Oriflamme

Sometimes I ask for a vision or a beginning phrase in the morning before rising, something from the nightside to bring waking dreams into the day. This morning, I saw and heard horses–many of them, ‘massing.’ Everything always means more than one thing, so they were gathering in numbers like troops, but for a ritual purpose–some sort of dedicatory mass. The word ‘oriflamme’ spoke itself as I saw the letters form in my mind’s field of vision. Nothing else–I had no idea what to expect when I sat down to work. What you see next is what happened:

9 January 2021

4

I Call My Own

The horses are massing along the near border–the wild ones, who never would tolerate men.

How distinctive, the sound of your voice in the uproar–it carries me back to the way we were then,

when our general sense of our place in the herd was still largely untested. It’s been tested since.

Between us, we’ve borne a hard workload of speakable torture–enough to make any saint wince.

A rider on one of the horses–he cannot be mortal; the horse would not bear such a one–

has suddenly raised up the true bloody standard–the oriflamme–under which no horses run

but the ones who, afire with the spiteful unholiness mothered in heat by the sunless resolve

of a species of ongoing horrible story behind the red flag sacred forces devolve

into shuddering chaos–and then–complete silence. Nobody fallen will rise up again.

When she goes out after dark and walks ever so carefully down the red dead-body lane

overarched once by high orchard-branches in flower–now she will never see petals drift down

or their earlier vast pollen-clouds–she has only a long hollow pathway through scenes grey and brown

crooked columns of refrozen snow for the moment, a sad way to go for a nymph of the spring.

Maybe by day’s end she’ll lie so surrounded by hooves, she’ll be swimming, red flag on the wing

in the dust of the road as it runs into ditch-water, drowned either side–Was she destined to lie

beating away, like the heart of a bird on the back of a mare through a lunar-blue sky–

Those horses would never consort with the likes of mere mortals before–is there change in the air?

Only the Moon in her eyes showed the blinsight behind her how flourishing–how sweetly fair–

her kind face in the dreams of the weary combatants, resting between painful breaths on a name–

and then raising the standard again–this one blue as the Moon in the time of the healing blue flame

that awoke her before it was dawn to the masses. The horses as were, children born to one mare,

were carrying well-laden branches of apples and blossom together and climbing the stair–

the first took forever–and then the next series in spiraling form as they swarmed higher still,

gathering pace with their own slackened reins in their teeth as they laughed and let love work its will.

When apples turn red in the Sun of late summer, but blossoms keep coming, and winter no more,

she sits by the fire with her children all round her and tells them the tales of imperial lore

and the legions and standards–how heavy the battles, and how long the wars and their failing campaigns–

and the flags trodden dead underfoot by the maidens whose mother means nightmare to those who want reins–

along somebody else’s stretched neck–but pure kindness of gentle regard as the weather turns mild

in the fresh air of blossoming spring to the lovers who first came this way seeking after a child

who ran laughing before them and led them to–learn how the lore of strange weather can turn on a line

of such vanishing fineness–She tells you, the horses–they’ve never loved men–but for one I call mine.

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Epiphany

Everything grew too much over the holidays because of the neighborhood issue I have alluded to earlier, and it affected my health pretty badly. Friends recognized that I was beyond merely stressed out, and got help for me. All’s well, but it was a very strange passage, and I am still partly in the middle of it. The lesson so far is–gratitude, obviously–but something else as well.

This is something I have been trying to articulate for a while. We all want big-time Enlightenment, Revelation, whatever you prefer to call it; if we are on an active spiritual path at all, of course the big show is on our list. But we know to look out for the great in the small at all times, because that is how spirit usually comes through. Simple to say; more difficult to enact.

My insight runs along these lines, but it focuses specifically on beauty. ‘Beauty.’ The Beauty of the Romantic Poets. I respond to it, even though I have never really known what it is. I now wish to reconsider whatever I might have thought I knew.

‘Beauty’ was special, exceptional by definition. It meant something that was aesthetically perfect, or nearly so. Ordinary people with pleasant, attractive features could be pretty, but not really beautiful, because beauty would not mean anything if there were that much of it. So I screened out most of humanity when I considered The Beautiful. And most of everything else, as well, always holding out for something really rare. That would be a sign that I was right in my ideas, and should carry on screening.

And then I went on a several-decades-long poetic journey. And–here I am. Having seen and heard more amazing outlandish beauty than I will ever have time to slow down and talk about in prose. And wanting little more than to be ordinary and do ordinary things among people who never screened all that out in favor of something supernally weird. Or better still, people who did, but returned successfully, and now see what they were looking for everywhere they turn.

