Last night I had a dream of a snake.
In the desert I found him withered and grey.
There we were beneath the black, before the sun arose on Saint Patrick's Day.
I found him, yes, in a pile of dirt,
yet the only piece was his head—eyes wide and still alert.
When I knelt down closer to see, he dug his fangs into rock and pulled himself to me.
I picked up the head and placed it in my hand.
A very old memory arose.
He reminded me of a man.
His eyes turned a certain green, a shade I have not ever seen—
except once, impossibly, as if it was lit from within—
the time I watched a great storm, churning on the Irish sea.
He sank into my tender skin, then I watched as his body grew and flashing scales came back again.
Green. He grew green.
Green like emeralds, the leaves of a summer tree.
Green like the isle where Druids still dream.
All along my arm he wrapped, twisting and writhing and tightening his trap.
I was not afraid. I did not fight. I did not cry against the night.
For into green we both then grew, dry dirt gave way to moss, cracked earth repaired with dew.
The trees we once loved rose out of the ground—hawthorn, beech, and yew all around.
Elder and ash, blackthorn and oak.
Ivy and rowan.
Willow and birch.
The yellow birds returned, their secret song anew.
One landed so light upon me, flutter of wings in my ear.
Under my feet and around my legs: beloved flowers grew!
Upon our forms we now could see the reincarnation of our memories.
He was not a snake, but the one I knew,
from the time when we lived with the rain,
when we slept beneath the trees.
Before the crosses came, we wore the horns of stags. Then, in nothing else, across the moors we ran.
Brambles of heather would snag our dress, woven from plants and spun into white.
We moved with the moon and could see in the night.
In that green land we were free—until the day all that we knew was stolen away.
They did not like our kinship with the land, or the secrets we gleaned from the touch of a hand.
To speak with the earth they called a sin.
They said we would not feel the wind again.
Him next to me, they tied us to posts, with ropes that scratched against splintered wood.
They watched and smiled and thought it was good.
They shouted words from their books and set us aflame.
Unto our bodies the smoke did claim—
But before the fire reached up to the skies,
there was a promise we made with our eyes:
Through time and darkness, in the turns of our lives, we will die and forget, a circle comprised—
Then in one life we shall know, the veil will lift, the stars our guide after centuries adrift—
Into our old ways our souls will grow, no longer afraid or ashamed to know—
When the memories come back in a torrential flood:
Meet me in the land red like blood!
Back with the earth!
A heart so free!
Liberated in love
we both shall be!
And now as I walk
I see an old snake
and call him awake…