More Nothing Here

More Nothing Here

Today’s work is another brief lyric, and again it focuses on a turn, a change in perspective. The larger change that is underway will mean a lot of letting go, and probably not much taking on of replacements. Life has always revolved around clearing space for work, literary work; I am not sure what I am clearing space for now, only that it will happen, and that I should know more soon.

In the meantime, I am here to write it down, whatever it is.

7 March 2021

7

Here

The more subtle hearing beneath the old hearing

is suddenly humming along with the air

and I know what it means. I will stand in the clearing

and from a faint distance see someone appear

and then watch as he simply dissolves in my vision

as well as my dreams of the future. That ‘he’

was someone who cast a long shadow, a wizened

and wearying revenant sailor whose sea

had sounded its last warning blessing. Poor sailor–

he knew he was doomed from the outset, but so

obsessive was he, even sky like a jailer

of beautiful weather made gravity grow

and his tiny craft motionless. Now he is crying,

but what she who waited so long really hears

is an outbreathing vastly more subtle. She’s trying–

she hears it again: This is where he appears.

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Nothing Is Everything

A change is come upon me, and I understand what it is.

So many of the threads and pathways I have followed throughout the course of my work, for many more years than I have been posting here, have been showing signs of being nearly at an end for a while. The poems make it clear: Over and over, they focus on the moment when one lets go and everything changes in an instant. The platform drops, the rope snaps taut, the neck is broken–but the hanging one is not dead, and was never even unconscious. Something happened, and now they are somewhere else. We could describe that instant as many ways and times as we like, but why? I would now like to do something else, something I could not do before.

Poetry has always meant so much to me that I have kept it in view at all times. Every decision I have ever made has been intended to further its active presence in my life. Honestly, without poetry, I have had no life, and that is how I wanted it. My vocation has been more compelling than any potential competing interests, even relationships and family, the things that mean so much to others. This is changing now, but not ending; where the present path comes to an end, we will see where we are, and what poetry feels and sounds like there. It will be an adjustment, but all of poetry is my home, so soon I will feel as at home as I have ‘here.’

My inclination is to be quiet and wait for things to take shape, but I suspect that the passage in-between will be as interesting as any other, and may be valuable in the end as documentation of a process. So I will continue to post, but with no expectations as to the sort of content I will have to offer, starting today. Work has already happened, and it is different.

6 March 2021

6

Nothing More

She looked far away, to the foot of the mountain.

She saw something moving. She saw it so plain:

I shall be standing alone when the sound of

its weeping has tendered the meaning of pain

a sooth-word of medicine lately extracted

as if from its veins in a poisonous form

and cured among snake-doctor patients for lack of

superior vessels. And now as the storm

that produced the first lightning that sought out and hit her

has risen again and proceeded to pour

shafts of pointed electrical power so bitter,

she stares at the place–she still hears the wind roar–

but there’s nothing alive there; there’s nothing that’s moving;

only the strange wind that blows through her mind

remembers the time of the universe wooing

itself through the spirits its own self designed

to appear at the stroke of importunate midnight–

as slowly she draws closed her curtains and eyes.

Nothing is moving, and nothing is hidden;

nothing that’s present grows nothing more wise.

The future is not completely unknown. Here is a clue: Nothing. No-thing. Neither is, nor is not.

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Wine of Nowhere

These have been some unsettled and unsettling times chez J. It shows in the work. More and more, I suspect I know what is going to happen before it does, which is just all kinds of wrong. Some days I worry that the work that comes through is a place-holder for something that isn’t ready yet. That might prove true. We shall see.

Even if the tale is told thoroughly and well and is finally over, something remains. The tellers don’t just vanish. What do they turn into? Nothing stays the same.

Here, that process is underway. It probably has been for a long time, but the outside world has been just noisy enough to be distracting. What will it look like when it is done? The poems point the way.

5 March 2021

5

Wine of Nowhere

She broke both the seal and the neck of the bottle.

