Sacred Verses (35): What Do You Hear / I Hear the Gods

What Do You Hear

What do you hear in that hour they call twilight;
stars that have overcome the horizon
with cloaks of blue and gold,
who in their luminescent hands hold
the departed spirits of the earth below;
they reach your ears with messages from the sky,
opening the doors we enter when we die;
they have for ears and eyes the patterns
of souls rising for the dance,
beheld by the earth in silent awe.

I hear the Gods who weave their twilight home;
the gold that beckons eyes to horizon’s fire,
her breast pointed high to clasp spirit’s wings;
they who reach the crimson-painted clouds,
before the darkness finds them
to blanket their ascent.
These mysteries show their colors to my eyes,
as I watch for the spirits who come to claim the skies.

What do you hear when the sycamore sways;
the past who in his fingers holds
the lovers who have scratched their names
on your breast of gold;
with a silver mirror to dress your eyes,
and a shadow of copper where your spirit flies.
He is a past of gilded fabric,
whose shimmer rekindles yesterday in his garden;
of trees that count your forgotten years,
when dusky soil has taken your flesh and tears.

I hear the Gods who have woven the earth;
by their hands of gold and brow of stars,
who came before the green beneath us grew;
with their language of sparrow and morning star,
upon whose breezes the waters of beginning stirred.
I find in the mountains the stone and metals of their tongue,
speaking clear to the coming dawn;
she parts her veil for the arousal of those peaks,
whose lips seek a turquoise embrace
from that mouth into which he speaks.

What do you hear when the cornflower opens;
the thread of life calling from the mantle of the dead,
where flesh and bone are buried
with a wreath upon his head;
your lover called youth and time,
endless it seems by dawn;
standing green with spring’s fair blooms,
until by dusk they are gone.
I knew him to be a swallow on the air
who carried me to pasture, to orchard and home;
this wreath of sky-blue flowers on my brow,
whose beauty like daybreak was destined to roam.

I hear the Gods as they dance in their orchards;
trees of myrrh who commune with the acacia,
of ancient leaves and boughs;
they break open the sky with their ageless stories,
with fruit that speaks a stellar tongue.
This language is the memory of many
before the one came;
she tells the fruit of legions
before his jealous claim.
I read with open eyes and hear with open ears
the music of the sky that reckons
the memory of myriad years.

What do you hear when your soul flies;
your wings calling the winds their home,
above the place where mountains open their peaks;
where he catches the gaze of the west as it sees,
as the voice of the vault clearly speaks.
Is this where you find your flesh and your bones,
renewed in a western shrine;
where before you have gone the dreams of living men,
taken as lovers by time.
This place where go the feet of dreams
with lovers on his brow,
we call the thighs of sacred death
before whom our dreams bow.

I hear the Gods in their shrine called memory,
from whose breast the ancient tongues are nourished;
with their skies and trees and myriad fields
traversed by the wings of their stellar spirits.
This is where we go when the hour called twilight ripens,
when she reaches out her hand
to take back the dust of her ages.

This is where I go when my flesh tires of bone;
and these are the Gods who meet me with gold
when the dusky veil opens to welcome me home.
I hear with open ears and see with open eyes
the chanting of the fields where death’s mantle unravels;
I hear with open ears and see with open eyes
the courses of many that govern life’s travels,
by whose hands the earth meets the skies.

All text copyright © 2016 Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa

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Sacred Verses (33): I Walk With Spirits

I Walk With Spirits

I walk with the desert;
he is the red land of my sorrow and regret,
clinging to my feet as the sand of ages past;
he stretches out not as a lover,
but as a debtor demanding recompense.
My sky takes me by the hand in the face of those sands,
and on the distant horizon I behold the mirror of water;
she is the mother of my new life, waiting;
so I have come back to the place where my feet began.

I walk with the trees,
remembering the yew of my boyhood,
whose words of the future heralded my past;
to be reborn through memory would be my mountain to climb.
He has boughs of yesterday and leaves of tomorrow,
my yew who keeps our past and remembers our future;
older than the vault of the sky, his prophecies hold our beginning.
Through him I recall the breath of myrrh, the Sacred Ones who travel;
they are the Gods who offered me my lungs, who gave me the Ancestral breath.
He is the father of my new memory, enduring;
so I have come back to the place where my history began.

