Monday, May 29, 2017

Sestina for the Hanged Man, ‘Mo Better Buddy

I’ve had a few requests for some Buddy updates, so I’m going to try to get a mid-week Buddy “newsletter” out at some point over the next few days. (Sneak Preview: dead rats and butcher paper.) Until then, here is a sestina I wrote about the Hanged Man, one of the major arcana cards in the Tarot. It’s a little heavy for a hot, sunny Memorial Day weekend, but what the heck.

Sestina for the Hanged Man

This is a process of voluntary surrender.
In return for his sacrifice, The Hanged Man gains
Not illumination, but a lust for the divine.
The tree of sacrifice is living wood, its bounds
Of vines a comfort creature, offering
The mute counsel of its long decay.

This is a process of accepting the decay.
In return for his sacrifice, he will surrender
All that was given him in offering,
The sun-dulled dream of his fevered gains.
He has offered himself to these loving bounds.
Inverted, he sings for the divine.

This is a process of mourning the divine.
His bones know the journey of their own decay
He has witnessed the failure of our pious bounds
And the humid medicine of surrender.
In his dumb rebellion, The Hanged Man gains
The imitation of god, but never an offering

This is a process of refusing Earth’s offering.
The Hanged Man waits for the divine.
He has not accounted for his carnal gains.
He’s at ease with the relics of decay,
And the cost of every drab surrender.
His renouncement knows no bounds.

This is a process of mastering the bounds.
The Hanged Man knows the value of an offering
He is ecstatic in his surrender.
He is entranced by the divine.
Forgive me, Hanged Man: I’ve trafficked in decay;
With no respect for my blessed gains.

This is a process of extinguishing the gains.
His grief cinches tighter than his bounds.
The Tree of Sacrifice weakens with decay
And the Hanged Man triples his offering
To the silent, warm divine.
He has set the terms of his surrender.

And what’s to become of his sweet decay? I have no prophecy in offering,
Nothing to show for my earthly gains. No means of unfastening my bounds.
I too, am dazed by the mute Divine. I too, am listless in surrender.

--Kristen McHenry

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