“Entering the Bath,” Nicolae Grigorescu, WikiArt.

Cold nakedness, hunger, poverty, descending
Steep ravines, single misstep I feared, death-
plunging rocks, broken tree branches, dagger
Sharp awaited me. “By every bleeding thistle
Cut, injuries, illness you,” Brynfrida, receive,”
Deific thoughts advised. No turning back, weary
Steps, I persevered arduous climbs, breathless
Heights, madness I discerned: eternal boatmen,
Battle fallen, ships cloud-borne sailing, ever-
Watching loved ones, sword and spear life-
Separated. Alas! Steed-pulled golden chariot,
Day’s eye gleaming, sky galloping. “What are
They?” I asked. “Your perceptions of the world,”
Metallic voices answered.

Celestial thoughts, visions instilled, I reckoned
New-found sight. What was, what is, could be
Told by toss of bones, smoke rising from entrails
Smoldering, mosaic pieces of needful, forlorn
Stories of woe. “Do I see as you see?” I asked of
Snow-swept sacred? Single word: “No.” Naked
Body exposed, my sight lingered beneath ethereal
Realms. Arrow-piercéd deer, I collapsed, quick
Hands, stone-tools, blood-letting evisceration,
Human-like prey: heart, lungs, liver, steaming
On frosted earth. “Of these, Brynfrida, ailments
Cured, by herbs, smoke and flame, sick and
Dying, heaven’s healing fulfilled.

“Half-Draped Figure,” Abbott Handerson Thayer, 1885, WikiArt.

By earth, I was nourished, bone to wood, hands
And feet gnarled roots, to fertile soil I returned,
Watering tears, beneath me grew welling spring.
“Bring offerings, child, before you lies forest gate.”
Still earth-fastened, I arose, listless frame, willow
Tree, first steps struggled post and lentil, com-
Munion of dark spruces, forest floor I strove.
Quiet whispers, “I am myself living offering.”
Flowering blossoms, such secrets understood,
Comprehended cause. “I am Brynfrida, sorceress,
Healer, omen reader, diviner of sky-crossing
Golden chariot. Those infirmed, troubled, in
Despair, approach. Before  you, I weep.”

Thanks for reading the third poem of this series.

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