She looked at her hands and the blood as it flowed.

She poured out a glass of red wine and the thought of

the source of it ran like a rivery road

through her mind as she watched for the rush to fall silent.

It’s always a ripple until it’s a wave,

and then it’s too likely to alter the title

that’s trying to read from the literate grave

of the person you chose when you learned you were also.

And then the pages that turned of their own–

the ink that ran constantly staining to swallow

a secret then spill it before it was grown

beyond clear legibility. Water the poison;

drink very slowly, then put the glass down.

Make a red mark on the margin rejoicing

that rubies are known to be part of the Crown,

but then rest when the weariness rises with evening.

Only the window, with one open eye,

knows what it’s like to be broken by seeing.

The watery wine and the undying sigh–

they were here by the door-sill; I found them this morning.

A sigh with some letters to make it read true,

and a small slip of paper–an amateur drawing

of someone who looks like the girl who shows through

when you smile past the threatening tears and I notice–

the bottle is broken; your hand is unharmed.

Longer than long comes the unending flow of

an eerier fountain than that you’ve disarmed–

the letter; the red letter. Read it, my lover,

and weep for the storm that will not break again.

Pour on the grave–the stone carved with a double

entwined wreath of letters–wine nowhere she’s lain.

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Hoy Alloy

Still feeling a bit reflective, having realized how many people I have lost in recent years, and how much I still feel their presences. My late partner was a poet, storyteller, all around literary person, and had a much more directly spiritual background than I. We met online, through our blogs–there were obvious correspondences happening in our compositions before we we ever aware of each other.

Something of great significance was already going on with him. He was having amazing Big Dreams and getting poems out of them from very familiar places. We communicated several times a week via email and blog posts, and were trying to figure out how to meet in real life when he was diagnosed with brain cancer. He died nine months later. We met in between, when he was in hospital. That was where I still was, in my mind, when I started this blog.

Part of me has never come home, but I am not sure it needs to. The place was Ireland, which has always sent me messages. I have no Irish ancestry, but my most important real life Teacher is Irish, and so many numinous glimpses that have come to me seemingly by chance have a connection there. However–my partner was born in Scotland, and lived there for a long time first. We seem to be becoming Pan-Celtic. Fair enough, I guess; although I really only work with what comes to me directly, and then later sometimes locate it in a cultural setting.

There was a selkie story that wove itself in and out of lyrics for a long time before I met my partner. And then, when I did, there were seal/sea lion synchronicities and signs more vivid than any I have ever experienced. The same was happening to him. That was years ago, and I don’t dwell on it knowingly, but a bond that strong does not go away; it just goes quiet enough to let life unfold its future.

He’ll be there, as he is anyway, when all is said and done. There might be others to greet us–we are part of a poetic family. Where are the others? I know of one or two.

Today’s piece has conventional punctuation because I feel postings here need to be easier to make sense of. My formatting gets stripped out when I copy and paste them here from LibreOffice, and I am still a technophobe who doesn’t know how to fix it. Please don’t let any possible meanings be limited by a few little marks on the page!

4 March 2021

4

Hoy Alloy

I tore up the letter, and then I reread it–

I found it was burned on the eye of my mind.

Find an alternative flame that glows better–

but nay, there is none–not in all mortalkind.

It’s looming a little way down in the water.

The water ran clear till it started to rain.

Now I see only a shadowy part of

the creature who visited now and again–

in the vision remaining, a fresh-water dragon

or warm-blooded selkie–a Moon in its mouth,

and a pearl of a swiveling eye that keeps batting

its terrible lashes and staring dead South–

where a strange weather pattern is visibly forming.

Poor wounded creature, whose tears are red blood,

how did you find me? The skies all at storm are

so present to mind, when they rise to high flood

they will drown all they find in their path–skies of witness

committing the act we omitted to share.

