THE PRIESTESS OF PANORMITA Hear me, Lord of the Stars! For thee I have worshipped ever Wit

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THE PRIESTESS OF PANORMITA Hear me, Lord of the Stars! For thee I have worshipped ever With stains and sorrows and scars, With joyful, joyful endeavour. Hear me, O lily-white goat! O crisp as a thicket of thorns, With a collar of gold for Thy throat, A scarlet bow for Thy horns! Here, in the dusty air, I build Thee a shrine of yew. All green is the garland I wear, But I feed it with blood for dew! After the orange bars That ribbed the green west dying Are dead, O Lord of the Stars, I come to Thee, come to Thee crying. The ambrosial moon that arose With breasts slow heaving in splendour Drops wine from her infinte snows, Ineffably, utterly, tender. O moon! ambrosial moon! Arise on my desert of sorrow, That the magical eyes of me swoon With the lust of rain to-morrow! Ages and ages ago I stood on the bank of a river, Holy and holy and holy, I know, For ever and ever and ever! A priest in the mystical shrine, I muttered a redeless rune, Till the waters were redder than wine In the blush of the harlot moon. I and my brother priests Worshipped a wonderful woman With a body lithe as a beast's, Subtly, horribly human. Deep in the pit of her eyes I saw the image of death, And I drew the water of sighs From the well of her lullaby breath. She sitteth veiled forever, Brooding over the waste. She hath stirred or spoken never. She is fiercely, manly chaste! What madness make me awake From the silence of utmost eld The grey cold slime of the snake That her poisonous body held? By night I ravished a maid From her father's camp to the cave. I bared the beautiful blade; I dipped her thrice i'the wave; I slit her throat as a lamb's, That the fount of blood leapt high With my clamorous dithyrambs, Like a stain on the shield of the sky. With blood and censer and song I rent the mysterious veil; My eyes gaze long and long On the deep of that blissful bale. My cold grey kisses awake From the silence of utmost eld The grey cold slime of the snake That her beautirul body held. But--God! I was not content With the blasphemous secret of years; The veil is hardly rent While the eyes rain stones for tears So I clung to the lips and laughed As the storms of death abated, The storms of the grievous graft By the swing of her soul unsated. Wherefore reborn as I am By a stream profane and foul, In the reign of a Tortured Lamb, In the realm of a sexless Owl, I am set apart from the rest By meed of the mystic rune That reeds in peril and pest The ambrosial moon--the moon! For under the tawny star That shines in the Bull above I can rein the riotous car Of galloping, galloping Love; And straight to the steady ray Of the Lion-hearted Lord I career, Pointing my flaming way With the spasm of night for a spear! O moon! O secret sweet! Chalcedony clouds of caresses About the flame of our feet, The night of our terrible tresses! Is it a wonder, then, If the people are mad with blindness, And nothing is stranger to men Than silence, and wisdom, and kindness? Nay! let him fashion an arrow Whose heart is sober and stout! Let him pierce his God to the marrow! Let the soul of his God flow out! Whether a snake or a sun In his horoscope Heaven hath cast, It is nothing; every one Shall win to the moon at last. The mage has wrought by his art A billion shapes in the sun. Look through to the heart of his heart, And the many are shapes of one! An end to the art of the mage, And the cold grey blank of the prison! An end to the adamant age! The ambosial moon is arisen. I have bought a lily-white goat For the price of a crown of thorns, A collar of gold for its throat, A scarlet bow for its horns; I have bought a lark in the lift For the price of a butt of sherry: With these, and God for a gift, It needs no wine to be merry! I have bought for a wafer of bread A garden of poppies and clover; For a water bitter and dead, A foam of fire flowing over. From the Lamb and his prison fare And the Owl's blind stupor, arise! Be ye wise, and strong, and fair, And the nectar afloat in your eyes! Arise, O ambrosial moon, By the strong immemorial spell, By the subtle, veridical rune That is mighty in heaven and hell! Drip thy mystical dews On the tongues of the tender fauns, In the shade of initiate yews, Remote from the desert dawns! Satyrs and Fauns, I call. Bring your beauty to man! I am the mate for ye all; I am the passionate Pan. Come, O come to the dance, Leaping with wonderful whips, Life on the stroke of a glance, Death in the stroke of the lips! I am hidden beyond, Shed in a secret sinew, Smitten through by the fond Folly of wisdom in you! Come, while the moon (the moon!) Sheds her ambrosial splendour, Reels in the redeless rune Ineffably, utterly, tender! Hark! the appealing cry Of deadly hurt in the hollow:-- Hyacinth! Hyacinth! Ay! Smitten to death by Apollo. Swift, O maiden moon, Send thy ray-dews after; Turn the dolorous tune To soft ambiguous laughter! Mourn, O Maenads, mourn! Surely your comfort is over: All we laugh at you lorn. Ours are the poppies and clover! O that mouth and eyes, Mischievous, male, alluring! O that twitch of the thighs, Dorian past enduring! Where is wisdom now? Where the sage and his doubt? Surely the sweat of the brow Hath driven the demon out. Surely the scented sleep That crowns the equal war Is wiser than only to weep-- To weep for evermore! Now, at the crown of the year, The decadent days of October, I come to thee, God, without fear; Pious, chaste, and sober. I solemnly sacrifice This first-fruit flower of wine For a vehicle of thy vice, As I am Thine to be mine. For five in the year gone by I pray Thee give to me one; A lover stronger than I, A moon to swallow the sun! May he be like a lily-white goat, Crisp as a thicket of thorns, With a collar of gold for his throat, A scarlet bow for his horns!


E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank