I have left my body behind
in the earth that hungers for flesh and bone;
flesh of my mother’s keeping, transfigured into an effigy;
bone of my father’s shaping, silent as a stone by the wayside.
Am I now a cold lamp guttering as eventide clothes the mountains?
Am I spirited from my skin and blood to become a dusky shadow
of those mountains my eyes have always seen from a distance?
There is no distance now between I and the mountains, brooding;
between I and the wayside, littered with stones;
between I and the black soil, cold without life’s footfall;
between I and the cavernous hallows where the Sun-God is swallowed.
Now I am swallowed beyond the joys of the earthly banks
where life does not tarry.
I come to the gap in the silent earth
where the fragile body of the Sun-God is swallowed by his starry mother;
the ebony plaits of her hair swinging low as the net of the naked sky.
Her fecund breasts hang down to meet my parched lips;
these wanderers in the darkness with my tongue taking suck,
fed by the luminescence of constellations in her net.
Drink! Drink! These dancing fires say to me.
Fill your mouth with memory,
that you may know where you have been!
But my body has long since departed;
or is it what was within my body that has departed
to become a spectral light wandering?
It is the Sun-God who wanders with me into the Mother’s celestial hallow;
his aged and shaggy body like that of an old ram.
Ba! Ba! Sing the stars in their net as he passes;
glinting as silver, his creaking bones through his skin;
flashing as copper and gold through the dust of the ages, his flesh;
brittle yet vivid to my downturned eyes, his locks of lapis lazuli.
“You have at last found your father”, the Sun-God said to me;
“who is received in the west when twilight comes
to kiss the Two Banks with her starry lips;
and you have found your Mother.
You enter the mouth of your Mother who receives you,
who swallows you whole as she swallows the bodies of memory,
past and present;
who swallows all that is spoken, in the past and what is yet to come;
whose hunger encircles the earth and knows no limits;
whose body is time and whose stars are the future courses
of the earth;
whose constellations unveil the seeds of distant ages;
whose ages are the roots of a great tree where the Sun goes to die.
But he is reborn from the crown of its branches,
which pierce the flank of the Sky and draw forth Her lights.
She is the Sky of the First Beginning, this Mother into whom I descend;
she who gulps down the stars and the swollen moon,
all dancing for her in their orbits around the vault.
She is the Mother who gave me my true and secret name;
the name that contains every memory since time began”.
The Sun-God was swallowed before my very eyes;
naked and bereft of all light, naked of flesh and sensual blood.
I found the crocodile in his place, whose jaws spanning miles
held the quivering light of the moon.
“I swallow the Moon-God when he has grown bloated”,
crocodile said to me;
“when he has grown fat with memory,
and competes with the stars for their light.
I devour innocence as the fresh flowers on the bank;
the wind which comes from the promise of harvest;
the black earth from which green shoots spring;
the pregnant soil of the Two Banks which know the memory of life;
the sycamore whose leaves foretell the future and whose roots
cling to the past;
youth and its seasons of dalliance and pleasure;
experience, which itself is fragile as the shell of an egg.
All of these I devour at will, like I devour the Moon-God
and grow swollen upon his luster”.
To greedy old crocodile I said:
“I shall plant myself in the black mud of my Father’s body,
and during the twilight hours I shall transform into a lotus;
a lotus of the primordial blue of the Ancient Waters,
where are found all the things that endure the ages;
for you are the hunger of age and time,
which are never sated and can never be veiled.
There are nightfall and eclipse which hunger for the sun;
drought and famine which hunger for the earth;
locust and rat which hunger for the corn;
fire and flood which hunger for the verdant fields;
barrenness and impotence which hunger for the generations;
loneliness and despair which hunger for the heart;
and you are death and putrefaction,
which ever hunger for the substance of life and form.
“But I have been given memory from the milk of my Mother;
and I have been given knowledge from the seed of my Father;
these things which are passed down and inherited
within the keep of the Mysteries.
The sky keeps them according to the courses of the stars,
who spell out in their journeys the language in which memory speaks;
and this language is unknown to death and dissolution,
which cannot unveil the uncreated nor devour the formless.
I become that sky-blue lotus clad in the Ancient Waters
before time, age, and form came into being;
thus the Sun-God is conceived in my belly,
and disperses his light to scatter the crocodiles of the abyss”.
Crocodile is eaten by the first golden beams of the eastern sky,
piercing the iron scales of his body like gilded barbs.
What death and extinction fear most is memory;
the intangible language of the ages,
which twitters in the ears of time as do swallows in the eaves by sundown.
Come little swallow, hearty and vociferous,
and give your memory to become the language of my new lips;
to pronounce the secret name of the Sun-God hidden
within the keep of the stars.
What swallow whispers in my wet ears is the conversation
of the abyss which was first heard by the Gods;
that in darkness we find our beginning,
secreted from the life of forms;
forms that dissipate and know time, and age, and death,
as all that becomes form shall know.
But the created shall migrate into the uncreated,
which is light before is passes over into the seen world;
which is seed before it bursts into the green shoots of the field;
which is sound before it is received by the ears;
which is the wind before it stirs the waters;
which is the sky after dusk and before the sun rises;
which is gold, untarnished and not birthed by the hand of man;
which is language before it is written or spoken;
which is thus memory, transferred from form to form to form;
outside time, and age, and death.
Swallow has become a falcon of gold absorbed by the sky,
whose wings now taste the courses stars have traveled.
To become as He I must look to the patterns that dance through my fingers;
illumination that plays upon the earth at our feet,
and above our heads spells out that secret name of the uncreated Sun-God.
With darkness as my womb and light as my guide,
I pass down through my many ages where the uncreated hide.
Reaching far back before the birth of my form,
to recover the pattern of language from which memory is born.
All text copyright © 2016 Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa