|"Under a Full Moon"
|James Gielfeldt - 2008
Martin Willitts, Jr.
Three Ages of the Woman and the Death
A painting by Hans Baldung Grien – 1510
1. The Painting
Death begins before it ends.
Death is rocking our
cradle of bones
whispering lullabies of loss
and bereavement is our uncomfortable skin.
Death ends before it
begins. It watches us
like a nursemaid. It is the comfort of restless sleep.
There is always the presence of death
even when it leaves us unattended.
Who watches in horror as they grow older?
Certainly not the small child riding
unaware his horse is pestilence?
who will wage a razing of crops until nothing is left.
will teach the child the folly of war-play?
Certainly not the vain woman in love with her
own beauty, also unaware
that wars will be in her honor
and a man waits impatiently to ravage her.
Who will remind the young that beauty
Certainly not the old woman, ignored for crone features,
mocked by youth; her warnings fall on deaf ears
inside she is brittle as wind and lost opportunities.
2. The Alchemy
I am a
Capricorn whose birthstone is Garnet.
This is the stone of blood. Let me finger this
and your blood clot will disappear
I can use the blood-red Almandine from Brazil
or brilliant-sunstone Hessonite from Sri Lanka
I can cure a violent cut with my touch.
I am truly this powerful, carrying this ring with me.
My mystic January
birthstone is Emerald, green as Gaia,
to improve memory so we do not forget to enjoy
before we get old; it makes
people more intelligent,
which never works on leaders; and encourages clairvoyance
which allows me to avoid those who
do not listen.
I can cure children of epilepsy which made others think
they were insane and demon-processed, locking
so now I am freeing them. This is true alchemy.
With emerald, I could cure diseases of the eye
I cannot make people see the truth.
There are too many blind people who do not know it.
My center from the emerald
is the ability to cast love.
This is what Cleopatra wore for Caesar in her navel.
This is what my eyes glow when I perform
Emerald is my mystical power. My talisman is Onyx.
Let me share my secret of deep-healing. This stone
in my amulet bag. With this I cure diseases of heart and kidney.
I once massaged a human heart in my hand until it
Onyx can release tension and repair disorders of the brain.
I have halted breakdowns, and put people to sleep
Onyx is my deepness against apathy, but my magic does not work
on disbelievers who are more numerous
than hairs on my arm.
I should shape-shift to enter where I am not wanted.
From ancient Assyrians, my bag carries
which may have been grounded into blue powder
for Da Vinci, blue as the tongues of flame for swords.
increases my ability, has the words I hear.
It turns my mind over like rune stones.
I can grow elk horns and spring
into the night sky.
On my back I carry the three ages of Woman from Death.
He is chasing me feverously — into
the ages of stones,
into the darkness that becomes light, and beyond.
had a heart-to-heart with Death. He admitted
he did not like me very much. All that healing
and everything. I admitted
the feeling was mutual.
A child offered Death the apple of life with one bite — gone.
The young woman offered
her pear-shaped breast
with its dripping milk-of-love that he could thirst for.
The old woman offered him companionship
for only she knew the secrets of love and death;
only she could offer what he truly needed.
It was her talisman.
It was an emerald in her skin;
the unspoken forgiveness freely given;
the smoke that rises with a phoenix from ashes.