Bring Me the Red Cloth

Bring Me the Red Cloth (2)

Where my feet have traveled leaves the dust upon them;
those mountains yonder, over whose peaks the spirits hover,
between whose amber towers the swallows make pilgrimage.
I hear their animated conversation beneath the wind’s howl,
who weaves his forecast for the wings of hawks and sparrows.
They have come the way I have come, though I on feet and they on air;
we tread the roads above and below, our end the same in time’s keeping.

But I require a body of spirit when that of flesh has tired;
I know my blood and I know my bones, taken by the desert hallows.
Tears and cornflowers have given my toes ornaments of the sky;
shall I now drift on forget-me-nots, or take the wings of poppies?
I would rather have the lotus with me when dusk closes his inevitable hand.

Bring me a torch to brighten my way, and tell dusk to flee like a shadow.
There are sunbeams in my hand through which the morning is born;
let me be one of those blinking lances piercing the flank of the veil;
to know my mother’s thighs of heaven and shine with the face of her sun.

Bring me sandals for my pilgrim’s feet, and tell the Gods to open a road.
There are the doors of the sky through which birds ascend;
let me be a swallow of red breast and red cowl, of lapis wing and foot;
to grapple the sky and proclaim the clouds as my call opens wide the doors.

Bring me a scepter of fine gold for my hand, and tell the sky to obey me.
There are the clouds and their rains before me, the offerings of the vault;
let me be a hawk of gilded form and feather, of striking light above the surface;
to appear through the rivers of the sky as master of all the waters know.

Bring me horizon’s eyes for my brow, and tell the dawn to behold me.
There is the east and there is the west, whose doors know spirit’s wings;
let me be a falcon of divine luminescence, of wholesome sight and knowledge;
to foresee the morning after night’s bleary fall where vision becomes my apex.

Bring me a mount of electrum for my perch, and tell the abyss to retreat.
There are dark waters where eternity dwells, a sea of beginning’s making;
let me be a heron of dazzling white crest, of shimmering eye and bill;
to awaken the eye of horizon’s becoming in east where I am sired.

Bring me a rudder for my boat of the sky, and tell the waters to fear me.
There is the north and there is the south, of wind and water rushing;
let me be a holy crocodile, of malachite jaw and carnelian stare;
to cut through the depths of untamed floods where stealth and speed become me.

Bring me the breath of the Sun-God, and tell darkness he has his master.
There is the beginning and there is the end, an ocean without horizon;
let me be that lotus of celestial view, of fiery crown and center;
to break the surface with my copper mirror as first light’s face appears.

Bring me the red cloth of my beginning, and tell my mother to bear me.
There is seed and there is a womb, a father and mother within me;
let me be that child in his trappings, an image of eternal design;
to knit together my flesh and my bones as spirit meets its makers.

I require a new beginning once my end has found me;
I know my slumber and my blindness, when land becomes my lover.
Shroud and coffin have given my loins ornaments of the soil;
shall I now be still with the willow, or have sycamore boughs as my cradle?
I would rather have the lotus with me when earth takes me in hand.

Where my feet have traveled leaves the stars upon them;
those constellations yonder, in whose spheres the spirits glimmer,
in whose wake I circumnavigate the sky.
I behold their untiring dance in the north, where souls on wings ascend;
their passage from the ground below makes death a stellar path.
They have come the way I have come, though I on feet and they on air;
we tread the roads above and below, our end the same in time’s keeping.

All text copyright © 2016 Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa

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