The point was not the rare, perfect, complete, enduring Beauty. The point, if there even is one, is simple that Beauty is everywhere. No one is perfect, and wouldn’t stay that way if they were. But the world is full of perfect, beautiful wrists, and eyelids, and little fingers, and little, unbearably perfect square-inch bit of skin behind knees and so on and on forever. The great is in the small. Tiny lawn flowers are as wise as roses and lotuses and far more likely to cross your path in a friendly way.

But there’s knowing, and there’s knowing. It’s all reverberating pretty strongly for me right now; it will sink in. When it has, I intend to watch out for the beautiful when it signals from any place, and weave it in. As always. But more consciously. And patiently. Poems always get there first.

6 January 2021

1

Epiphany

She sat with her head down for such a long time I grew worried, but when she looked up and all round,

she saw mirror-images–plate-glass and spheres that were silvered in slivers and smashed on the ground,

and she understood all in a flash from the smooth curving razor-sharp side of an orb as once was–

there’s a margin for lyrical error, but knowing the beautiful is as the beautiful does–

that is cheerfully–everywhere here in her suddenly-recognized presence–like snow on the lawn,

a drift of unknowable numbers become solemn innocence littered by gathering dawn-

light sparking the literal millions of angles held out as to capture the warmth coming through–

with no thought of thawing, just innocent knowledge of oceans of rain and soft, new-fallen dew–

and I understood what she was seeing as well: The horizon’s too far and the light is too strong;

the few who can carry their own lantern there nearly never return with a full line of song;

they dwindle their scanty resources as fast as they rush to discover they aren’t even there,

the sensitive singers who dreamt of a throng of admirers who’d find them alight in mid-air,

and then soared through the flames in the brief middle-distance and fell to the Earth in a thin rain of ash.

This is no nurturing substance; it leaves a faint stain, then it fades; it’s a fallen eyelash

on the face that’s been turned to the last place it countenanced beauty–so precious and rare, was it real?

Only the last gleam of faraway starlight behind her fine profile permits her to feel

it might rise again from the stray bits that shine where the early Sun strikes for an instant–if she

waits patiently nurturing faith beyond faith that the Light she once saw is the light she will see–

if he opens his own eyes the way he’s been waiting to know his long vigil will soon end in tears

as the beauty he dreamt of beholding has oceans within it whose rising will soothe–weary years….

Then she nodded again, and her lowered eyes stared at the tiny white flowers amidst the glass snow.

Forming a web shooting out like chain-lightning–wherever she looked, bits of beauty would glow,

the living in league with the lovely man-made, on a green stretch of lawn she once danced on–and would.

Then she’ll walk on and grow weary all over again, but the end of the story is good

as foretold–because she’s brought her whole will and shoulder to drive it toward nothing less–and she’s won

enough of a gallant concession the sky of the midnight stretched over her wants to let run

till he’s visible, leaking a little strange light from a far lyric province known only to him–

and its rightful inhabitants. Maybe they tell their own tales of the visitor, one slightly dim

by their standards, but brilliant for having discovered so much of their secretive journeys and ways–

as well as the dreamt-of location where someone sat watchfully waiting, her own wreaths and lays

having long been prepared for his eerie arrival–the tiny spark-lights, in the grass, on the ground–

A beautiful stranger reveals his true face in each one. When she listens, the faces resound.

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Christmas Eve Blessings

This has been a bit of a mixed holiday so far, but that’s all right. I’m not Christian, so it isn’t really mine anyway. Christmas is meaningful to me, though, and I always like to dedicate some work time to drinking in the spirit. Christmas Eve is especially sacred. So many devout souls are praying all at the same time for the birth of the Prince of Peace. The Kingdom of Heaven feels a bit closer. We might still heal, after all.

Because of neighborhood conflicts mentioned earlier, this has been a season of mixed blessings. The process of pushing back has cost me a great deal of anxiety and stressed, and caused me to do some hard and deep thinking. I can feel so many influences at play. At this point, I can pretty much do one thing, as you see here. I am an unworldly person who has no intention of becoming an activist at this late date–I am far more of a quietist! But I can dedicate my work to the service of healing, and that is what I have done.

This is an audacious thing to say, within the hearing of others. It scares me a bit. It involves a commitment to listen a lot longer when others are telling their stories, for one thing. I have always preferred to work alone and to get inspiration through cracks and sidelong glimpses–‘leaks.’ That might never change, but I remember what it was like years ago when I was less reclusive, and everyone wanted to talk about their exceptional experiences. Such strange things happen every day. I want to work toward healing peace and quiet, within and without, for every person who needs it to be able to hear the voice of their spirit and soul. Spirit whispers back, it’s coming closer. When the present peace is healed, peace will heal you.

