Dancing with the Gods
Once on a large ship, somewhere
between England and Ireland,
I was lifted, out of the blue, by a god—
not the father, nor his son, the one symbolized by a fish
but by one of the ancient ones, crowned
with the vigorous vine, a friend to women,
a lover of wine and song who picked me
up in a sudden gale, carried me aloft,
then dropped me (or did he lose me
like a storm that ran its course?)
in a valley along the Pacific coast.
It was a hard fall. Bruised all over,
I forswore him and his mad’ning swings, found
succor at the shrine of his genteel brother
whose lyre music and reasoned views
helped me heal, restart my life. All of which
I hold in high esteem. Still, temple work
(the mountain air so clear, so rarefied) turned
into another fantastic flight. This time I rode
a magic carpet, laughing as if
I were one of the boys. Such fun
never lasts. Another harsh landing.
Now what? Listen: faint notes—
A summons? From this grove above the glen?
Such reedy sounds! Are these
eyes glowing in the dark, a beard—a cloven hoof?
I heard of him: Earthbound, hairy, wild,
furtive as a deer, rutty as a goat.
He is rustic at best. Still, he offers
his own kind of revels. He hides,
yet, wants to be seen. He knows,
oh, he knows: how I long to be
swept off my feet again, blown
away, reeled into another high-flown jig.
I sway, reed-like, between desire
and distrust. Can I rise above
his rough hide, his ill repute,
do I dare to dance with him—
this third, this most unseemly, this ancient
of the ancient gods? Who doesn’t mind
his shape, who loves his flesh! Is unabashed.
In my sunset years, it’s him who with his chimes
charms me into a different pas de deux: he twirls me,
releases me, then pulls me back into his arms
to raise me high above his head. And always, always
lets me gently down. Thus, we romp around the central fire.
Brigitte Goetze lives in Western Oregon. A retired biologist and angora goat farmer, she now divides her time between writing and fiber work; in either case she spins her own yarns. Links to recent publications can be found at: brigittegoetzewriter.com.