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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Do the old gods laugh?

At the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, Kerry asks us to think of the old gods and goddesses.

In his sonnet, ''The World is Too Much With Us", Kerry sees Wordsworth bemoaning the fact that we have lost our place in the natural environment, and no longer appreciate the gods in nature.

                  Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.

Kerry provided us with a link to the old Celtic deities, and I tried to feel something for some of them, but my poem brought me back, not to the land of my Celtic forefathers, but to the shores of my birth...British Columbia's Fraser River, and the Pacific Ocean.
My father, Gordon Davies, wrote books about the rivers of British Columbia, and he was known to mention river gods now and then, but this poem is my own.
Taku chief, Tlingit people,
1913


the water gods, we knew them well
we learned them at our father’s side
they kept harpies from the streams
held back the ice from oceans wide

  
the river gods the Haida knew,
the Salish and the Kwatna, too,
fished and fought in wood canoes
  
Celtic gods, First Nations gods,
all protected salmon streams:
Icaunis and Arausio, knew fish
Bill Reid's carving of the
Haida god Raven
releasing the first humans
from a seashell
were stuff of people’s dreams
  
the river gods my father knew
taught him the things
he taught us, too
Kay Davies, September 18, 2013




Photo source: Wikipedia

21 comments:

Fran said...

I love this. In fact I am going to do some research in to water gods. I think we ought to pay homage to them on the barge xxx

Susan said...

Nicely done, Kay. I am glad to meet these Gods.

Fireblossom said...

Good morning, Kay! I think you're all wet!

runzzzzzzzz

;-)

Aw, you know I'm teasing. I liked that you stuck close to your roots with this, and i like the picture of the chief!

Kerry O'Connor said...

I'm so glad you kicked off this challenge with such a wonderfully evocative poem, Kay. I got goosebumps reading about the link between poet, parent and the old gods, however we care to name them.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
comments are cursory due to prevailing conditions - I know you unnerstan'!

Prairie mists - ethereal beauty

Lindy set - love personified

Little Gods - all help us find The One. Lovely recognition. YAM xx

razzamadazzle said...

This is a beautiful tribute to the water gods.

Mama Zen said...

This is really lovely. Great flow and structure.

Sam Edge said...

Very cool. I alway say the First Nation are the ones who can teach us celts our tribal roots!

Hannah said...

Your rhymes are sensational...they just carry your reader along...I love the timelessness of this...it feels like peering down the halls of time...generations of story being passed form ear to eager ear. Beautiful, Kay!

Sherry Blue Sky said...

I love this so much. One of your best, kiddo! I love that you used First Nations gods. Love the names woven thru the poem.

chamomile sea said...

I like the last stanza.

Friko said...

The river gods still take are of our waterways in spite of man’s best efforts to pollute them.

A poem like yours brings home to us what we could lose.

Susan said...

This may be my second comment here, but I had to come back to the importance of the fish and their protections. We may need to rejuvenate the old or invent new more potent gods to protect our fish. Meanwhile, I am taken back to your major poetic challenge from the rhythms and content of this song. So Beautiful--despite taking you from humor into serious territory.

grapeling said...

and taught us, too. I'm intrigued by the First Nations pantheon, now, Kay. ~ M

Debi Swim said...

This sounds so ancient itself. Nice.

Lolamouse said...

Kay,
This is beautiful! It reads like a song.

Ella said...

I love the personal nod in your ending! I love all the offerings listed-especially the salmon :D

YOU always bring it!

Susie Clevenger said...

What a wonderful piece Kay...Oh that fathers would have better taught their offspring the beauty of protecting our water.

Tammy said...

Clearly you've learned from the best! :)

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

How are you, Kay?
I wrote a poem this week. Finally!
Cheers from Cottage Country Ontario , ON, Canada!

Margaret said...

lore and nostalgia - perfect. I also really like the idea of that statue - humans being birthed by a great sea turtle.