Still not a true believer–I just sit down to work and let it happen. This happened today:

24 December 2020

24

Healing Peace

We’ll search every world for the most healing magic and tender it carefully here, where you hurt.

You’ll feel it the moment we’ve safely retrieved it from where it’s been hiding in deep graveyard dirt–

in the body of land at the heart of the most shadowed forest. She’s humming her most soothing song,

and she has been since healing began. You are here because you have been hearing her hum all along.

And yet–if she still hasn’t found it, and still isn’t satisfied–what could remain so amiss?

Once you lay dreaming a scene of late August, an overcast sky, and a feeling of bliss

that not quite overcame you but gathered in waves until you were the shore and the shore flowed away.

She’ll hold you within an ecstatic embrace when the healing that hides in the vision at play

in the fields of the most fertile mind has been harvested root, branch and seed, and prepared for your use.

See your original essence restored–though we’ll spare you the scars of the well-plaited noose

that gave rise to a more florid vision of beauty between air and land, where the light becomes strange

and vast hosts of memories reach forth and beckon and each one might mean a new way to derange

what been balanced precariously for too long–but discriminate wisely, with help you can feel

leaking through between fibers of linen and wool and the wood you were made of, a tree made of steel

to the lightning that sought you but struck its own self. Then the tree becomes supple and yielding once more

when the storm passes by but the rain settles in and it’s warm here inside; let the wild weather pour

all it has. When it’s over, we’ll gathered the vessels cast over the sand, little bowls of grown shell

in which we shall collect and preserve–more than ever, you need our protection; we’ll tender it well,

but you also must listen as hard as you’re able: The salve will leak through every hour of the day,

but it works so much better if you are receptive to words not your own and the prayers others pray

when they also are drawn to and over the border of what they can bear and what must happen next.

All the best blossoms alive in the glade between letters and words in the lines of a text

that was borne across fields by a desperate woman who woke in the earliest hours sick at heart

because she was within the grim reach of a place where foul vapors pronounced their intent–darkness art–

extracted and purified many times over till so many strong healing elements swam

to the surface and waiting hands swept them toward open shells–you’ll soon learn how devoted I am

to the work we’ve been doing together; it’s grown so much harder since we have seemed parted; we’re not.

Look to the droplet of luminous oil in the lamp of the shell and, with stillness at thought,

wait–only silently wait for the moment. Balm of the last world we’ve yet to create,

precious, extractable inherent substance beneath the sad skin of your present lorn fate–

listen to what you’ve become in the meantime, between open air and the landing below.

If time once betrayed you, it’s now in your favor. You’ve healing now leaking–but soon in full flow.

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Signal to Noise

In my dream-awake mode of composing poetry, almost anything can be made good use of. Interruptions from the day-world are not precisely welcome, but they can be incorporated into a story–sometimes. Other times, they come as hostile acts–perhaps directly from unkind human beings, perhaps from something more abstract and pervasive that deliberately inserts itself between pray-er and pray-ee, artist and inspiration. Anyone reading here already knows what I mean.

The work I have shared here comes readily if a few conditions are met. One of these is that the time before me be open-ended, so I can lose track and get lost in the work, should that happen. Another is that my environment must be quiet enough that I can stay focused. These are both a problem because a local business neighbor is extremely loud on a regular basis, doing something completely unnecessary to their success. My neighbors and I are trying to get them to stop. They did it again today, so we are not being listened to.

The daily needless disruption is serious and the attitude behind it is worse. To be shown, over and over, how unimportant and meaningless mere human lives are when a business is just operating as usual is a bitter lesson to learn again no matter how cynical one already was. Please understand–this is not a huge corporation; we all know each other. They would tell you they are progressive, community-minded people. A lot of life-force is being sapped from me by the anger this causes, even though I thought I knew how to protect myself. In story-lore, I’m up against the bare edge of something old and ugly that hates everything beautiful, and it has noticed my work and will stop me if it can. The current struggle over offensive noise is the real-life story behind some of the themes in the poems. We know all stories have dark passages and dangerous characters. This conflict is affecting my life and health too directly. What does it matter how many times I can sit down to compose and retrieve yet another presto-change-o happy ending, if the obstacle of needless noise that squats in my path will not go away? Will it continue until I am too ill to work? There’s no place to move to beyond the sound, and anyway, should I have to?

This sharing is part of the process of caring more directly and effectively for the quiet and peaceful folk of this world, the ones who still know their souls and what can happen when apparent separation is no more. In the best of all worlds, no one would knowingly harm another because they know they would also be harming themselves. This world could be better today if we could trust one another to live by that now.

