[Rotting Silver] “Simile of the Open Queen” by B. T. Newberg

This Earth may be compared to a queen who declared her body’s love open to all.

She sent her animals to call those who had been invited to her bed, but none would come.

Again, she sent her servants, saying, “Tell those who have been invited: Look, I have prepared my bed with green leaves, I have lined my eyes with dew, sweetened my breath with daffodils, and decorated my dark skin with sprouting things.”

Then nine came to call upon the Earth. Of the nine, one neglected her while another took her roughly. A third took her weight and measure, and a fourth sang of her from afar. The fifth and sixth fought over her. The seventh cut the locks of her hair. The eighth made her lie down to be walked upon as a carpet. And the ninth made poetry and went away.

For the Earth has many callers, but few lovers. The nine left her tired, worn out, bitten, and bedraggled. Yet the servants are still spreading her promise:

“Look, I have prepared my bed for all. Come. None shall I refuse.”


Rotting Silver is a column devoted to this Earth in all its tarnished radiance: poetry, prose, and parables of ugliness alloyed with joy.

This piece was first published at The Witch’s Voice.

The Author

B. T. Newberg

B. T. Newberg:  Since the year 2000, B. T. has been practicing meditation and ritual from a naturalistic perspective. He currently volunteers as Education Director for the Spiritual Naturalist Society, where he is creating an online course in naturalistic spirituality. His writings can also be found at Patheos and Pagan Square, as well as right here at HP.

Professionally, he teaches English as a Second Language.  After living in Minnesota, England, Malaysia, Japan, and South Korea, he currently resides in St Paul, Minnesota, with his wife and cat.

After founding HumanisticPaganism.com in 2011 and serving as managing editor till 2013, he now serves as advising editor, and feels blessed to be a part of this community.

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