Lightning and thunder and hard hail that hits us–

don’t look again till you’ve seen the lens flare

of your own clearing future: The Moonlight is shining–

a far better flame in the luminous night

than the usual cause of the pain in your eyes and

the mind that demands you put out that small light

before it can rest in the beams of her glory

as if in the times before time went awry.

Lady once seen between lashes, your story

has drawn out of mine–through the satellite-sky–

the tracings of vast flights of literate winging

toward and away. Underwater, a seal–

singing warm underbreath, Keep the ghost of you clinging–

and read me: Don’t tear out the part we most feel.

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Circles Join

3 March 2021

Yesterday I said that Yemaya had appeared in my work. I know her by many signs, but it took until this afternoon to make the most obvious connection. Someone I know died of drowning nearby, and one of her names was very similar. I am still feeling minor aftershocks from my friend’s passing. Aye, it’s almost Spring Equinox to the daylight world, but it’s still Day of the Dead in here.

What ever are the Lovers up to today? She’s feeling a little under the too-bright weather:

3 March 2021

3

He’ll Know Why

She woke up alone in the bed where she’d lain

in the hours before midnight at which time she’d died

now she was only a wraith and a stain

that would fade if it went all unread so good-bye

To the mare of the mattress and mother of pain

how often your patience rewarded my tears

she’s gone to the water she’s leaving no stain

I’m following after I have all these years

She woke up alone with a ray on her face

that was softly resplendent and carried her far

tell me your name at the height of your grace

as you shine in the night like the high silver star

Crossing over and soon to be drowned in the sea

like the sleeper whose dreams were too deep as they lay

in the cradle that rocked them to much stranger sleep

till a whisper came over them overboard way

Breathe in and in till the faery world shines

like a bright silver beacon she’s sent out to play

on the eyelids and lashes of one who so pined

he remembered each whispering word she would say

In the hours after midnight her dead body rose

to the urgent desire of the searchlight he made

of his own mortal body no burden no clothes

no skin and no skeleton comes forth arrayed

In the waves of the ocean her spirit has bathed

with inherent high frequency midnightly stayed

reminders of starlight his eyes will recall

she’s awake in the night where the strange love is made

Mother and mattress of childbed and pain

she’s always a girl who cries out loud and plain

there once was a man with a once-over eye

if he finds her he’ll know she’s still dying of stain

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The Multivalent Sea

Today’s work joined with a bit of spontaneous ritual when something I’d ordered arrived. We are not permitted to smoke or use anything that creates smoke where I live, so good-bye, candles and incense. As a substitute, I decided to try wax melts. They arrived this morning, with a beautiful glass warmer. They came as a welcome addition to the day, so I dedicated them to Source, and here we are.

There’s always a sort of zeitgeist or psychic weather system casting an influence over human affairs. We all read it by various means, but it works out uncannily the same. Today is a bright, sunny day, but also somehow watery, even underwater. When I sought for signs to guide my focus, a name came up right away: Yemaya. She has appeared often before. As I have mentioned, I live on a tidal river, within sight of the ocean. Anna, Mother of Mary: River is Mother of Ocean.

References to deities and traditions from cultures other than my own ancestral ones are meant to show how interwoven and intercommunicative they, and we, all are, but they are controversial now because we are painfully politically correct and terrified lest we appropriate. This shutting-down of sharing and communing–who benefits? I wonder. Reader, if you ever truly feel that I have appropriated something that by rights belongs to you, say so. For myself, I have asked for and been granted to leave to share anything from my tradition with anyone. It can protect itself. The wrong person cannot make use of it; they will not understand, and it might even backfire to their harm. Source is here for us all.

That said, respect toward the deities and each other is paramount. I will not turn away a message that is clearly meant for me, even if the return address is someplace far from here. I also understand that it might not ultimately be meant for me as much as someone in the future, and there is no telling now what that person will look like or where they will live. One thing I trust, and that is that the human future is multiple: Multicultural, multi-talented, and multivalent. That last word–multivalent–has a deep poetic meaning here connected with paronomasia. Everything means more than one thing, bonds in more than one direction, and ultimately connects with us all. Poetry is a most multivalent art.