I cannot trust the loud business neighbors, but some of the others are lovely, and do their own beautiful work. We will rescue something good out of this struggle–but never forget that we should not have to. We will all work and live more happily when peace is restored, as we did before it was broken. Even the loud ones will, too. If only they understood what their unkindness is doing to themselves. We at least will heal, somehow.

Please light a candle for the kind, good people of this world to be held in peace till they find their way Home.

Blessed Holidays to you all.

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Solstice Fires

A joyful Solstice to all!

Lately, most days I set to work with a bit of a vision or dream-blip to start with. Today I had nothing in particular, so that’s what I began with. Immediately, I started seeing ferns–lots of them, a fringe many yards deep around the edge of a forest. No more than that at first, and then….

Rain poured down all night, and hasn’t yet let up. It’s good to be inside where it’s warm and safe. Heat of the Sun, heat of the core of the Earth, and those of us who require temperate and watery conditions trying to find a place in between–such are my Solstice thoughts. The moment of Solstice has already passed; the Moon is still waxing.

Dreams have often sparked poems, but I don’t have much dream recall these days. So, I dream awake. As with sleep dreams, anything is grist. Solstice, solstice fires; my neighbor has been casting beautiful iridescent bowls out of molten bismuth, and one is on my altar; a dear old friend was an all-around smith–black, silver, gold; my family’s story and mine began in the cave-riddled karstal mountains of West Virginia, where fossil ferns are often discovered in seams of coal. And, as they are lovers, the story of Venus and Vulcan lends an ancient aura to the overall scheme. Some very, very old trouble still keeps them from their full waking reunion, but we are remembering as fast as we dare.

Have I explained about ‘the wires and lies of the mind?’ This is a long-recurring image. Many of us who have had liminal experiences consider the physical brain and nervous system to be receiving devices rather than originators of awareness. Radios, in a sense, carrying a message from afar. The condition of the body and brain affects the clarity and accuracy of reception, so if all is not well, broken and mistaken ideas can take the place of genuine understanding. The ego-mind is subject to confusion and often lies to itself to protect its perceived safety and comfort, but the lies won’t stand long-term. Best to remain a bit detached from the whole process whilst it’s under way. Easier said, but it can be done. We’ve been working on stripping out the lying wires for a long time; the poems are evidence of that.

21 December 2020

21

Coal-Fern

How different the world will have seemed, all our false dreams discarded and wires all unwound and pulled out.

There’s only the one stream with meaningful winding; the clear running water that flows round about

the stones of the path at its deepest depression will never stop moving downhill till it’s carved

a series of beautiful chambers, a seemingly endless array of glad rooms to lie, starved

and half-paralyzed, buried inside–any dim hope of rescue a sad superstition–no good.

All down the mountain and under it, hard rains of winter wash over the evergreen wood

on the slopes of its sides and the caverns below. There’s no world but a language made visible here.

Under these very old trees grow the others, more ancient by many a long cosmic year–

split a seam in the coal that threads all through this region, and find what remains of the forest here still.

These were all evergreen leaves; every season they cast a green glamor. Your eyesockets fill

with emerald light when your look at them lingers. They’ve so much to show you, you can’t look away.

What will you know when you go home again that you didn’t know then and don’t know yet today?

Where the fields were electric with after-storm glow and the trees swayed in winds like the breathings of souls

the two of us lay in a glow of pale twilight, our pulses as hectic as cantering foals

over swards of particular foliage–how will I tell you, the memory haunts me too hard–

they ran through the ferns to the trees where they turned and eyes met and engaged and with sharpened hooves sparred.

They hated this part of the story the moment they knew they were living it over again.

Blood on the leaves and the ground and their garments were rent and their own very flesh bore the stain

of the dreadful mistake they seemed doomed to repeat for the ten thousandth time in the very same–cave,

down where the coal-seams of forests that were serve as world long enough for a soul with no grave

and no gravity anywhere plain earthly daylight has touched with its powers of odd inverse sleep.

Only in this soothing bourne of the beautiful softness of eve’s casting shadows that creep

through the dreams of the lovers who’ve grown far more vivid for having lain nightly in love’s search for lore,

watching the coal-fires glow through the stone where the ghost of lost sunlight’s been minding its store,

and only among the long-memoried fronds of a summer that turned into winter but not

into colorless darkness–will glorious gardens recall them to why this glad land was their lot,

even all the sad while a drawn wire made of metal it still doesn’t recognize–grew hot and glowed

till it melted like snow and the river resulting ran under the mountain and there overflowed

the old banks of the earlier stream-course. It still isn’t water–that takes cosmic years–yet to run–

but these lovers are tireless when stories unfold like the leaves of the trees and the ferns in the Sun

at the heart of the underworld’s first smelting furnace. Who with a crucible works without rest

where living ferns blaze out of coal and resume being beautiful, deep in your own burning breast?

