They asked me “was I ready?”


I, who have been beyond the nine keyless doors

beyond nine gates, nine veils,

beyond the mirthless, shining eye,

crept through the constricting labyrinths of earth,

gazed fearless through the skrying-cup of rebirth…


And now they hang me up

by one foot

from the dread and battling tree.

Pain, as

the hook of the heavens stretches me to the distant stars and

Hertha, below, reaches tenderly towards my skull.


No sister, I am not yours yet.


Alone I hang,

A shuddering bait for the Gods

so cold,

and now the

Queen is arriving.

Made of fracturing ice and the

still-coursing blood of her


Bring her on!

She is riding

and gaining behind me swinging her furs

hooves ricochet rock and thunder the howl of her dogs, her court

and company full-tilt screech and rage, stench of rotting pelts, thunder louder,


my empty stomach contracts

yellow-eyed wall of deafening dogs and hooves towards my hanging form in an impossibly straight line,

white their skin

and steel their teeth,

to rip me apart and

my soul and

they pass

straight through me,

racing on to the white horizon,

a hunting horn shrills


and they vanish.


Floating, empty

in my cocoon.

Swung and twisted by the winds of form.

Washed free by the rains of my heart,

Stung by the sunlight of shame.


Numb, the roar of rooks above.


As bait, I hang

a hollowed fruit impaled

by a black winter branch

As bait for the Gods,

my dead boy’s face.

As bait, I hang

the scent of bluebells and tears.

As bait for the Gods,

a golden crown.

As bait, I hang

my own heart beating, held in someone’s bloodied hands.

Myself to myself.


Light floods



Forms and forms take shape into


a language

a magic

a music


So many riches…

They cut me down

and birthed me back into the world

and then

they asked me ‘was I ready?’

I said for what?


The true initiation,

for that,

they said

was merely the trial.



be worthy of your gifts.

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