Equinox (After Blodeuwedd)

Nobody thinks of balance in the spring.
Even the fair flower-maiden who betrayed the king,
who asked her bright young god to stand just so — one foot
on the lip of the bath, one foot on the back of the goat,
neither inside nor outside, but on the threshold of the porch,
looking out into the rich, wet dusk between night and day —
the only way he could be killed, they say — just to prove
just how difficult it would be, how unlikely — asked him to stand
there naked in the breeze (and how he laughed so sweetly
at her fragility, her feigned concern, as if he knew) while in the secret
dark places of her heart, her lover was hiding, waiting
with the quick, dark, holy spear already in his hand.
Even then, it was not balance she was thinking of,
weighing duty against desire, passion against love,
the freedom of power against the freedom of joy — No,
it was only the rough hands of her lover pushing her soft body
into the soil, the tawdry mess of springtime thrumming
through her, every pulse of blood a petal, parting lips and parting
hips in welcome and the tangle of limbs like branches breaking
into bloom — it was her coming home again to herself,
the ninefold elements that made her with their noisy dance
of making, in which there is no privileged, pregnant pause
from which to say, “This moment, this breath: center here, and stay.”
Nobody thinks of balance in the spring.
Even the god-king with his half-bright body wholly open
and exposed to the whipping winds of March, who laughed
so sweetly that his innocence itself became a shield
to guard his heart, even as he stood before the howling
spear approaching, and thought, Yes, this is good,
there can only be so much life that we can bear.

[Alison Leigh Lilly dwells in the lovely, rain-drizzled cityscape of Seattle, where she shares her home with her brilliant and bearded husband, her black cat, two pet frogs, and innumerable cedar trees. Nurturing the earth-rooted, sea-soaked, mist-and-mystic spiritual heritage of her Celtic ancestors, she explores themes of peace, poesis and wilderness through essays, poetry and podcasting. You can learn more about her work on her website at: alisonleighlilly.com.]