Grey Heron Nights 9: Hatching the Dreams

Old Crane Woman is dreaming. She’s dreaming a man dreaming her. She’s dreaming of the bright blue god, the bright blue god of the waters. She’s dreaming of rapture, while she hatches her egg. Old Crane Woman is dreaming. Dreaming of the days when she was young; dreaming of the days when she was demure.

She is not demure now, Old Crane Woman; no, she is not demure. Old Crane Woman, she has power. Old Crane Woman is dreaming of power. She’s dreaming of what she will hatch.

The egg dreams with her.The Heron (An Corra-Ghridheach)

A pale yellow moon on the skyline,
the heart of the soil without a throb of laughter,
a chilliness contemptuous
of golden windows in a snaky sea.

It is not the frail beauty of the moon
nor the cold loveliness of the sea
nor the empty tale of the shore’s uproar
that seeps through my spirit tonight.

Faintness in fight,
death pallor in effect,
cowardice in the heart
and belief in nothing.

A demure heron came
and stood on top of the sea-wrack.
She folded her wings close in to her sides
and took stock of all around her.

Alone beside the sea
like a mind alone in the universe,
her reason like man’s ‒
the sum of how to get a meal.

A mind restless seeking,
a more restless flesh returned,
unrest and sleep without a gleam;
music, delirium and an hour of rapture.

The hour of rapture is the clear hour
that comes from the darkened blind brain,
horizon-breaking to the sight,
a smile of fair weather in the illusion.

On the bare bones of the shore,
gazing at the slipperiness of a calm sea,
listening to the sea’s swallowing
and brine rubbing on the stones.

Alone in the vastness of the universe,
though her inaccessible kin are many,
and bursting on her from the gloom
the onset of the bright blue god.

I am with you, alone,
gazing at the coldness of the level kyle,
listening to the surge on a stony shore
breaking on the bare flagstones of the world.

What is my thought above the heron’s?
The loveliness of the moon and the restless sea,
food and sleep and dream,
brain and flesh and temptation.

Her dream of rapture with one thrust
coming in its season without stint,
without sorrow, but with one delight,
the straight, unbending law of herons.

My dream exercised with sorrow,
broken, awry, with the glitter of temptation,
wounded, morose, with but one sparkle,
brain, heart and love troubled.

Sorley Maclean


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