Salix babylonica

                              The universe has perfect economy with the sum total of zero.
                              Nothing in the universe is created or destroyed—
                              only transformed from one type of energy to another.

               Death is also here,

in the form of resurrection,
the heterodox hierophant
whose knocking at the
temple gate lets us know we are
not alone in dying to be
reborn, fate a form
whose foreboding cloak mourning’s vale
invokes as if shadows obscure
doubt, going forth by

               day what takes from weakness its worth,

makes of us all new parts in the
drama of naming
each unexplored and yet unclaimed
region of reason’s corpse, wrath and
I taxonomist
and lexicographer of this
irony catering the whole
sordid affair, this
banquet where the willow does not

               weep and I am there, among the

roots, a dead tree whose
bark never sleeps, a tomb creaking
abundant howls when love leaves, limbs
clawing through red earth,
I hit pay dirt and uncover
a tooth, blunted like some war’s spent
arrowhead lost in
youth, an artefact time chewed through,
a relic my cupidity

               has loosed, and shouting

joy it is truth I shoot through the
bamboo floor, up to the oaken
rafters of this old
mortuary’s roof, and by morn’
I mean to tell both neighbour and
stranger of my night’s
little find, an ancestor’s tear
torn from inside his skull’s smile, like
Hamlet for awhile,

               I hear my father listening,

his ghost and mine of a living
quarrelling over
my decisions, this glistening
ivory every village
within a square mile
can see perspire its luminous
portent of gloom, witnesses to
its fetish, those most
numinous fools whose belief proves

               nothing, faith in some thing other

than this fiend whose fang
bites through convention to transform
those wolves into my law’s converts,
meat in my jaws who
do what I will, when I want it,
those soulless graveyards bereft of
backbones, minds I haunt
with the relentless conviction
of a lonely hunter, heartless

               as I wander hell.

1Shawn Martin Scanlon, “[Chapter] 3: The Tree of Life” in Everything You Want to Know About Magick: But Were Afraid to Ask, published at Woodbury, Minnesota by Llewellyn Publications in 2012; page 68.