I walk with the river;
she rushes over my feet to find me my spirit,
who travels along the watery road where life and death mingle.
Has she swallowed the crocodiles that wait in the darkness,
my pains of sharp teeth who surface to remind me;
or has she drowned them, those sorrows of impenetrable scales,
my boyhood and wayward youth who hunger to surface.
But I will not find them, not in the shallows where the lotus rises;
he pushes up his face from the mud to drink the golden light.
This is what spirits do when they find darkness,
and this is what my spirit becomes when first light catches his eyes.
He is the lotus that came from my beginning, opening;
so I have come back to where my spirit began.

I walk with my body,
who carries the scars of my mother and father upon him;
for we all wear our history like clothes,
putting some on with relish and discarding others;
how my wardrobe has ransomed my heart for their promises.
I had the scarf of youth and the boots of pleasure,
now worn out like my hands, who carry my heart in thin fingers.
I will not now count the brilliant fabrics I possessed,
now that my body moves sky-clad beneath a mantle of stars;
for this is where I came from, and where you who read me were born.
My stars take me by the fingers and lead me to sky’s shelter;
she is the lapis womb whose waters receive me, swimming;
so I have come back to where my flesh began.

I walk with my lovers;
they give me their manhood and mine, their skin and consolation.
I have had them by moonlight, where my lips taste ivory beams;
I have had them by daybreak, where the sun strikes naked thighs with gold.
I have heard the promises of sages warning of the flesh;
where are their bones now?
I have listened to the sacral threats of ages;
have their fears ever shown us how?
Now I take you with me, all you lovers from my bed;
in memory you live again, on lips and breath and kisses.
You have taught me how precious a gift life is;
shorter than twilight, and sweeter than vain promises or threats.
You are the thighs my spirit enters, renewing;
so I have come back to where my heart began.

I walk with my heart,
gleaming even after nightfall as a stone of sanguine carnelian;
he holds the sun between his lips even after sundown.
He has been lost in a bramble where my hopes found him,
as all hearts are found even when shade takes them.
Shade, you are a gale in the hands of time,
but you make the heart endure with its fragile light;
it is light that bends like a sapling, yet withstands the gale of experience.
Now I imbibe the wind at my back, tasting what life has given me;
and it is still life as it pours from one vessel to another.
He is the container of the sun in which I set, rising;
so I have come back to where my light began.

I walk with swallows,
those little birds of great flight who soar over seas;
their untiring wings find me wherever I wander.
Give me your cloaks of lapis lazuli, your hood of blood red;
and give me your morning call to summon the potent sun.
Yours is the language of time’s beginning where men are made;
yours is sight of sunbeams upheld by wings of shade.
I open my body to let my spirit fly with you;
and this is where we all travel once our skins are shed.
You are the voices of earth that mingle with heaven, flying;
so I have come back to where my speech began.

I walk with the dead;
they came before me with the rising sun,
and they departed when the song of eventide ended.
They are my mothers and my fathers, my conscience and memory;
I remember we came from many, no matter how the one howls.
It is the Ancestors who keep me in the language of their names;
their names are the warp and weft from which our future weaves.
I make my heart a libation from which my past drinks,
while my future is a stream of memories pouring from history’s bones.
I open my memory to let my body become you;
and this is where we multiply once we set our memory free.
You are the ages past from where I hail, living;
so I have come back to where my future began.

I walk with spirits,
who pass through the doors of flesh and bone,
who know where the earth meets the sky;
they know the caverns in the ever-standing mountains,
the portals of imperishable stars flashing.
Their river is a road in the nether sky, where wings of sparrows tread;
they make of the earth a memory, and from sky they make a bed.
How soft their whisper in half-forgotten words, I hear with open heart;
how our past comes calling when our spirit makes a start.
My shadow takes my fingers and leads me to a door;
the earth becomes my lintel as the sky becomes my floor.
You are the memory of me time keeps, returning;
so I have come back to where my travels began.

I walk with the Gods;
they came before us with the rising waters,
and they have never departed, even as our memory faded.
They are our mothers and fathers, our beginning and our end;
and I remember we came from many, no matter how the one howls.
You found me when I was naked on the other shore;
your doors in the sky you opened, where my feet of the earth could drink.
The desert of my memory becomes a field of turquoise,
where the sycamore and tamarisk hold the florid sky.
I am the memory of leaves and branches glistening in the green;
now the sparrows find me as a home for the weary vault.
Come Gods, you stellar wings of earth and sky;
lift up my bones of memory where stars make bright their doors.
I open up my body to let my memory become you;
and this is where immortality finds us once we set our memory free.
You are creation’s waters where spirits hail, ascending;
so I have come back to where my soul began.

