Gog and Magog at 2,000 years
A blackbird’s lonely song skims hawthorn hedges,
showering primroses and daffodils that illuminate overcast fields.
Frowning dog violets and wild garlic shimmy in gusts that billow a dark sun of starlings,
over Gog and Magog’s ivy-footed oaks: the moss-mantled, fern-fringed Druid gateway.
Stricken Kings of Somerset woods reigning above Isle of Avalon’s
reed-bedded freshwater fens and tidal salt marshes drained by Parrett, Axe and Brue.
Heath-soaked home to eels, otters, egrets and harriers.
Horned sheep and cattle encircle Glastonbury Tor.
Graze the seven-symmetric terraced peninsula, where pilgrims’ trace
a haunting, sacred labyrinth of sandstone, limestone, marl and clay.
Two thousand years ago these witch-charmed acorns took leathery root,
spellbound for strength and resistance.
Myth of King Diocletian’s thirty-three daughters fleeing Syria
and beached on Britain’s deserted shores,
birthing a race of giants able to uproot oaks like hazel wands
Until slaughtered by Trojans and buried in folklore.
Oaks that became a forest-shaping understory and majestic driving force,
beloved by Zeus and Thor to attract lightning.
Now, barely alive but still, an enchanted ingress,
aligning Seventh Century Abbey, holy Chalice and Wearyall hills.
Fire-scoured Gog points a scorched limb Tor-wards.
Astringent, antiseptic bark, peeled alabaster smooth,
its ochre-washed patchwork of tan planes and exposed yellow-grained rind.
Lace-lichened Magog’s cross-fissured bark’s unfolding frill of scaled, egg-shaped buds.
Wind soughs dusk-lit fissures,
lifts frost-crisped clooties;
tethered to repel illness, protect life, attract money.
Covet a lucky falling leaf from its gold-orange mantle.
Darkling gullies pour into icy White Spring’s iron and calcite-rich pools,
where a tawny owl’s fluted kewick eerily echoes.