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First Night Welcome Circle


ShiningKnight

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First Night Welcome Circle

Cave Canem, Summer 2002

I fear this circle – beauty, warmth,

comfort – that it will end before

I've filled myself.

– a member of Group A

It will not end.

Your body is a living tree of fire:

coal in your belly, flint and steel below,

wildfires spark then flare inside your mind,

while your eyes recall the light of vanished stars;

woodsmoke lends its richness to your throat;

and bright foliage bearing every kind of fruit

branches to and from your glowing heart.

How could you imagine yourself cold?

Close your eyes, summon those tender ones

who chewed for you the first words of this world,

one by one, placed them on your tongue.

They have never left, will never leave you.

Be in the comfort of your strong, clean bones.

It will not end.

This circle is a magic bowl,

formed from the richest clay that could be culled

from the seven ancient rivers turtle dreamed.

Care and fierce devotion wedged this clay.

Justice found dead center on the wheel.

The turning hand pulsed love for you

and me, for her and her and him . . .

Come into this circle,

Shoulder your way in.

Without hesitation, take what's yours.

Open your hand, dip it down and down. Eat;

there is nourishment for all and ample time.

One and the same,

our fullness and our hunger;

do not be afraid,

it will not end.

Constance Merritt

Prairie Schooner

Volume 78, Number 2

Summer 2004

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