All text copyright © 2016 Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa

The Gods Sail With Me / Where Sky Becomes My Mother

Where Sky Becomes My Mother

I have remembered those waters of my first beginning,
sheltering the banks on either side where I travel;
before my mother, before my father, before my earth and sky,
this deluge from which the holy mound rose on the first day.
Darkness, shade, and the snares of nightfall cannot know me,
nor can my scent reach their ravenous nostrils;
they who know time, flesh, and the bones of living men,
who seek the company of earthbound spirits to bring them down.
But the Gods sail with me when I take to the celestial waterway,
their luminescence reaching out with hallowed arms before me;
no shade can stride farther than their reach of electrum brilliance.

I am in the entourage of that dazzling heron of the first dawn,
whose plumage bespeaks the light rays of the sun,
his bill of pure gold fresh with the perfume of the lotus.
His enchantments sail with me and upon my strong arms;
like those of a god of the First Occasion, whose voice recalls the sacred flood,
my words of power pierce the cloud banks and are heard by all spirits.
Great Heron is my name when I sail the nether waterways,
when my silver-white crest is read from a distance of millions of strides;
and the spirits say of me:

“Behold!  There is one who comes among us with the torch of a god;
his savor is essence of lotus, and his plume is the crest of the sacred heron.
His beaming face is the disk of the Sun-God,
whose electrum mirror knows the uppermost sky.
See how the shades and twilight spirits flee before his feet of sharp malachite,
which have traversed the hallows where Ra the great Ram-Soul is reborn.
Smell his essence of myrrh which goes before him,
predicting his rising from the corpse of the silent earth;
but silence does not become him,
and his tongue rends the sky with divine language.
The Gods sail with him when he takes to the celestial waterway”.

My words are the memory of that First Occasion which came before men,
rippling out across the opaque waters of our beginning.
Having heard the swallows in their primordial sky,
I repeated to my heart what the Sun-God spoke when he first opened his eyes:
I summon the body of the sky from the nether waters;
the sky is my mother who shall give me birth from her body of fine gold.
I summon my light-body from her belly to burn as one of the Imperishable Stars;
she is my mantle, and I am the flame that burns for her by day.
I summon my bones as a ladder reaching up to the arms of my starry mother;
she stretches out her arms of gold for me and takes me to her breast.
I summon my hair of lapis lazuli to glint upon her shoulders by night;
she takes my shining locks to her brow as sovereign of the upper regions.
I summon the silver crescent of twilight to embrace her holy thigh;
my mother of the sky receives her eventide mantle as light of horizons.
I summon the golden net of nightfall in which flicker the souls of stars;
her breasts and thighs glisten in her veil upon which the Gods reign.
I summon my two eyes from the cover of the shady waters;
she hallows my right eye as daylight and my left eye as evening’s guide.
I summon my nostrils as the essence of that first lotus upon the flood;
she takes my breath as her voice by which the repeating dawn is heralded.
I summon my two lips in darkness and open my mouth to the waters;
she opens her dappled thighs and fills the void with her waters of the nether sky.
I summon my two ears by the east and west-facing mountains;
she breaks open her horizons at the thundering voice of my light-body.
I summon the day and the night as the two horizons of my travels;
she swallows me at dusk to give me birth on the first morning of the sky.

These are the enchantments I heard from the swallows
when the first morning clothed the naked sky with his ruddy mantle;
my eyes peering out over the celestial waterway to receive its turquoise glare,
I beheld the mound of the earth ascending from the pristine flood.
Who held back the torrent for my ship to pass when the waters surged?
The Gods sailed with me in their breath of magical power,
coming forth by daylight as the language of the Sun-God’s names;
they hold his forms and his tongues in secret,
known only to the swallows who ascend with his unceasing rays.

Great and elder sun I call out your names
when water travels fast over the banks of my earth,
when come the floods of shadow that rend boats from their moorings.
I have remembered your language from which the Unwearying Stars rose;
their lights are my lights, and their rising is my rising in the florid sky.
O banks of the earth who hold corpses fast in their trappings,
you cannot hold me in your time or your decay,
for the Gods sail with me when I go forth by day into the nether waters;
they take me round the great mooring post in heaven,
where the indestructible stars shine with the fire of my names.

Darkness, shade, and shadows cannot find me where I glimmer,
nor the snares of water catch my lotus essence where it glides.
They who know only shade will never see me as I pass,
for the light I bear turns eyes away that cannot know their beginning.
The Gods sail with me when I take to the celestial waterway,
when these eyes of mine take to the horizons where sky becomes my mother.

