Friday, January 4, 2013

The Jaguar's Bite

Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser
Mayan relief from Palenque, Chiapas, Mexico

The jaguar gripped my hand
in his wet and gnashing mouth.

Wounds are mysterious things;

How they can speak out so long
and loud
after new skin and new stories
tuck them
out of sight…

Sometimes it’s hard to put a
name to the old voice,

Mostly because there are so
many options:

Shame, grief, despair, anger, rage,

But it is a growl that is recognizable –

in the ear of memory,
or the pit of the stomach.

And, in the last breath of an addict,
the jingle of prison cell keys,
the door slamming on bruised and beaten hearts,
the moment that innocence is stolen.

And, in all the Self-betrayals.

In every act of prey turned predator.

Unlike other cats, jaguars kill
with a bite to the head.

When he takes you by the hand,
it’s an invitation to go
to where you have always
had an invitation to go –

Where Light’s canine teeth
the Darkness.

It is here where wounds become
Sacred Wounds.

It is here where artists make vows to beauty,
musicians become composers,
poets transform poems into prayers,
prayers become a way of walking,
and the body begins to understand Love.

It is here where poison becomes Medicine.

Follow this path,
this Path,
though it twists and turns sharply downward,
though it leads to the lair
of everything you have been avoiding…

for a long, long time.

Follow this Path,
though you realize:

You’ve already been here.

This is the cave of your Dreams.

Yes, yes!

All those nightmares were
perfectly inscribed love notes
from the lily-scented Underworld,
always beckoning you to claim the
potential of this place,

Calling on you to honor
your blood –

The red thread embroidering
the edges of the tapestry
in which past, present, and future
are continuously being
woven together
in a circle.

Back to the jaguar:

I have found him to be a trusty guide.

And, odd as it may seem,

Thanked him for the bite.

© 2013-2017/Jamie K. Reaser
Published in 'Wild Life: New and Selected Poems'

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  1. Oh Dear Jamie this is so, so poignant. Speaks to this Heart and tears rise to say - thank you for knowing that wound too... And yes, gratitude for the wound and the darkness... Deep bows as always for this wonderful gift that you share with us... Christine

    1. Christine:

      Thank you lovely lady. It is always a joy to see you here.

      Blessings for a wonder-filled 2013.

  2. Gorgeous! I hope this sounds like a compliment (it's certainly intended as one): this has a similar feel to David Whyte's poetry. It struck me with this part:
    "Follow this path,
    this Path,
    though it twists and turns sharply downward,
    though it leads to the lair
    of everything you have been avoiding…"


    1. Thank you, Julie! Honored to have 'my' poetry placed anywhere in the vicinity of David Whyte's name! ;)

      Deep blessings,