Wednesday, August 5, 2009

out of one, the many (2)

out of one, the many!
all the way
from heaven down…
came òrìşànla who is
batala, divine artificer,
sent by olódùmaré,
most puissant love supreme;
soul lover & great mystery.
a holy charge to keep had he:
to make
something out of nothing,
a way out of no way;
solid earth from waters
pristine & primordial;
to make
human heads & bodies;
vessels fit to receive the òrìşà;
a forested, fertile land for germ,
cell, tissue & offspring
all the way
from heaven down…
he came
descending down a chain;
bearing pieces of
cold iron,
slick with shea butter;
the shell of a snail–
whose cochlear
chambers choked
with golden ratios of unworldly dirt–
a five-toed hen.

alas blessed òrìşànla ,
maker of human beings, proved
human all too human;
got ungodly drunk on sap
lovingly tapped from the
palm tree;
a palmwine drinkard
was he–
his charge unkept;
his needful duty left undone.
all the way
from heaven down…
came oduduwa–
he who reveals
the knowledge
of character–
came looking for òrìşànla ;
found him drunk.
took up his charge;
took up his snail shell &
poured that first oblation;
poured that mite of dirt
upon those uncorrupted waters;
placed he that cold iron
in the midst of that dirt
& set that five-toed hen
a' scratchin'!

scratched until
the dirt spread across the waters;
scratched until
the dirt, abetted by depositional
morphed into sedimentary layers,
metamorphic rock & volcanic flows
into the thirteen hamlets of ile ife–
the nurturing forests
of ọlọrun's forgiveness;
the arboreal shrine
of òrìşànla 's expiation,
where he redeemed himself by
fashioning original man;
sacred ancestral home
of the sixteen sons of oduduwa;
mystical matrix of ifa;
transmudane metaphor
for the ineffable one.

out of whom came many
fissioning progeny.
more than the shades of gray
'tween black & white;
more than a thousand singing tongues
or ten thousand
hues & shades of divinity
scintillating sparks coalescing,
breaking apart & forming again into
ever grander versions of
exotically human worship forms
with exotic spirit names:
palo mayombe
gris gris
rastafari & millions more –
reaching the sacred number of
the spirit paths of every
who ever has or ever will
walk the earth.

©Joseph McNair; 2009

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