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Lunacy

Lunacy

The piece to follow came yesterday, after a hypnagogic vision in the morning. The vision was very simple, but clear: I glanced down at my hand, and noticed a small, vividly green caterpillar walking across my skin. Luna moths are among my favorite creatures, and we go back a long way, but we don’t have them where I live, and I miss them. So when I saw a green caterpillar, I thought, right, Luna, what is the phase of the Moon? Waxing crescent. The poem came swiftly after that.

This phase of Rain Harp is still new, but a few kind readers have noticed. Thank you! Most of you have something in common immediately–you are lunatics. In a good way! Your titles and avatars often feature the Moon. I’ve been a lunatic for as far back as I can remember, and that is far enough that I remember how upset I was to think of humans setting foot there, the one place we thought could never be desecrated. But poets and lunatics in general are resourceful. We tracked and mapped and discovered the source of the real Moon, the one we were always taken with, within all the sacred lore of the Moon and our own understanding. One day, there will be human extractive resource industries on the satellite that orbits the Earth. Those uninvited can never extract what they can in no way perceive.

Synchronicities and precognitive blips happen often during composition, and one of the advantages of blogging is having a place to record them publicly. As I was working yesterday, the word ‘redoubt’ came up, and I decided to check the definition because I knew it had a military usage which might affect the poem. This brought up links to articles about a film entitled ‘Redoubt,’ by a filmmaker named Matthew Barney, someone previously unknown to me. One of the first links stated that the film is a modern retelling of the myth of Diana and Actaeon. Diana–more of a Moon connection. Curious, but I was still at work. (I am deliberately experimenting with disrupting my own concentration these days, hoping to find a muscle that I can strengthen–I used to insist on working straight through without pause.) As I was composing, mention of metals came up–noble or base, thin surface plating versus a ‘live’ core. As usual, this made no particular sense in the moment, but I trust that poems know how to make themselves at this point, so it got written down. After finishing, I read more about Barney, and learned that he had become quite involved with the process of metal electroplating in his work. I turned to the topic of luna moths again, and learned that they eclose from their cocoons–hatch, that is–using their cremaster, the hook that anchors the cocoon. Matthew Barney created a huge art installation and film series in the 1990s called Cremaster. I do not recall having seen the word before.

What does all this mean? Not as much as one might suppose, usually. Most people who have observed synchronicities over time simply take them as signs that one is on the right track in the moment. Artists who are really delving deeply into their sources end up having shared sources anyway; that’s been going on as long as art itself. It pleases me to have this to share today, though, as tuned-in lunatics seem to be many around here.

Female luna moths eclose so heavy with eggs, they cannot fly. Neither the male nor the female has fully developed mouth-parts. They do not eat; they mate and die. Their lives as caterpillars are their real lives; the moth-body might as well be a fairy tale to them, for most of their time.

18 December 2020

18

Vale of the Flightless Friend

I just can’t imagine, I started to say–but I can, since it’s happening; simply work back

from what’s right here in front of you, pay close attention, let the thing lead you along its own track

to your sad present person, and there’ll come an answer to what you imagine will be–a mistake

if you go it alone, but a glad sort of venture if someone goes with you. You’ve lore to un-fake;

great hoardings of various ancient made-objects with valuable properties, though some aren’t real,

and you need them to teach you their qualities willingly; rummage around amid ashes and feel

what’s magnetic and what is perhaps noble metal by how it affects first your skin, then the nerves

underneath, where they carry the rapidest messages: This is no more than a worker deserves

who is steadfast as you–feast your eyes on the glitter of mounded-up crystals and faceted glass,

and know what grew deepest in earth and what mattered at last after someone made pass after pass

at the formula bringing a spectrum of wonderful colors through fire to your eyes and your room.

Earth taught you first the combining of elements under duress in the hot smoky gloom

of the chamber of secrets–the final redoubt in which change is inevitable and immense.

Summon the part of your mind that’s been wandering–this is about to make terrible sense

of the questions you’ve been incubating all winter as if they were little round luminous seeds

searching patiently where they were laid as if you were the garden and they, the long pathway that leads

to a realization about to break through the thin sharp surface-plating and touch the live core

where you’ve always been waiting, vibrating with endless excitement that all the most genuine lore

of your long lives combined has been safely contained in a silken enclosure like skin, but not yours.

When you go back to visit the store-room some time in the future, bring your next search out of doors;

you’ll have found it before you’ve drawn breath, let alone turned the latch to admit you where nothing remains

but some rough brittle fibers surrounding a blank hollow chamber. Recall your own long birthing-pains

every moment the heart in you beats on too rapidly; then only look to the leaves nearest by–

and what you can’t see is the reason he wants you so much. The green lover who’s learned how to fly

has but one fierce desire that will drive him to find her wherever she waits with her burden to share.

