Plumed Serpent, Morning Star

by Wesley Lambert

O feathered, ancient serpent
a dream of Mexico's past
Time whispers your many names—
Kukulcan, Venus, Long Nose;
Quetzalcoatl, Plumed One.

Fair-skinned; bearded;
not quite a god—
more than a man.

Your conical headdress and
sea-shelled garments, the luster
of pearl, sing of your skill in
imagination's forging.

The Aztecs looked upon you
at eventide and daybreak,
for you are the Evening and
Morning Stars, one and the same.

When twilight dusks the sky,
and other stars peek out
to claim night's dominion,
you pierce them and give chase,
wage war with those who dare
to overwhelm the sun.
And as assailants fall
dormant, wink out, and fail,
you are their destroyer.
The first star in the sky;
the last star in the sky—
before the sun rises,
escaping his captors,
safe under your vigil.

Once you deigned to touch down
and dwell amongst mortal men.
You saw hands tied behind backs
bound for a dripping altar,
a glutton for sacrifice.
You abhorred such foul practice
and decreed that it should end.
Peace came to fabled Tula,
City of the Many Spires.
Brooks chuckled and birds warbled
‘neath trees who reveled in blooms.

Yet priests reinstated those
offerings of sacrifice,
enslaved to the rituals
of mightier, elder gods.

Lush trees twisted into mesquite.
All the birds took wing, flew away.

Kukulcan fled in weariness,
toppled from his throne of power,
stripped of a millennium's reign
in a dark, blood-lusting hour.

He graced a burning pyre with his body,
ascended back to heaven in a plume
of smoke, shaped just like a serpent's sleek coils.

And there, once more, he drew the brilliant guise
of the Morning Star, ever more to rise.
He promised to return, someday, some when—
to end the kingship of harsh mortal men.

Copyright © 2004, Wesley Lambert


Wesley Lambert's prose or poetry has appeared in many online and print publications, such as: Paradox, Neverary, Naked Snake Online, Dragons, Knights, and Angels, KidVisions, The Dark Krypt, Amaze, Book of Dark Wisdom, Hadrosaur Tales, Flashshot, Scifaikuest, From the Asylum, Contemporary Rhyme, Ancient Paths, Whispering Spirits, Astounding Tales, Amazing Journeys, Between Kisses, Aoife's Kiss, and Dark Legacy, among many others. He lives and works in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, and welcomes comments at:

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Image courtesy of NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (NASA-JPL)