I dream of training the next generation of Valkyries.
I, who was not allowed to go to Japan,
A girl of sixteen alone in a crew of forty men.
The guy who canned me never met me.
I met others who were on that crew years later.
When age was beginning to touch me
Those guys had had chances I didn’t,
Simply because of what swung between their legs.
They saw my tits first and my mind later
If they bothered to look for that long.
In Sea Scouts I’d dealt with this early,
Learning to fit myself in as part of a crew.
Being one of us, the boat is what is important,
Not the shape of her crew.
I was born too early
Or just at the right time.
I straddle that line,
Between women being other,
And women being part of the crew.
I knew both states, not allowed and one of the boys
Simultaneously and separated by time.
I came at last to the ships in autumn,
Thinking the leaves would cling forever
Brown turned to gray, and my moment was over
Remembering what was, and what might have been,
Had I not done as my mother said.
Sent the ship off with a basket of shore food
And preserved the status quo.
What would they have done had they found me,
Four or ten days out,
Hidden in the hold of the Hinde?
My cauldron is rimmed, not with pearls, but with Blood Red Roses.
Spirals graven there over the year we stirred the Awen together.
Scored by the stirring stick, colored by the brew,
One for each one of us together in the task.
Black the Cauldron’s rim.
Once it stretched from Wales to California.
Here on the Shore of the Western Sea,
Where Cerridwen called me, and I followed, not knowing,
Until I stood on the shores of Llyn Tegid,
A wreath of ogham floating at my feet.
Is it still there? I feel it, black but unmarked,
Like the flight path of the plane that carried me full circle.
I hold it in my hands, weightless, black and thick,
As I sit in the shallows of the lake.
A paradox, the rim was gone, the rim returns.
The cauldron is 5,000 miles across, then the width of my spread hands.
My tasks are not known to me, but I do as Cerridwen asks.
I ask the Maidens to warm it with their breath.
We each must make the journey our own.
Like the GPS in a tallship,
The trackline tells me where I have been, not what course to steer.
As it did at the huge tiller, I hope this will orient me,
Allow me to learn to steer by compass and the wind.
Full and by,
Bala is Calling.