the weaver of myths
My body beside the gunnel,
I rest my head on the sea-leathered wood,
and watch the rending of the waters
and the dimples in the swell beyond,
the curving and in-curving of the waves.
I lie back and view the motion of the sun's haze.
In the darkening I feel the ending of the voyage,
as we ride,
as the pilot weaves the shallows.
And in the night I land
and sway on the still earth,
then sit to hear the creak and creak of the parting oars.
Out from the rock shadows,
murmuring people come.
They sniff me and push me to their fire's light
where they know me
from my long nose and my high temples
as a spinner of stories;
they give me food. They ask me for my dreams.
I look at them as I eat and look at the moon
and wonder where the sun is.
The fire sinks low -
I raise my feet to it
and warm the crease below each toe,
and tell them of the naked woman
who crossed the desert alone
her breasts faint-rocking,
of how she came to a pool beside a strangled tree,
how the tree felt love for her
and watched her as she knelt and lowered
her mouth to the water to drink,
her nipples touching the mud,
her buttocks raised to the sun, round and shining,
her lips raw in the shade between.
My listeners murmur –
I tell them that as the tree gazed, a snake slid from its roots
and climbed round and round her leg and entered her.
And she ran to the tree
the tail thrashing between her legs, its head engulfed.
And she grasped the tree and rubbed against it,
and it moved
with her, and became man.
They all look at me and question me,
‘Is this true?’
‘I am the weaver of myths,’ I reply.