Thy Kingdom Come - Flight of the Raven
Flight of the Raven
He knew he must decide
between feather and flesh
the price of transformation
being nothing less
than full renunciation
of his tattered, old life.
To regain our innocence
we must surrender
our cherished degree
all intimate familiarity
with those wily
spirits of destruction.
In our defense against the howling
seductive entreaties of the night
we might clutch youth’s mascots
and all our love, fiercely,
against our trembling chest.
Wings are needed not only to fly,
but to keep our balance
Wisdom is becoming
innocent, once more
To innocence, all things are permitted…
We can still become who we were.
In another life, we flew together,
sheltered in the boughs
of ancient bristlecones, rich with seed.
Our voices rose, loud and raucous.
But that was almost beyond memory.
From the ground, I watch the flocks
assemble on the wires, the stunted eucalyptus.
They call to one another
in a tongue I no longer understand.
Seeker of bright things, there is only
one way back to harmony.
With you at my back, like a quiver,
I become a corvid angel, hunting nothing
but the sense of flight,
intimate with clouds and wind.
My human bones are clumsy,
far too heavy for this feat, yet I rise
unencumbered on borrowed wings,
adept in ways forgotten long ago.
The Forest of Heaven
I carry the raven up the hill with my sister
to the edge of The Forest of Heaven. I carry it
strapped to my back, to where I commit
the memory of flight to dream. I once crossed
the sky and saw the village where they still make
paper wings by hand. They still bake their
bread with blood and the little girls must
carry their knives ready to flay the giant hare.
My sister thinks the village is magic, but she
is still carrying the raven with me to the edge
of The Forest of Heaven, past the river where
the miller lives with his wives. If we don’t keep
moving, we are told we will end up as
one of them. We don’t bring water. We look for
springs along the way. We build a fire
only if we can start it with a fallen nest we’ve
found. The song we sing at the end of the day
asks the spirit of The Forest of Heaven for
guidance. It asks if we were not animals
yesterday, if we still linger in them today
when we must travel to the old brick cistern
built by gnomes and giants working together
for once. Their solidarity is rare, but it is
legend. My sister and I must be careful
not to let each other rest our ravens on
the hillock of the damned. From there
it is three days more until we reach
The Forest of Heaven. When we have
reached it, we will have done service
to our clan and we may begin our long
sad journey back to being human
where every day that we are alive
we must be fully reminded
of everything’s presence.