All text copyright © 2016 Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa

Sacred Verses (24): Where the Sun Finds His Sanctuary

Where the Sun Finds His Sanctuary

I depart from the doorways of this world
without consolation of the things I have known.
A stranger in my own flesh; do I own my flesh?
A stranger beneath the sky; am I beneath my sky?
A stranger to the breath in my lungs; is there breath in my lungs?
A stranger to the beating of my heart; is that the beating of my heart;
or am I now a corpse in that place they call the hallowed west,
where the Sun-God comes in his old age to meet the mouth of His Mother?

Mother, I remember your body from before the day I was born.
It was your lake I swam in, nourished by the flood of my beginning.
What you passed to me was the wet breath of my mortality,
the language of clinging to my body of the earth before I knew earth;
but I knew my fingers, my toes, my mouth, and my beating heart.
It was your heart I heard in my flooded ears; swimming in the drum
through nine moons beating.

Mother, I remember the taste of your milk in my mouth,
your breasts of the sky feeding my lips constellations;
how the Unwearying Stars traverse the roof of my mouth,
as they traverse the sky from dawn until dusk.
It was your milk that gave me the stars of the midnight hour;
these passing down to me the memory of our first beginning
when we traveled the canals of the waters above.

Mother, you are my waters and you are my flood;
carry me in your breast and between your golden thighs.
Mother, you are the secret cavern where I will be reborn;
call me to your cleft of the Gods where I will become a god.
Mother, yours is the mouth in which the sun is swallowed;
take me in your lips of sunset where I will shine as nether sky’s mirror.

Mistress of the Sky, Mansion of Heaven, the Lady of Gold
whose starry belly reckons the years of gods and men;
I cannot be a stranger when I come to your dusky flank,
for my face glitters in the shadows like the Sun-God’s reflection;
I being the child of your sky, the seed of your holy cavern,
the very memory of your celestial form.

When I go in by night I shine as one of those Imperishable Stars;
your body my ladder and your hands my enchantments;
but when I come out, I go forth by day as the light of the eastern horizon;
your flood my beginning and your birth pangs my heart’s revival.
O Mother, be the sky stretched above my brow of gold,
and let your two arms clear a passage for me through the waters on high!
Shout for me, lift me up on the curve of your glittering thighs of metal,
and pronounce my name as a sacred star to dazzle on your horizon.

House of the Gods, Residence of the Hawk, Sanctuary of the Sun
in which the bodies of the living Gods are fashioned forever;
you cannot remain a secret from my two eyes when they find you,
for my eyes are the mirrors of the sky birthed from your keep;
my right eye opened by day as the sovereign of the turquoise east;
my left eye opened by night as the sovereign of the lapis west.
It is my eyes that know gold and master lapis lazuli,
and my body that sprouts turquoise as the beams of the afternoon sun.

Gods of the western horizon, hear my footsteps and remember my form,
born from the same Mother who gave you birth;
my body spreading the savor of the nether sky before me;
the sheen of my skin inherited from the flesh of the Sun-God;
the iridescence of my flank being that of the sacred beetle;
my loins possessing the flood that came forth from the beginning;
carrying between my thighs the Mound where the Great Ba-Soul rose;
my brow being the vertex of the Lord to the Limits;
the crown of my head being the horizon of the Cobra-Goddess;
and all of these forms of mine being the very members of the Gods.

I enter the doorways of the west in the company of the stars,
going before me to proclaim my names to the eternal sky;
and I too am eternal in the body of the heavens where I am born.
This is my breath you hear, O Gods;
it expands the lungs of the Cobra-Goddess!
This is my heart that beats, O Gods;
it rends the horizons of the vault at my forthcoming!
These are my eyes you see, O Gods;
they open up the east and the west with their wholesome gaze!
These are my nostrils you inhale, O Gods;
they approach with the northern wind as their gale!
These are my two lips that speak, O Gods;
their language fills your ears as the Sun-God’s command!
These are my powers you recognize, O Gods;
they precede me in the darkness of the nether vault,
becoming my entourage when I cross the threshold of the hallowed west!

You know my whisper, my breath, and the beating of my heart;
you feel my fingers, my toes, and the skin I had from my Mother;
for she is your Mother, too, and her skin is upon your very bones this day!

I depart from the doorways of this world
carrying the consolation of things known only to the Gods.
A master of my own flesh; my flesh is the language of the hallowed.
A master above the sky; my sky is the sanctuary of the sun.
A master of the breath in my lungs; my breath contains the words of deities.
A master of the beating of my heart; my heartbeat sounds the memory
of the Gods from the ancient beginning;
for I am I now a body of radiant light in that place they call the hallowed west,
where the Sun-God comes in his old age to meet the mouth of His Mother.

All text copyright © 2016 Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa