Hawkes, Jacquetta - Symbols and Speculations - Kuban
Type of Spiritual Experience
We think that Jacquetta is using perhaps a little of her own experiences here .......
A description of the experience
In southern Russia groves have been found where great
chiefs lie buried together with their horses and concubines.
How still he lies, how straight, upon the bier,
How sharp his stiffened feet beneath the pall;
I will not look, for that alone brings fear
To see him there no more that king whose call
Drew me into his tent with heart alight
When bare above the steppes the white moon swept
When round the tents the moon-black shadows crept
And breaths from man and beast deepened the hush of night.
That call, the peak of minutes, hours and days,
My thoughts, words, acts were pointed to that sound
As swans, seeking their one known nesting ground
Point their winged wedge along high, unmarked ways,
And, like the sinewy music of a wing
So my stretched heart would sing.
When his royal urgency awoke my ear
Then I rose up, familiar senses fled
Flags in my eyes tossed red
While all the world would dwarf and disappear.
With vacant thighs and borne on distant feet
That could not feel the moon engraven grass,
Leaving the drowsy girls
I, thinned to one floating dream, would pass
Into his tent, full of perfume and heat
And him, and him, and his divinity.
Uneyed, I learnt it from my whispering blood
How he lay there with godhead like a hood
Masking his eyes and his tall potency
So that he gazed, yet saw not where I stood
So that he lay, yet did not know his lust.
To him I went because I would and must
And there, submerged, I flowed along the flood
Of his fierce majesty, and nothing was.
On skins upon the turf two bodies lay
While high above his spirit bore mine up
Twining so thin, so bright, so far away
The he, the me, vanished, were snuffed away.
He did not know that woman has a name,
That self within his arms he never knew,
But as his great disdainful kinghood came,
The cracked earth softened, let green grass blades through,
The flocks were filled and their seed multiplied,
The heart of all our tribe beat out anew.
Could I have been a wave to rise and break
On his black rock, then fall again to be
Forever one with the oblivious sea;
Could I have been the dew his sun would take
Upon its beam to scatter through the sky
In finest mist blown to infinity.
But slowly each unwanted sense would wake
And I must see his breast and all its curls
Or the gold serpents which old Tan would twist
With fire and awe and love for the king's wrist.
Then must I loose and some vague pathway make
Back to my pallet and the idiot girls.
Those golden serpents, there I see them now
Coiled on his rigid arm-and golden bands
Are on my wrists today. No, do not look
There is the priest Pologos, lame and slow;
For all his rites and his Egyptian book
More have I known of his concern than he-
Must it then be at his unholy hands-
No, do not think.
And there the queen. How her fine robes are rent
And her face blubbered. Poor unroyal wretch
She was all softness and all sentiment
With love and chiding ever on her tongue;
Nothing she knew of twining spirits hung
On topless heights-or bodies on the ground.
A slave of fifteen winters, I have yet been
Ten thousand times more great and more a queen.
Yes, truly she will weep, rend cloth and mourn
But would she change her present place for mine
Waiting to hear the horn,
To see how near Pologos' eyes will shine
With hate and lust of death?
The horn. So soon. They take the horses first.
See how much blood. I had forgotten blood.
There are the watching girls. Now in each face
I witness pity, hid delight or shock;
They cannot know with what triumphant grace
My wave shall break at last upon its rock,
Or how, in golden chains, it is most blinding sweet
To know that I shall fall-it comes-across his feet.