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Shaman Fishing


The Salmon of Wisdom reaches the Well at the World’s End and swallows the Nuts of Knowledge that drop from the nine holy hazel trees.


He who eats The Salmon of Wisdom gains divine knowledge. Finally, Finnécas the druid caught The Salmon after seven years of trying. His young apprentice Finn MacCool was given the task of cooking this magical fish, but was forbidden to eat it. Finn, however, burned his thumb on the fish whilst cooking it and instinctively thrust it into his mouth. Finnécas saw the holy fire blazing in Finn’s eyes and knew he now had The Knowledge.


Secret sperm of Solomon swerving to the shining egg; in the belly of the gully, in the grip of the chasm, in the sorrowed deeps of the abyss; under the branchy starréd gloom, in the woody boughs. Wrapt in the creeping outlands of inner woodland, burrowing upriver’s winding stretch.


Against straining solstice tides swelling with dusk-trimmed foreign bodies; serpent’s delight, or the limbless dragon, now edges thinly over estuary silts and shelves under sweating shoals the shivering sea servants of the silent throngs, singing, returning home under shimmering star-maps, the swimming sweeps of sunward spawn.


Be one autumn night in an arc of landscape remote, near the source of the braided channel, over the gravelly redds, shuddering knightly out on the moor under the glisten-bounded deep blue studded circle of sky, with stone circle visible on the hill. Near where you stand, at the river’s edge, peering into the weaving shallows the cold she-breath of moonwaters.


There, under a terrible and so apparent clash of tender forces, the moor seems to tilt, flex, and curve in blanket ripple.

Drenched a few feet from the folds, at this point where I hunch over the lipping current at the pool’s elbow, a new army of skin and organ battalions fused into one writhing organic ribbon has poured over the brink; edging veinlike in quartzing gneiss.

Ancient charmed tree-wrapper, old goat-eyed pattern forger painting fluid white whorls on this deep striated path for fins.

In the slow-sliding silence of the peaty river gliding irreverent, malevolent silence. Pale stranger unannounced. The Kelt of Wisdom drifts, spent and hungry un pure black breath-stream.

Upriver glides The Serpent.

Published in 'Eskimo' (Polarcap, 2008)

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