Our impromptu ritual resulted in this:

2 March 2021

2

The Sign Before Your Door

says ‘Yemaya’

Mother of pearl by the light of a starfish–a light borne by oars till the sailor let go–

behold by the light of my own ancient eyes why I stand by the shore and cry out to you so

forlornly and yet never hopelessly–never entirely alone with the loss of all else.

Here in the night by a splinter of broken-oar brightness the shadow you cast by yourself

in the form of a nightmare–I cannot help seeing it shine on a path as it soars through my mind.

Vivid in drenches and washes of moonlight so rarefied, only the one most entwined

with the intimate story behind your appearance will ever have leave to describe what they’ve seen

as you smile down the silent regard of the one who first called them to be and receive all you mean.

When your star first appears on the chart, it’s a signal that everything’s different from this moment on.

Rider, be wary–but rise up and saddle the mare who best loves you and let you be gone

with the haste of the most swooning wraith of a lover who’s just seen the casement attain a hairsbreadth.

Maybe she’s too warm inside and wants cool evening air, but just maybe–she’s pining to death

for the touch of the one who is spying without really knowing why grey shadows cast such a gleam,

he finds himself stubbornly slightly distracted; his focus is fine, but it’s half in a dream,

and half on the table before him where pages he’s made of his visions are forming a pile.

That’s where the heavy glass starfish comes in very handy. The light that shines through it, meanwhile–

once shone on a sailor whose arms were too heavy and no more could row, though the shore was so near

he could smell on the faery land-breeze the soft fragrance of grasses and blossoms at times, even hear

the humming of insects amongst their pale petals. He murmured inside with their small faery song,

then let go the oars that the waves caught and splintered on acres of stones as they ran far along

the beach till the sand they become in the end grew a broad salty margin and after that, grass.

Sailor, the last sight your sad drowning eyes sought to capture was greenness you never could pass

without longing for–now from your grave underwater, are high-waving fields green as emeralds, lush

as velvety lawns on a late summer midnight apparent all round like the oncoming rush

of her name-recognition? The lady who loves you remembers you best with your mask off your face.

Look at the sign you embroidered it with when your ship was becalmed in a grey foreign place

on a thin stretch of water with either side trying to tempt you to swim–but you’d tried that and drowned.

Maybe the lady is pining, but why is her secret. She’ll tell you, wherever you’re bound,

you’ll half close your eyes when you find yourself getting there, searching for signs between casement and Moon.

Look to the light of your own faery eyes twined with human and will it to rise very soon–

the knowing this means and the ken to well know it. This door is her door, and the sign on it reads,

Only more ocean and more drenching moonlight await you. You’re welcome. Inside, nightmares breed.

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St. David’s

Today is the feast day of the native Welsh saint once called ‘the Waterman.’ Supposedly, that was because David–properly Dewi–abstained from alcohol. Odd, that–I live on a tidal river with many mariners for neighbors, and as far as I know, a ‘waterman’ is someone who does his work out on the water. But what saint would recognize their own story in the one that gets retold?

The anti-suicide mission seems to be continuing. I’ve been rearranging things at home, and in the course of sorting, I found a flyer that was posted around town a couple of years ago when a young woman who lived here disappeared. Her clothes and phone were found neatly piled beside the river where she was last seen. I didn’t know her, but friends did, and talked about her for a while after that. It got inside my work, and several pieces followed the sad news.

The magic loops around and around, but the loops are getting tighter. There were already crossing-over songs for a young woman I saw in a vision, who had drowned by accident but whose family feared suicide. And there is a recurring story in visions and dreams about a selkie, a magical seal/human creature. I may have known one in real life, a man. Once I dreamed that I was fishing off a pier. I cast my line out far and hooked a great seal from very deep water. It came to the dock as I reeled it in, only to look directly at me, sadly. I felt ashamed for catching it with a hook when it probably would have come to me willingly if I had asked properly. I removed the hook and it returned to its disturbed abode.

