Learning to Dance, poem by Carol A. Stephen (Mythic Poetry Series)

quillfyre:

Very pleased to have a poem featured today over on the Silver Birch Press blog. I hope you will drop by and read this and other poems in the series, Mythic Poetry!

Originally posted on Silver Birch Press:

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LEARNING TO DANCE
by Carol A. Stephen

There’s something elemental in the odour of death,
each myth dissected, the way boys dissect frogs,
then wash hands in the pond’s fog. Each remembers
the veined legs, the death-croak, wonders
what to tell mother when she asks
What possessed you?

It’s a boy thing, a tradition, this call down to the river.
Answers mothers have forgotten:
how to balance on a log, counting to thirteen.
Things children know:
The call of the desert, summer wind, dancing silent.
Sacrifice at the oasis, the offering of young bulls.
Their death songs recede into sand, drift into
each mouth, the labour of their last breath.

Children burn through days believing nine religious things.
Whisper secrets. Escape from prayers, their auras
clear and hollow, drawn always to water, to riverbed.
Every child learns to walk at an angle, to memorize
the mysteries of ancestors kept in…

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