She knows where she is, but she’s scared to move forward; there’s glass litter, jewelry, an odd metal air

that makes breathing an unsought adventure, and finally–there–all the rest was but ash the wind’s blown

away, and it’s left us a virtual palace of magical artifacts. You’re not alone

with the sorting to follow; he’s circling over your head by a few scanty inches, or less.

After the eeriest series of changes, he’s still as spring-green as he was; would you bless

the ground, or the air that supports him, as long as it kept you in beauty the length of his tale?

All is not mere metal gold; even now, there’s a luna moth over the gloom of this vale.

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The Grey

The same poetic form recurs, but the story inside varies across its domain. The lovers are parted or in desperate straits, then comes a sudden realization just when all appears lost that seemingly permits a view from the other side of the trauma and pain. Having fainted (among other altered states) many times, I have learned to focus on remaining an aware observer throughout, and have witnessed the shift into different aspects of consciousness quite plainly. As with those who have had near-death experiences–NDEs–one gains a totally different perspective on what’s been happening. It’s always peaceful there. And no one need be alone.

Then again, it’s not our lot to go to the bright world now and stay there; we pursue our work in the grey in-between.

The following piece is recent, and one I am fond of:

26 November 2020

26

The Grey Side

The side of your face, with your head on the pillow, its lace edge caressing your cheekbones and chin–

so leads me away to a shimmering break in the inclement weather where journeys begin

the hard work of a terrible cause being challenged again and again, till the weary tears fall

and it all goes to pieces because when you sigh the soft light in your eyes sends a gleam to the wall

where old warrior-shadows once passed–their own faces as grey as their dense grizzled many years’ beards.

Each of them plodding along, seeing nothing but hoping to end with the cloud-midnight wyrds

who first whispered them wakeful and ordered them, march on the land like the times when you rowed for the shore

but were never to find either reason or plunder; it’s time now you learned what your journey was for.

Hoping forlornly–but counting on nothing–they sense a vague change in the air. The wind shifts.

Out of a low heavy sky, an idea appears like a lantern a lonely hand lifts,

and its beam penetrates the dim corners in each sorry warrior’s mind–if there’s aught that remains.

Well after midnight she’s bound to go riding and witnesses then will make lyrical gains

in the knowledge of lost incantations and how to create them anew from the most ancient source.

Hard as their lives must have been, they are harder by far for the distance they’ve plodded off course,

If they hie them around, there’s no past no go back to; and if they march forward–the cliffs are close by.

And then like a flash from a mirror, the same gleam of light from your eyes came as Hush, this is why:

In each leather garment there’s one secret pocket, so secret you had to forget it yourself

lest it be wrested from you–the likeness so precious, it stayed in a box on a high mantel shelf

till the orders came through and you could not abandon it, knowing its fate was precarious there.

So every one of you, all this long column of restless ghost-walkers, kept one lock of hair,

and a profile of her whom the rest of the hair was attached to last time she was present and real.

Now you’re so lost in your own lonely story, you haven’t the heart for the hard way to feel

how much need lives within you like–ghosts in a circuit completing itself but then starting again.

Don’t ever picture the side of her face where your fingers once traced a strange map sudden rain

dissolved into vivid, unreadable marks; she might turn away if your touch is too rough.

What will you do if you’ve found her the same way a very wyrd woman’s just spoken, Enough

cicumambulance, circumlocution, and circum-un-straight-line manoevers, poor warrior soul.

All the hard marching that’s cost one more lifetime, and still you’re caught fast where you’re outstanding goal

is one hand waving back across nearly no distance. She’s always been faithful; she’ll shelter your ghost.

Each time you set out to follow wrong orders has cost you, but midnight, she’ll raise you a toast

with a cup overbrimming with cider pressed here, the glad land you’ve arrived in at last. Why the face

she turned shyly away, the first time you approached? The grey side of your own was like alien lace.

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The Lovers

The Lovers

Many years ago, when I was first really struggling to enter my full vocation, I had a vision. It’s been recounted before but, briefly, I was shown armies and then two individual soldiers fighting–who then they resolved into lovers, coupling. The Wheel was placed before me as a clock-face, with the numbers representing a soul’s journey from departure from the All to return–from amnesia to anamnesis. At the point of return, the soul and the home-love it was longing for are reunited, but even such bliss becomes stale after a while. Story-telling becomes their way of keeping each other in joy. Thus, no matter how terrible parts of the story, a satisfying ending is assured. So I was shown!

