Uncle Caterpillar Wings It

Voice Card  -  Volume 23  -  Stuart Card Number 7  -  Sat, Feb 1, 1992 9:32 PM

(Note: John, I guess technically this is a response card, a continuation anyway to VC 21 Stuart 9, my last voice card containing a contribution from The Body Besitary - could you make the neccessary connections? Thanks).

[Editor's note: Command-click on the above reference to jump back to the previous Bestiary card. I cannot establish an Archipelago-wide two-way link without re-releasing Volume 21. ]

After a hiatus last issue, we are back with a contribution from THE BODY BESTIARY, that sonnet sequence that just won't give up, I sometimes think it must seem to all of you in Archipelagoland. So, from the ramparts of the Eastern Walls of our fair realm, I share with you this poem.

But first, a little context: at this point in the sequence, our narrator, Uncle Caterpillar, is taking a ride on the back of a hawk. He has never flown before (not even as a moth or a butterfly), so the first eight lines describe the sensations of what it feels like for him, a mere earth / leaf / stem / stone / branch gripping caterpillar, to fly on the back of a soaring, swooping hawk. The last six lines describe what Hawk and Uncle Caterpillar see from their flight's promontory: the birth of a daughter to Moonlight and the Princess Waterfall, a little girl who will come to be named Moonlit Lake.

As those of you who remember the main narrative thread of this sequence know, this birth promises to be ill-fated, for the antagonist of this fairy-tale land, The Duchess of Moisture, she who was once in love and then had her love spurned by Moonlight when he in his turn fell in love with the Princess Waterfall, is the bitter enemy of this union and of its product.

And so that is the backdrop for the following poem, "Where I Ride on Hawk's Back: The Birth of Moonlit Lake, Moonlight and Princess Waterfall's Daughter" (once again, I'll ask you to expand the text field, so that you can get the poem's proper lineation):

Up her my jaws grit in this cold -- 'Whoosh!'. . .
As the wind winnows warmth -- leaf blanket whim
I want, I want. . . ; No swoops! Whoa!. . . ; I wish
My roller coaster stomach would -- 'Wham!';
Now Hawk totes his conked mouse like a lunch pail
To his aerie near the sea; I'm borne on wingtips spread
Toward horizons and sun flames; we peel
Through the soft silk of sky's cocoon; the world grows red. . . ;

Far away Waterfall's hips blush rose; in a glow
Her rock ledged legs spread bleeding sunsets. . . ;
Now her newborn's face glimmers in the blood flows. . . ;
Now the afterbirth is licked from thighs still wet. . . ;

Hawk hovers over the rainbowed, watered cradle;
It's dark now, listen. . . 'little girl, don't cry; girl. . . '