Sometimes a Wild God

7 Jun

bearThe poem “Sometimes a Wild God” by Coyopa, which was printed in the Lughnasadh 2012 issue of the Earth First! Journal, speaks to the terror, beauty and divinity of the wild, in a tale of an early morning visit by a bear.

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Sometimes a wild god comes to the table.
He is awkward and does not know the ways
Of porcelain, of fork and mustard and silver.
His voice turns wine into vinegar.

When he arrives at the door,
You will probably fear him.
He reminds you of something dark
That you might have dreamt,
Or the secret you do not wish to be shared.

He will not ring the doorbell;
Instead he scrapes at the door
With his bloody hands,
Though there are primroses
Growing about his feet.

You do not want to let him in.
You are very busy.
It is late, or early, and besides…
You cannot look at him straight
Because he makes you want to cry.

The dog barks.
The wild god smiles,
Holds out his hand.
The dog licks his wounds
And leads him inside.

The wild god stands in your kitchen.
Ivy is taking over your sideboard;
Mistletoe has moved into the lampshades
And wrens are beginning to sing
An ancient song in the mouth of your kettle.

‘I haven’t much,’ you say
And give him the worst of your food.
He sits at the table, bleeding.
He coughs up foxes.
There are moles in his eyes.

When your wife calls down,
You close the door and
Tell her it’s fine.
You will not let her see
The strange guest at your table.

The wild god asks for whiskey
And you pour a glass for him,
Then a glass for yourself.
Three snakes are beginning to nest
In your voicebox. You cough.

Oh, limitless space.
Oh, eternal mystery.
Oh, endless cycles of death and birth.
Oh, miracle of life.
Oh, the wondrous dance of it all.

You cough again,
Evict the snakes and
Water down the whiskey,
Wondering how you got so old
And where it all went to.

The wild god reaches into a bag
Made of otters and red nightingales.
He pulls out a two-reeded pipe,
Raises an eyebrow
And all the birds begin to sing.

The fox leaps into your eyes.
The moles rush from the darkness.
The snakes pour through your body.
Your dog howls and upstairs
Your wife both exhalts and weeps at once.

The wild god dances with your dog.
You dance with the sparrows.
A white stag pulls up a stool
And bellows hymns to old enchantments.
A pelican leaps from chair to chair.

In the distance, warriors pour from their tombs.
Ancient gold grows like grass in the fields.
Everyone dreams the words to long-forgotten songs.
The hills echo and the great grey stones ring
With laughter and madness and the pain and joy of living.

In the middle of the dance,
The house takes off from the ground.
Clouds climb through the windows;
Lightning pounds his fists on the table.
The moon leans in through the window, smiling.

The wild god points to your side.
You are bleeding heavily.
You have been bleeding for a long time,
Possibly since you were born.
There is a bear in the wound.

‘Why did you leave me to die?’
Asks the wild god and you say:
‘I was busy surviving.
The shops were all closed;
I didn’t know how. I’m sorry.’

Listen to them:

The fox in your neck and
The snakes in your arms and
The wren and the sparrow and the deer…
The great un-nameable beasts
In your liver and your kidneys and your heart…

There is a symphony of howling.
A cacophony of dissent.
The wild god nods his head and
You wake on the floor holding a knife,
A bottle and a handful of black fur.

Your dog is asleep on the table.
Your wife is stirring, far above.
Your cheeks are wet with tears;
Your mouth aches from laughter or shouting.
A black bear is sitting by the fire.

Sometimes a wild god comes to the table.
He is awkward and does not know the ways
Of porcelain, of fork and mustard and silver.
His voice turns wine into vinegar
And death to life in return.

6 Responses to “Sometimes a Wild God”

  1. F. Elaine Anderson June 7, 2013 at 2:34 pm #

    Thanks, Coyopa. Moved me to tears…

    • Coyopa June 7, 2013 at 3:01 pm #

      My pleasure, F.

      • Dominic Vine June 7, 2013 at 11:13 pm #

        F’in Beautiful! Love to you and all who’s eyes light upon your words!

  2. Earth First! Journal Sonoran Office June 7, 2013 at 5:13 pm #

    One of my most favorite poems to read aloud in the woods.

  3. Coyopa June 8, 2013 at 11:08 am #

    Thanks all – proud to be associated with EF! through this piece.

  4. pj June 8, 2013 at 3:48 pm #

    A beautiful and moving poem…

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