Last night as I lay awake, I thought of the vision, and how different everything is now than when it first came. I always trusted it, or tried to; now I understand it in a way I don’t have to think about. Work never required much effort, except for that needed to quell my own self-doubt. Once that was out of the way–I’ve always described the sensation as flying, or skating, or dancing, with word-flow. There’s no making anything happen; there’s only the letting it come through.

The resulting work has usually been met with a respectful but confused response from readers, so I don’t give much thought to anyone reading a piece after the fact. It is all addressed to the soul-home, and when it reaches its aim, I can feel it. Sending and receiving, to and from a place beyond clock-time–learning how to do this has been a story in itself.

There is one thing I can gesture toward as a sort of starting-point for readers, but it is controversial with me because that point is Rumi and I am not an admirer. He comes across to me as someone who learned the patterns intellectually first and then practiced using metaphors until he sounded credible, but mysticism as he represents it is similar enough to our source-garden to help with orientation here. The soul feels lost in the world, missing something–someone–and searches, crying out, until whispers in return finally get through: I’ve been here all along!

Be thoughtful of the simple dynamic that what you are searching for is searching for you, and so much falls into place. The kingdom of heaven is within, and here are some maps of the way you need not go because you are there. But have fun on the journey, because we know you’re going to do it anyway. Be sure to bring back some good stories! And remember–everything always means more than one thing. And retrieving true lore–every bit of understanding that is real and useful in more than one world–appears to be our ultimate purpose.

Here is today’s work:

Their Tales to Each Other

Sometimes, when they spiral around in the dance, they get lost in their thoughts for a moment, but soon–

alone on a platform, the coil of the rope like a crown that has fallen–no shadow at noon

when the signal is given and presto, she’s down, at the end of her rope, twitching out the last beat

of a heart so enamored of music, it’s waiting to greet her–in waltz time, and rose-honey sweet.

.Bees gathered over their honeymoon flowers and ferried them forth to the sea beyond shore.

This was a lyrical flight, exegesis not needed; they knew what they’d been sending for

when they opened their mouths, either side of the bee-loud divide between stations and serial lives

they had patiently prized from their earthly foundations and built into beautiful library-hives,

and they knew where they’d be when they’d reached it, the dreamt destination of all of those lives and their sleep.

Little by little tears falling from eyes become signals to follow upstream, where they keep

their best inspirations recorded forever in hope of the visitor each used to be.

Into the source of the fountain that warded off drought and maintained the arcane inland sea

where the sailors who venture are hardier spirits than these airy lovers, who float in mid-air–

down by the waterline, reach in a hand; if a sea-monster bites it–they won’t really care;

they’re infected already with far worse contagion; they’re bound to sail on till the lovers onboard

have been tossed off the side as a pair of dead bodies. Now pearls that were eyes line a sea-monster’s hoard.

They only remembered that passage themselves after feeling their own eyes roll back a bit far.

Rubbing a slow thoughtful hand on the scars of her sore rope-burned neck, she sighs, how fine you are,

and how blistered with infinite sunlight and rage and the flames of the pyre when my blood would not burn

my poor carcass would be, but for one healing salve brought from far overseas in a white marble urn.

There’s always a bit of residual magic that lingers where ashes have changed into dust,

the pain they once knew so entirely forgotten, the spirits they danced with can generate lust

with their most graceful motions and send it off flying with ribbons and pennants like petals and leaves.

They never look back–but sometimes when they have, they’ve been sad for a while for the lover who grieves,

having somehow forgotten he’s not in a memory now. She’s not absent; she’s not in her grave;

she’s not in the flames of a pyre nor the depths of a tearstorm at sea in her own drowning wave;

she’s advanced in the treacherous zone of red roses toward the broad orchards and gardens he’ll find

in a moment–the moment he’s slipped off the traces of rope-burn and salt from the pit of the mind

that’s been lining its library shelves night and day, making ready for such a strong spirit to light

that he’s finally sweeping the floor, throwing open the windows, and airing his clothes in the bright

new moonlight and making–arcane preparations for her, who is certainly present in more

than any one room–when at length from their bed they tell tales to each other–more love is more lore.

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On the 13th

13 December 2020

Shhhh…it’s nobody…never mind the creaking floorboards. This place is still deserted–it’s just that something’s turned up that wants to be here, and we don’t want to have to listen to it moan.

More and more stories are coming through the lyrics all the time. They’re starting to make another kind of sense in addition to their constant uncanny aspirations.

