Post-weekend Poetry 113: Before the Sacrifice by Phillip A Ellis

PhillipWelcome to Post-weekend Poetry and the one hundred and thirteenth poem in this series. This week’s piece sees the return of Phillip Ellis.

Before the Sacrifice

Satellites, aflame, have fallen
as a star calling, with light torn away,
as cattle alighting a trail
towards the endless ocean,
lowing with fear in their breath
at that which draws nigh,
that senseless shedding of blood
that bewilders,
a glacier that momentarily eclipses
the fire that dwelt,
was felt in their lives.
O fellow pyres,
you are alive still
in mine own fennel heart and words,
forevermore caught in flesh and air,
the fire.


I asked Phillip what prompted this piece and he said…

There is one central image that triggered this poem, the holocaust, the sacrifice of a vast number of cattle in the name of religion. This brought me to think of the language around Hellenic Greek sacrifices, the rituals which ensured the cattle signified assent to their deaths, and it spread to other images (the fennel, for example, used to hide the fire that Prometheus gave to humanity). Combine with the allegorical meaning of fire in Swedenborgianism, and the whole came together.


Fantastic imagery. Thank you, Phillip.

Phillip A. Ellis is a critic, poet and scholar. His work includes The Flayed Man, Symptoms Positive and Negative and Arkham Monologues, and has forthcoming collections from Atlantean Press, Diminuendo Press and Hippocampus Press. He edits Melaleuca, studies community services, and lives near Tweed Heads, Australia. His website is


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