Royal Oak

A few years ago I began digging into various writings on anthropology, from The Golden Bough forward & back.  One of many things which fascinated me was the resemblance between archaic kingship rituals, from around the world, and the rites of Christianity.  It's a strange way of putting it, I know - but in some ways it seems as though the early Christians had struck a taproot leading back into human prehistory.  The story of Christ's "kingdom" (or anti-kingdom) and sacrifice - his giving of his "body & blood" in the Eucharist - was like a reflection of prehistoric human social rituals.  The King always "stood for" the God, or the Source of all goodness : he was the channel of the life-force (anthropologist A.M. Hocart expressed this quasi-governmental role of archaic kingship in his classic study Kings and Councillors).

It's as if the Biblical testimony - itself stretching back into earliest Judaism, offering a cosmological picture of the source of life - was reflected in a kind of "royal seal" or template : a gold coin with two sides, showing Past and Future...


The soul’s a kind of mirror, they
used to say – the old
mystical sheepfold;
you’ll find it on baptism day

refracted in an oval, seen
through water.  Incidental
angels rim the cave-wall
(all elongate, string-bean

apparitions, seraphim)
till harvest ripens
& a scythe descends
dividing wheat from empty flim-

flam... everlasting Judgement
Day.  That Galilean
gospeller, Samoan
wrestler, flipped oval Testament

into tight spring – a seventh wave
reversed the Jordan-flow,
the eye of Moses-kayak now
recursive back to Adam’s grave

(SW of Lake Victoria,
no doubt).  My Mirror Lakes
were Mendelssohn out-takes,
rehearsals for a Globe-historia –

the young king, hidden in an oak tree
still, waits for his mother’s
signalclimbs from a mummer’s
moth-shroudfloats to the Sea...

Descendant of the Royal oak at Boscobel House (courtesy of Wikipedia)

No comments: