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Last updated:
May 2008

  Pirene's Fountain

 A Journal of Poetry

In the lore of Greek myths, naiad Pirene was grief-stricken by the death of her son, Cenchrias. She dissolved into a fountain of tears outside the gates of Corinth. It was said the essence of a naiad was tied to her spring; she could no longer exist if the spring dried up, as is often the case with inspiration and poetry. Pirene’s fountain was one of three springs associated with Pegasus, and was sacred to the muses, who drank of the waters for fresh inspiration.

At Pirene’s Fountain, it is our hope that we can share of each other’s knowledge, and in the spirit of Ancora Imparo –“ I am still learning,” open our hearts and minds to inspiration.

After ice melts out from slumbers of a long winter, we find inspiration from the songs of trees, the ancient sentinels of the earth. Sap begins to rise through veins and leaves spark greenfire, bringing about life again. It was said the hoary oaks whispered secrets of balance in rhythms of re-birth and renewal.

The “Tree of Life” is a widespread motif in many myths around the world. In Japan’s Shinto religion, the goddess Amaterasu saw her reflection in the mirror hanging from the Sakaki tree and was drawn from her cave, restoring light to the heavens and the earth.

In Egyptian mythology, the gods sat upon a Sycamore fig, while the Bhagavad-Gita of India describes the Asvattha, growing with its roots in the heavens, its trunk and branches extending down to earth.

In Australia, Warlpiri aborigines believe that souls accumulate in trees and wait for a likely woman to pass by so that they can jump out and be born.

The sacred Rowan of Scottish tradition was one of nine woods burnt in the druids’ Beltaine fire. They burnt Rowans in rites of divination and purification and to invoke spirits. Ancients considered it the “Tree of Bards”, bringing gifts of inspiration. Rowans were guarded by dragons, it was said, and the Sidhe were rumored to have brought its seeds from faerie land itself.

Greek poet Orpheus carried willow branches to the underworld. Apollo gave him a lyre with a sound box carved from willow wood. Besides the numerous practical purposes of trees, they have always held spiritual significance; two sacred trees, the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge, appear in the Bible.

As a result of the depredations to our planet, there is a real danger to these providers of shade, fruit and innumerable gifts. We celebrate their beauty, and the life and serenity they symbolize in hopes that their songs will not entirely be lost to us.

The Rowans

He found them at the pit;
two fragile seedling trees
on the barren slag

They must have spoken to him
in their spindly voices
we struggle here
for he bore them home
cradled in his empty lunch box

Given foothold
in corners of the lawn
they grew prodigiously
in the love of the old miner

One grew faster
with boughs to climb
berries to pea-shoot
bark to smell
knotty roots and
shady leaves

The other grew slower
an accidental bonsai
with all the beauty of its brother
but none of its stature

Then my grandfather died

The first thing
the new residents did
was cut them down

Thirty years gone
in the buzz of a chainsaw

Oliver Lodge, February: 2007




Yggdrasil: The World Tree
Yggdrasil, the mighty ash of Norse mythology, linked and sheltered all the worlds.