The Queen of Swords, Inverted


I've built my altar to earth

And set the other signs below

Weeping gives back salt to stone

            and the stone rewards


                                    The man is not initiate in sacred truth

                        until he follows that path which has no comfort

                                    To find the last measure of strength within

                                    To go beyond and find it again

                                                            and again until he claws his way with

                                                desperation cording the muscles in his throat

                                    Relaxing not to greet the moon

                                    Nor pause by standing stones but leave the fairy

                        wedding in the dusk to cross yet one more darkling plain


            The leaves have caught a pale gold and I have

            With my will averted winter--autumnal they

                        may stand forever

            Earth gives power


                                                            but sacrifice requires and so

                                                My candle I have set aside

                                                The sign of fire must decline

                                                For whether man have fuel or no

                                                            it burns without pity

                                                So long have I I I been in the forging


And yet

This autumn will not stay

Nor do I see a hope for renewed spring

                        what have I done to be so damned?

The mysteries of fire I learned

And as its priest I still may act

But only then to burn

                        to never feel its warmth

Or shall I spark this pyre?


                        Ponderous turns the wheel

                        The thirteen spokes that wait on no man's call

                        Or deadly fast


            The earth is patient

                        the fire is pure

                                    the air is yet to be--I feel it

            I give thee water to complete the four

                        returning salt to stone


                                                                        Christopher J. Cramer

                                                                        December 1985