Thursday, 4 October 2012

National Poetry Day - The Star

Buddha Amida, Japan

To the Herbalist’s...

To remind me, with its symbol of the snake and staff,
that Asklepios teaches – not just the cure for illness,
but its meaning.
The cure then becomes a path,
a journey, a slow unwrapping
of the unknown.

It can make your heart pause
then flutter – pause, then glide
and shift, as if it stretches
in its skin, then steps out -
and enters all of your perceptions.
It can be difficult to walk along the pavements
when they glow – when people glow
and buildings glow, like this.

It doesn’t matter that apothecaries
of the present day don’t drop herbs
into alembics, mutter incantations
as they stir; that potions are sold
across the counter by bright-eyed
healthy-looking young people – the potency
is unchanged; though I regret
the passing – in this country – of the symbol -
the snake twined round the staff -
a reminder of where the power comes from.

Medicine in my bag, I then remember
there’s a jadeite axe
I’d like to see, in the Museum.
But it’s not displayed, I’m told.
Instead, I see this being
of serenity, shrouded in lotus calm,
protective guardians behind him.
And – of course – he’s glowing.


The Solitary Walker said...

Yes, I like this. The potency of the symbol, the potion, the path, the journey — the "slow unwrapping of the unknown", as you put it so beautifully. All these things interconnecting. The meaning of and cure for illness being so much more than a trip to the doctor, the pharmacist, the herbalist.

I love the ambiguity of the serpent symbol.

Forest Dream Weaver said...

The cure becomes the path,and refusal to walk the path,take the journey or go with our energy flow just as easily creates blockage and dis-ease.
Hope you are enjoying today's sunshine!

dritanje said...

Indeed Ruby the cure and the path can become one, well,on good days that is! And, Solitary Walker, there's a book called Dream Healing by E Tick which talks a lot about Asklepios and modern day dream healing. The serpent round the staff was Askleopios' symbol and you see it on many pharmacies in France and Greece and possibly elsewhere, to this day. Not so many in this country though...