This is new, although the core story is very, very old:

13 December 2020

13

Unmonstering

The story she asked for again and again was romantic enough, she was still on the swoon

when next time came around. She could not get her fill of the lonely girl lost on the very dark Moon,

a sad dancer whose spiralling footsteps left tracks in the silvery dust of a world you can’t see–

but I can, and before it’s all told, her own story will make sense to you as it always has me.

She’s in a particular mood, one she’s waited a long time to capture in essence to feel

at her leisure, or need; she’s about to decant a few drops. It’s effects are exclusively real

if the one who is wearing this fragrance attracts a keen answering interest from someone unseen–

and the strength of that answer, from which a whole future of music depends–she knows what it will mean,

and must not shy away from. She’s breathing in deeply. She’s steeling herself for a night of hard work.

Lighting a candle and walking alone through a maze of dark corridors–furred monsters lurk

with their hobnails extended to trip her and send her headlong to a place in a faint by the stairs–

which she’s now falling over, unconsciously playing a character based on the lurid affairs

it was rumored she’d oftimes participate in, with uncanny companions–no mortal knows who.

On the horizon, a small streak of light from the hidden but rising, most certainly true

memorial shrine only whispers describe to the rain as it splashes and washes away

what was never a thought-out design, but a bit of pure chance recognized as a grace that won’t stay–

but will faithfully, if you don’t wait for it, wind all around and recur like your one dearest thought.

She’s in a hurry to get to the mailbox and learn what the full Moon last month might have brought

to the distant one leaning across his own table with pages strewn over it, steel pen in hand.

Dagger in heart and thick blood dripping over the table’s rough edges. She’ll go on unmanned.

His last letter finally reaches her, tells her the deepest of lies, then tears every lie down.

Once a sad girl read a message so dreadful, she went to the field on the outskirts of town,

burned all the previous pages and scattered their ashes, then walked to the shallow green lake

silent willows protected and prayed to the Moon overhead and lay down there to die for his sake–

till there came in the night a faint grey visitation. His hands swept the altar of all objects bare,

including the small silver bottle of essence that spilled out its contents and filled the close air

with the memories faithfully waiting for one final moment when–free to be nowhere at all–

they met in the flesh on the Moon after death, where they danced with a spiralling wind at their call–

in that story. In this which, is never a lie but the truth lying under their tales like the rock

that provides us with pathways through mountains to caverns–she lay after fainting and almost in shock–

but she woke when she heard metal clatter and rag paper rustle and somebody clearing his throat.

He knows he’s about to get asked, and he’s ready: There once was a monster that nobody wrote….

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Dewi Sant

2 March 2020

David is the patron saint of Wales, land of my foremothers and fathers, direct ancestor of our artery of song. His name is not Daffydd, cymbricized from the Hebrew David; it is Dewi. Dewi Sant is the patron of Wales, and March 1st is his feast-day. This is last night’s work:

1 March 2020

1

At Need, We’ll Show

Hearing–some sounds–from a far, muffled way–I fell from my place as the heavy horse swayed.

I slipped like an eel–or a wraith–from the hoof as it nearly came down on my face as I prayed.

Do you know who your friends truly are, in the end? I wish I had known I was heavy in mind.

Friends who are flagellants now, who attend a harsh, terrible church, send their letters unsigned.

The words tumble out of the falsest of minds when their speakers just sway in their tracks and fall down.

I woke up alone with my window wide-open, and what I heard out there was sorrowful. Crown

of the far northern skies where I first learned my own name, show me again in whose shadow I stand

when I walk out at night and stare up at your presence. The world I was born to was this living land,

and my hand, as it shadows as if from high over, was supple as yours as you taught me to read.

I used to wake up very early, but lie very late because dreams took so long to recede,

I had vastly extended dream-passages through and between the worlds reading had shown. And before

I was finally forced to leave off all my dancing and wandering–love brought a shining light’s more

contagious yet healing soft voice that I knew if I only would let it–would sing me free here.

When next I hold out my hand, and a horse is within reach of what I would cause to appear–

there’s an apple as red, and as green, and as round–as was once cast before the three goddesses we

have to struggle right now to recall because children are lying downhill where the roots twine to be–

The page in the old, painted book, one with plates from a workshop the artists who love us most love–

It’s just gotten torn into pieces, but don’t be unhappy; the ceiling lights shine from above,

and someone up there took a picture. So all the wild fragments that flew like wild birds in a breeze?

The powerful hooves–they must muffle their magic until we can bear it–When hooves part great seas,

just watch from your place on the shore as the wee tiny fishes shine up, as if looking at you

would bring them across the old land-water bridge. Some ghosts have to happen; some happen to view

the source of the light in all eyes as will see them–Fall back asleep if you can; I’ll stand by.

Down coat and shroud and long nightgown and vestments that serve an old altar–at need, we’ll show why.

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