wings.

She wraps herself in her mist, pressing snow
to her breast to conceal her ravaged, pockmarked skin,
bleeds out her essence to the void,
heedless in her ecstasy,
leaving a trail of frozen tears behind.

Those feathers that do return to her,
as she’s slowly devoured by her lover’s
ungentle embrace,
fall back to her skin like knives of cold stone.

Self-destroying, self-creating;
blinded by her rapture,
she whirls around her beloved,
entranced; while within her laboring core,
dragons struggle to birth themselves
through the caesarian cuts
left by the tiger’s surgical claws;
strive to shatter the shell of their mother,
their ice-white egg.

The heat within her heart
that engendered them,
will, in time, spell their dissolution,
when she gives herself up to her lover entirely,
dissolves herself and spreads out
as a final shimmering ring
of transitory ice.

And so, with each pass
of the orbital dance,
the universe pauses,
waiting to see
what kind of fabulous monsters
have been born.

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poem30 Apr 2018 03:11 pm

The metal of the plow drives through black earth,
grinding when it strikes hidden rocks,
as when a boat’s keel finds a reef’s coral fingers;
the stones bite the metal, chew flakes from its edge.

The plowman steadies himself beneath a cloud-veined sky—
the last sliver of the moon peers at him,
like a closing eye, veiled,
as the sun lurks just below the horizon.
He stoops to study the damaged plow blade;
his heart yearns for the quickening of the equinox;
his waning, eroded spirit thirsts for spring.

Winter-grown nettles pluck his flesh
as he breaks open the furrow with his blade,
spiteful thorn-vines clutch him, pull him down,
gashing his head on the plow—
blood to feed the hungry earth.

As he struggles to rise, he spots a chick
fallen from its nest in a tree near the field,
struggling to escape the ground,
even as the farmer does.

A hungry fox snaps it up;
his vision widens, somehow
seeing through the thorn-vines,
twining up the chick’s blighted tree,
cascading down into a glade where
a wolf takes down a broken-legged fawn,
snaking hungry tangles into the den
where the pups wait, ravenous.

The vine’s tangles spread everywhere,
looping even around cocoons
of reborn butterflies as they’re plundered
by new-woken wasps,
and he feels the thorns of it
biting into his flesh,
like the crows
who have come
to join the feast.

He struggles to his feet
but new tendrils coil and clutch
with vernal strength
dragging him down to plowed soil
where sharp thorns probe for ingress
into his flesh, and vines
tighten, lashing him
to the ground.

Thorns and talons
beaks and claws,
the rending of flesh;
his life pours
into the furrows
of the barren field,
his perception
flowing like ink,
shrinking, sinking
fading into
the earth.

While his
waning
spirit
welcomes
oblivion.

illustration is – Wölfe reissen einen Hirsch (1855) by Friedrich Gauermann
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poem26 Mar 2018 08:31 am

His hands work, flaying the hide from the deer,
parting the sinews that bind it to flesh
with a stone-flake knife; murmuring apologies
and gratitude for the gift of its life.

Dripping, he drapes it over his shoulders;
feels the still-warm blood course down his spine,
feels the weight of the antlered skull upon his brow,
feels the wet sinews bind to his flesh.

His hands clench to fists, become hooves, his spine
contorts—and then he races away through
the woods, fleeing pursuers more deadly
than any mere wolf.

When he comes to rest in a cold camp,
fireless, he strips off the borrowed skin,
but leaves the head in place—a mask with
sightless eyes, carved from flesh, and hard as bone.

Wolves come, having scented wounded deer,
but whine and press bellies to earth when they
meet his lifeless eyes; they know he is no prey.
They gather close and warm him until dawn.

When his pursuers come too close, the wolves
begin to howl, and the man puts back on his skin—
flees as the wolves harass the men who pursue him.
At sunset he returns to find their bodies, fletched.

Weeping, he thanks them for their kindness,
and then his hands work once more,
separating supple skin and soft fur,
settling it over his shoulders once more.

His nose touches earth; he catches the scent
of those who pursue him—and this time
when he leaps from the brambles it is he
who hunts for them.

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poem24 Jul 2017 08:00 am

Dug in under ice, rock,
where stars don’t twinkle,
but remain hard, cold, distant dots.

Look up: Io’s belching sulfur again—
droplets flung across the void,
caught by unseen winds,
rain against the surface.

