I. Esus with an Axe
As if he were winter itself
Esus goes at the willow tree,
goes to prune it back for a time,
promising a spring without blades.
And as if they were winter itself,
the egrets in the willow tree
consider how the cold must come,
consider where all souls must go,
and surrender the willow to fly.
And as if it were winter itself
the marsh beside the willow tree
cools and freezes and hides beneath ice,
beneath the cracking axe of Esus,
beneath the iron sun, iron clouds,
beside the low willow in winter.
II. Sucellus: The Wine God
Every now and then, why not, give your time
to the drunk old man – the hammer he holds
struck winter out of the earth after all,
and gave us the grapes that got him all groggy,
the barrel overflowing and the jar
overturned, the amphorae running over.
He’s not the most graceful god, not in spring,
but remember that his hammer is thunder,
that his hammer is the reliable wheel
and his body is covered in the serious
signs that the dark of deep winter were made for –
so join him while his hammer is on the ground
and while, stumbling, he gives a smile over at you.
Tim Miller writes about religion, history and poetry at www.wordandsilence.com. These poems are from a larger collection on (mostly spiritual) life in prehistoric Europe, the entirety of which will appear later this year from The High Window Press. Other poems from this collection have appeared in Crannog, Londongrip, The High Window, Poethead, Cider Press Review, Cumberland River Review, Isacoustic, The Big Windows Review, The Basil O’Flaherty, Albatross, The Journal (Wales), and others.