Saturday, 29 October 2011

The Brown Snake

Another Brown Snake: Wara Simbu and Paul on the road ahead

Today I received into my heart
Your Samhain poem.

You remind me that the ancestors
Crowd around me
Watching and waiting
Encouraging, judging,
Our Original Parents
Still sending tough love
Down the centuries -
Prayers that their spirit of life
May find true and brave hearts
To carry it on.

Of course I know that
Even here in the dark Papuan night
There are no ghosts -
But when a friend, intelligent,
Educated, honest and true,
Stops his Land Cruiser
On the road one night,
Turns lights and engine off,
And waits for the brown snake
On the road before us
to move off into the bush,
He explains that it is a Masalai*                           Masalai - a good or bad spirit 
And I listen with respect.                                           that haunts a particular place

‘There are more things ...’

I still do not believe in ghosts,
But I am moved
As by a powerful metaphor.
And anyway, had he run over
This living thing,
How irreverent to all I hold dear
Would that have been?

And then I think:
Samhain is the celebration
Of the Third Quarter of the Turning Year,
In Celtic lands where darkness falls longer and earlier
with each passing day,
And we wait and know
That soon we will have to
Rekindle the flame
For a New Year.

Here in a land without seasons,
The Ancestors live in a land to the West,
Where the sun sets
With each passing day.
Bodies turn white when life leaves them
And every heart knows beyond reason
That the Masalai will tear us apart
If we do not respect them.

No, I do not believe in ghosts,
But I respect them:
They are here in my reptilian brain
Deeper and older than thought,
Carrying the life
Forcing the spirit
To be courageous
To be respectful
To love and trust and nurture life
For all our futures:

One World to come
With or Without

                        Ian Cameron
                        30 October, 2011

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