Canto

In the very earliest time
When both people and animals lived on earth
A person could become an animal if he wanted to
and an animal could become a human being.
Sometimes they were people
and sometimes animals
and there was no difference.
All spoke the same language
That was the time when words were like magic.
The human mind had mysterious powers.
A word spoken by chance might have strange consequences.
It would suddenly come alive
and what people wanted to happen could happen—
all you had to do was say it.
Nobody could explain this:
That’s the way it was.

—Nalungiaq,
Inuit woman interviewed by ethnologist Knud Rasmussen in the early twentieth century.

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Everything you are not stares back at what you are.

The Mighty Dead: Why Homer Matters,
Adam Nicolson

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Mab

In the darkness defined by her light i see the silhouette of another woman.

Her skin as black as the darkness between stars.

The recent moon is her hairpiece.

She is distant, inscrutable, and cold.

Now dormant.

But only for a time.

Is this how seasons work?

The bright woman looks at me.

Open Sorcery

Brünhilde in Twilight of the Gods. Lithograph (1894).
Odilon Redon (1840 - 1916)

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The Temptation of Saint Anthony (First Series):
And a Large Bird, Descending from the Sky, Hurls Itself against the Topmost Point of Her Hair. Lithograph (1888).

Odilon Redon (1840 - 1916)

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Parsifal. Lithograph (1892).
Odilon Redon (1840 - 1916)

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A fire is burning in Bird Spirit Land,

In Bird Spirit Land lies my young love.
A storm is raging in Bird Spirit Land,
I will scatter the black carrion birds.
I will watch over the kissing clay of my young love.
I will be with him in Bird Spirit Land.

A fire is burning in Bird Spirit Land.
My bones smoulder.
I must journey there.

Lavondyss, Robert Holdstock

Maids of Elfen-Mere (1855).
Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882); engraved by the Dalziel Brothers.

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Vega nightfishes in the Great Sky River. Copyright © 2021

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