Sheela of the sacred shenanigans
She's at the front door flashing her genius,
riding a fox bareback like it’s a Harley Davidson.
It’s dark but I swear I’m not seeing things,
the fox's ear is her ‘yoni’ with furry sides and a satin centre
topped off by a Michaelmas daisy.
She's wearing a Mexican Day of the Dead headdress
Frieda Kahlo would be proud of.
It’s made of Neolithic stiff white nudes,
butterflies, silver cobwebs and roses.
She's just a wee skelp of mischief
not much bigger than a shoreline boulder
but I can smell mountain on her.
The bluebird of happiness is sitting on her shoulder
whispering who knows what sweetnesses.
She wants me to go with her.
I want to go back in to the t.v. and fire
but she is gateway, journeyer, holy and profane
champion of women and girls,
the land of the moon, the Quest,
feisty vulgaris Queen.
She hops down from her fox,
she wants us to woad our brows.
I grimace, she smiles, I can hear bells ringing
for the canonical hour of matins, the night watch.
I see in my mind's eye a group of women
like a sedge of herons
just back from their solitary stations in the misty Fens.
They are sweeping across the courtyard
tucking feathers out of sight.
The hems of their cloaks are getting wet
in the puddles filled with stars.
The darkness is electrified by their collective purpose
to swaddle the most silent part of night
with their numinous chant.
I want to shut the door
finish off the bumper pack of fig rolls
I’ve been saving until everyone is out.
But its 'once in a blue moon’ night
I've been thinking it all day like a mantra,
whispering it as a spell
for something out of the ordinary to happen.
She shows me the inside of her pouch
not that one !
It's full of tiny mushrooms
with nipples on the end of their caps.
Like a miniature Shaman
she pulls out a flask of reindeer wee infused with fly agaric,
I’m to bring the carbs.
Sheela na gig, holy and profane,
bawdy, raucous, feisty hag, celebration and continuation
of ancient knowing,
champion of women and girls,
making her come back precious vulgaris Queen.
She jumps back onto her fox
whose eyes belong to the ancestors
and motions me to join her.
We travel the hedgerows and wet black roads,
follow yellow birch leaves like a trail of confetti
magic in the moonlight
we see a badger bringing out her bedding to dry,
a heron heading home with a Salmon dangling from its mouth.
We see the Northern Lights and shooting stars.
Once in a blue moon, once in a blue moon
we weave through the night.
I think I know her plan
but when we get to the graveyard gates
she keeps on.
We arrive at last well beyond the town,
the fox is panting, I'm as pale as a wake,
Sheela is deep earth singing,
her headdress as immaculate as it was at the start.
I should have known she'd bring us here
Cairn Holy, our answer to a burial mound
quite close to a farmhouse
thankfully their lights are out.
The moon has gone behind black clouds.
I look into the mouth of the mound.
It's a death mask
the threshold of winter's depth.
Without taking another step
I know where this is going-
whatever journey I make from light to dark
or dark to light
I come back to the same place
my life longs for always
intimacy with the beloved, the ineffable
who is our permanence.