Friday, February 19, 2016

February 19 -- Patricia Wellingham-Jones

Mongolian Art Exhibit  

“whatever holds value may be divine…”

My eye pulls my feet
through artifacts gathered
from thousands of years ago.

I gaze at the human skull—
silver-lined, translucent
brown thin-ness. I ponder core stones
flaked for hunting and tools.

Hear the primordial sound
of the cosmos hum in my ear. Om
resonates in the crevices of my brain.

In vain I look for pictures of a people
who still traverse wind-laden steppes,
live out their nomad lives
in gray wool-felt shelters, take pride
in fleet and sturdy horses.

I turn a corner, stunned now by faces
on the wall—masks of deities, shamans,
in papier-mâché, carved wood, stuffed skin.
Black brows pull down over glaring eyes,
red mouths stretch in snarls or gentle smiles.

I draw near the image of the Heart Shaman,
likened to great poets of all the ages,
born only once each one hundred years.

The face I dream about
is a very old woman, the essence of sorrow.
Forehead furrowed, eyes close to weeping,
her ear-lobes hang past her shoulders,
corners of the full mouth droop
to her chin—the Brain Shaman. She can see
into the next thousand years.

Published in Ink & Ashes, 2005