Rebirth by Daniele Paccaloni
After the Changeling Incantation
by John Philip Johnson
To become a goose
had seemed important, earlier,
when he made the change.
A gray goose for some reason, fat,
with the ability to lift above
the archers' arrows,
fly past the leafless autumn trees,
and cross the bowl of the mountain valley,
beyond those far peaks.
There was a mission—
to get something,
or to return with someone—
some reason to be a goose
other than just gooseness,
other than filling your wings with sky—
Hands drop the wand;
feathers cannot pick it up.
We forget when we change
we become something else.
Things mean differently.
He circled the great alpine woods,
forgetting. There, below,
knotted in the trees,
were the plottings of men,
creatures like little gods,
with their endless violence upon things.
They make such noise. They wail and bleed.
It is no place for a goose.
It is no place for one who can find
north and south within his body
and know which one to choose.
Posted with permission of the poet. (Thank you, John!) He says, "There is a forthcoming graphic version of this poem, which I expect to be available online this summer, part of a larger graphic poetry collection available later this year or in 2015." After the Changeling Incantation was first featured in Strange Horizons speculative fiction magazine.
The Drift Record has the Poetry Friday round-up today.
One more quote about spells:
I'm wondering if there's a spell to make lightning flash in the background whenever I make an ominous resolution.