The Hanged Man

1 March 2017


The Hanged Man, Alexandra Eldridge

from the Tarot

1. The Hanged Man
One day you came upon a dangling man
hung from a wooden gibbet, human fig
ripening on the branch, a dangling man
tied hand and foot and jerking out a jig.
“One day my universe flipped downside up,
and all my pasts became this present, tense,”
he said, “and now like an upended cup
hung from a hook, I wait here in suspense
to see what falls or rises in my eyes
where up and down and foot and crown are mixed.
Perhaps In Hell the fallen angel flies.
Perhaps all broken things are crucifixed.
Perhaps the trees are roots and I am you.
It all depends upon your point of view.”

2. The Hanged Man Reversed
“It all depends on you, your reading eye.
Perhaps the trees are roots that claw the sky.
Perhaps you thought I grimaced when I smiled.
Perhaps atonal music has begun
and my bound feet aren’t tied, but dancing wild.
Perhaps what’s strung up is no longer strung.
Mercy’s a thing on which so much depends.
It all depends on you, how you see me,
how down the page your reading gaze descends,
whether the fish are birds and I am free,
whether the sky’s a lake and earth a cloud,
whether my rattle is a laugh out loud,
whether you see yourself here in the mirror,
whether I’ve left and you’re left hanging, here.”

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