How could the child see an animal not yet born?
A dark calf clothed in its own white zodiac, still wet
with birth three months since she had dreamt it.
Could she hear it growing with the sensitive ears
of a chantress? Hear where the dark places met
with the white and the hard with the soft? Or did
she feel its warm body as though through a veil
of living light: a young midwife touching
a baby’s head by turning the hips of its mother?
Even then she understood the turning of things,
bodies, voices, and the heavens, but she would
soon learn to hide her talents and the luminous
animals of her dreams. Sick at their conception,
it would be many years before she cried out
with her sisters, answering the rough beast’s call
to worship with strange, ecstatic song.
What was it, truly, to see with the outer eyes
of the flesh? Did it make plain all occult forms?
Or the wheel turn? Did it reveal the liquid voices
of the elements or the divinity of the hours?
In any case, the child could not speak of it,
not to those who broke things just to see what light
they held. Not to men who took the lives of beasts
because they did not have a soul. With all their ears
they could not hear the music: the sound of temple bells
among the grasses or the echo of a form inside a form.
Bethany van Rijswijk, ‘Visions’.