Europa and Ganymede shoulder
into view, fleeting across the face
of the monster that chains us all.

Squint: you can just see auroras
dancing like ghosts, spirits, around
Ganymede, as the king’s tongue,
radiation-laden, licks his fleeing favorite.

His swollen red eye peers at us
as water-miner drones lift off,
returning to ships waiting in higher orbit.

Here, we’re far from his leering gaze,
his lecherous tongue, his groping gravity.
And yet, we never feel quite safe;
we’re trapped, like all his other lovers.

image by ESO/M. Kornmesser, downloaded from http://www.eso.org/public/images/eso1615a/
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poem01 Apr 2019 06:21 am
Medusa by Jacek Malczewski

by Deborah Davitt

She found him on the shore, ship-wrecked, sea-wracked—
his eyes had lost their light, travail-blinded.
Fever shook him like a wind-tossed aspen,
her cool, dry fingers, his only respite.
Yet he never knew her face or her name—
refused to tell him whom he owed her due.
 
Every love’s a journey into darkness,
 
and his was all uncertainty—he begged
to touch her hand, her face, to know her truth.
She relented, letting his fingers trace
the forms of her lips, her cheeks, and her eyes,
But his hands jerked back when he found her hair
coiling cool, lithesome, and alive around
his hand. She recoiled as if struck, but he leaned
forward, offering himself to his fears.
 
Every love’s a journey into darkness,
 
and she felt as much fear as he, as they
lay together in her cave, as she’d not
dared with any other, staring into
his blind eyes as her serpentine locks twined
around him, supple, sleek, and scaled. And she
who’d known only death, celebrated life.
 
Every love’s a journey into darkness,
but some kindle their own light on the way.


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poem11 Mar 2019 08:00 am

Deborah L. Davitt

A giant loomed in their sky, swollen,
striped, and possessed of white-staring eyes;
the children of the trees paid homage to their titan
with bark-strip baskets filled with fungal cakes
each time he stole and ate the sun,
hoping to fill him up enough with sacrifice,
that he’d vomit her back up again,
release his hostage,
as they huddled in their homes.
 
In the long dark, the cold came,
and strange things flew upon the air,
screeching creatures who swooped down
and stole the unwary, who strayed too far
from the safety of the Tree’s mazy branches,
inward-turned and crooked into a labyrinth
that only the children could follow.
 
When the sun peered over the horizon,
staining the air with bronze, the youngest gamboled
in the maze, leaping and gliding, branch to branch,
finding leaves and fruits to eat, stockpiling mushrooms
against the titan’s appetite, and drank sweet sap
from under the bark that they stripped away,
while their elders hunted the huge and clacking beetles
that bored into the Tree’s heart;
they traded those shining carapaces,
those iridescent wings,
to the maddened children who’d forsaken their Trees
for lives of stone and metal in the mountains
or lives spent wresting crops from the ground in the plains.
 
The mad ones told the children that a house of stone
was proof against the nightflyer’s rage;
that if you traveled long and far, there were lands
in which the titan never ate the sun;
the children laughed to hear such tales,
proof of the mad ones’ insanity.
 
But when their crop of fungus failed,
they wept, for they knew the titan’s hunger;
to ensure that the sun would rise once more,
they prepared for him a greater feast,
selecting the youngest of their number.
 
To their dismay, he fled the honor
of being sacrificed to the swollen monster in the sky;
he fled to the mountains before night fell,
and found to his surprise,
more welcome in a house of stone
than he’d ever felt within his Tree.
 
Three hundred cycles of light and dark passed
before he returned to his ancestral Tree,
carrying blades of blackened earthblood
and with stories and truths to tell.
 
But when he arrived, he found that his Tree
of all the forest, stood withered and sere;
the tribes who lived in other branches,
claimed that all those who had dwelled within,
had set upon each other two hundred cycles past;
some had fled to other Trees and other tribes—
the rest had fallen to lie among its roots.
 
He found their skulls and vertebrae
tangled among the lowest vines—
he asked them softly, what had passed,
if the titan had indeed punished them,
if their deaths were, in some way, his fault.
 
The wind soughed in the branches,
but the dead ceded him no answers.
And looking up at the titan above,
he left his ancestral tree once more,
never to return.

illustration is Megalith Grave in Winter by Johan Christian Dahl 1824
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