Author's Note: It seems it has been a long time for our species to understand there is significant communication among and between just about everything on the planet. Here, in "Keening the Shades" the coyotes, their cousins, the dogs, the natural mysteries of a desert valley, ghosts and lost ancestors, come together in a communal exchange.
Keening the Shades
It was the Celtic bards who originally gave the lyrics to the funeral caoinan and led the lamentations of the chorus to guide the souls of the dead to the afterlife. Songlines The dogs are keening again tonight. They’ve come out from their domestic homes, into their backyards on the ridge over the wild valley to sympathize with the coyotes, who are also keening, as if in unison they will bring back lost ancestors, a pack with greater power than their own, a plaintive communal longing, without evidence of a kill. Ghostings The ghosts of memory are in the wailings, just as the moon-ghost pulls the tides out and in, just as the hermit of history keens too for the shapes that emerge from rain and in the mists of rain, umbrae from starlight, o the ghosts are dancing tonight, ghosts of chance and excess, compromise and reluctance, and when wind and rain cease, they cease also. Nominals The ghosts of history appear to reappear in abandoned school hallways still polished by song, in the shades of a blood-red moon, and the ghosts of our longings drift over sunsets and moonsets— the gliding in and the gliding out— in nominals, over the vascular tunics of luminous eyes, over the rainbows of the heart and through the heart in its rain.
Originally published in Innisfree
©2022 Michael Gessner
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