Mountain Dreaming Giant

The sleeping giant slowly wakes

into the mountain dawn;

his morning glory

exposed in silhouette

as he lies stretched

across the summit

looking out at fading stars;

arms folded

behind his head,

wings cascading

down the olive slopes,

in this, his eternal resting place.

No longer does

he sweep the Cretan

landscape three times a day,

protecting the island from

pirates and marauders,

or adventurers like

Jason and his Argonauts

No longer does he

hurl rocks

down into the Agean Sea,

sinking ships

before they ever land.

This is Talos

who, enchanted by nymphs

and nature spirits

dancing with the water

running over granite stones

along the bottom

of the Topolia Gorge,

felt a murmur where his heart

should have been.

Talos, the bronze automatron

crafted by the Minoans,

(or maybe even Zeus himself

as a gift for King Minos,)

with liquid metal flowing

along one great vein

to give him life.

The soft sounds

of the rushing river

which rang out the hypnotic

song of Britomartis,

the mountain goddess,

sent Talos into

a semi-spinning trance

in this hidden place,

full of mystery.

How tired he was

of hurling rocks

and guarding, ever watchful,

over Crete.

How he longed to simply lie down

and dream a bronze age dream.

Up he climbed

into the enchanted cave of

Agia Sophia

where a small spider, industrious,

unique amongst all spiders

had made this cathedral of

stalagmites and stalagtites her own.

She dropped onto his shoulder

and whispered in his ear:

‘Talos my love, you are so tired,

you need to rest.

Let me weave this bed of silk

right here

for you to sleep

your great bronze sleep.

For this night you will dream

in the colour of creation;

instead of blackness

there will be soft light filled with

the scent of orange blossoms

blown in on the warm winds of Africa,

and the sound of the swallows

as they skim across pools

catching insects

in the valley below.

You will dream of the eagle’s

wing as she soars on thermal

currents above crag faced cliffs

and mountain peaks,

circling with her mate as they

hunt for food

to bring home

to the nest.

You will dream of the olive grove

clinging strong on the hillside,

the sheep bells clinking

through the trees as they head

for fresh pastures.

You will dream of the old toad

on the islet at Elafonisi,

who hides from the sun

in the cool hollow trunk

of the Spiny tree

and the loggerhead turtle

laying her eggs

in the sand dune above

the crystal clear

azure lagoon.

You will dream,

you will dream

you WILL dream."

Talos lay down on his bed of silk,

so soft against his metal skin,

drifting as the spider

sang in his ear.

His heart,

or the place

that his heart would

have sat, were he

flesh and bone,

started to beat

a steady dream-like beat.

Indeed, he dreamed of

all the things

the spider sang,

as she spun out the stories

of the Topolia Gorge

I am the mother of all your mothers

a voice echoed in his head.

He glanced sideways and spied

a woman, majestic, strong, refined

sat upon the rock beside him.

She was a shapeshifter, a sorceress,

with snakes in her hair

or so her long unruly mass of

curls seemed

in the half-light of his trance.

This was Medea;

he'd heard of her power

in this land of the snake goddess,

the sorceress whose chariot

was pulled by dragons.

"I can turn you into an immortal man."

His heart space beat a little faster

"I have the skills to make the fire

in your belly

reach into your loins

and you will become a god.

Lie with me Talos and

I will make you an immortal,

no longer a metal giant

without a heart

but a holy man mountain,

who will feel the warmth of the sun

every day as he wakes

to make love in all his glory

in my fertile valleys.

No more hurling rocks,

instead hurling your heartbeat

into this land to keep it green.

All you have to do is let me

unblock your vein so your molten

metal life force will spill into the

cave and turn to gold, and you

will have a heart."

The snakes by her side were dancing

as she spoke so softly to him,

stroking his stiff metal limbs

and climbing onto his mighty thighs.

She was right, of course,

this was his chance to wake

up into his dream of becoming

sacred flesh, a god

with a beating heart,

a mountain so fertile

that every Spring

his new heart would

burst in floral joy,

remembering  how

he dreamed it into being.

No more smashing rocks.

As his heart beat faster

Medea pulled the nail

from his ankle,

and the molten bronze became

blood gold as it spilled

onto the earth.

As his life drained away,

he spun out of the cave,

flying high with the eagles

to the top of the mountain.

There he lies still,

in all his morning glory,

dreaming of that night in the cave,

with the spider spinning

visions of Medea,

who each morning

climbs on top

with her snake skin dance

to warm his mountain heart.

Talos has become an immortal.