Chiron the Oneironaut

There is a strange story that the Centaur, Chiron, though immortal, was willing to die for him and that he was allowed to do so.


Into waking death, which is the gateway
into the realm of dreams, beyond sleep, he
greeted me fresh of face, eager to please
with his ability to heal and take

from every gained ill its crippling pain.
Blind to its appeal, though he sees the greed
of this world better, still, than even we
who seek, after its approval remains

unable to fulfill, this fading ache
of the soul we call living—when we steal
glimpses of the whole we envision piece-
meal, uncomfortable how long it takes

to perceive what he already can make
us all feel—in those moments do we meet.
I close my eyes, let fall the curtains each
of their lids, intuit the place to lay


the burdens of my head, and pray and wait
for him to appear. Somewhere in between
weakness of flesh and strength of will, only
what is needed prevails—from among days

do nights reveal how more luminous lakes
are, moonlit enough to spill silvery
spindles of mercury thread his feet speed
across to tread toward me lying safe

in my bed. Spools of cotton mist breath paints
his lips with, shoes of his hooves flash, wasting
no time passing over the bridge Hermes
his chronicler says divides moth from flame.

This attraction unites opposites, pays
homage to heaven’s hands which for many
days that, truly, were hundreds of years, teamed
together to build these temples they made


for gods to enter in the form of fate’s
chosen people. Together, our bodies
and our minds open fully to receive
one another, to believe—without shame

or fear—in something greater than what brave
heroes bear on their way, shouldering big
labours as they soldier closer to feats
of strength only myth can anticipate.

This traveller, his own wounds tell of graves’
mouths his own closed with a sound, the singing
with sweetest intent his lips poured honey
from. In my astral ascent from the waste-

land of dry, tired bones, Chiron, who mistakes
no one, bore me forthwith to his grove deep
below the shadow of consciousness. ‘Speak
not,’ he said, ‘of wanting this gift love wakes.’

1Edith Hamilton, “Chapter III[:] How the World and Mankind Were Created”, in “Part One[:] The Gods, the Creation, and the Earliest Heroes” of Mythology: Illustrated by Steele Savage, published at New York by Back Bay Books in 1998; page 92.