Poems come willingly, at any rate. This one did:

1 March 2021

1

The Stillness of Change

It’s not the same ice love it changes each winter

when it’s all over its form flies away

keeps itself safe in the heaven that sent it

till deep in the fall the pure time shall we pray

If the water’s the same the ice crystals are never

even a cupped hand of snow will refreeze

in an altared mysterious manner one better

for having remembered it once fell on trees

Very late in the springtime a snowstorm came over

our valley and that’s why there’s fruit there no more

the petals were everywhere running with water

till growing so cold they all stared at the door

That remained as their six-sided forms all collapsed

and then increased solidity gravity came

again with a strength their own weight had enhanced

till they lay in a mass made as one secret shame

Came over them out of the heavens no longer

their safe hiding-place they were here to remain

once when you gathered up snow for your altar

the melt-water ruined the page made of rain

Leaving nothing behind but a small subtle warning

that this could occur even now and to you

ask the wide door where the rain that keeps pouring

on sinner and saint if your prayers will come true

And this lyric will end in an avalanche snowfall

created by singing too loudly brought down.

to the place by the fire where a face lately showed us

her secret intentions and where she would drown

After leaving the Moon in the sky she grew weary

she paced round the forest the trees thick with bloom

the snow of them softly reminded her tearful

and sad cast of mind if you leave this cold room

Will the spirits so kind to you now be as willing

to offer you comfort and solace as snow

it’s no longer ice but it will be the stillness

of change in its wake will be total you know

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A Way Home

Paradox got itself involved yet again today. Work seemed to be taking a slightly worrying turn–the man at the edge of the cliff seemed to be getting a signal that he should go over. By the end, it was a story meant to change his mind–actually change his mental state of awareness from a bad, closed-off one to a more expansive and knowing one. He was feeling abandoned by his angel, his guide, at the start; she showed him her hand by the end. Not unusual; we have seen this story play out many times. It still needs to be told, though, because those in need don’t often know where to look. It has to be put in front of them again and again anyway, to get through and stay there: Don’t kill yourself. Don’t do anything to your body you can’t undo. Go through it in vision, if you must, but then stay with the story to the end and find out what you would learn there without doing harm.

Yesterday I read the odd strange interesting thing online. A blog commenter said that ‘everyone’ is doing their own end-life review right now. The review people who have returned from near-death experiences report. They apparently want to get that part over with so they are prepared for the next right away. Curious. I wonder how numerous, and whereabouts, this ‘everyone’ is?

Suicide felt like a hostile being with a stick right behind me, hitting me over and over and demanding that I do it then, that minute. The culture around me told me that it was all in my own mind and that my own thoughts were to blame. It also said I could change those thoughts. This worked so slowly and in such a limited way and meanwhile, it was all getting worse. I decided to fight back actively as if an entity were attacking me. This was all non-physical, of course, using mental imagery. If I felt it become active, I would picture the mouth-end of a huge leech trying to ooze its way through a crack in my window and I used fire and salt to drive it back. I absolutely meant to harm it–if I could have cut off its head and burned it to ashes I would have. Such ‘final’ acts tend to backfire, however. The entity is not ashes, but it is weak, and it knows I have figured out that what it hates most is if I share what I have learned about it and how to survive its presence.

Living beings have a death-drive, a kill-switch for when it’s all gone too far wrong–the teeth are in the throat. Not for survivable challenges. And we’ve all known someone who allows their play to the point that others are held hostage by it. I did not want mine taking over, but there are reasons not gone into yet why poets have such a high suicide rate. And I suspect, with the recent death of my friend, I am going through a new stage of really knowing what I already know. He’s gone, a lot of people are gone, I’m still here. For now. With a will to get more work done. The way will show itself.

The way will show itself Home. The ‘Way’ home. The way ‘Home.’

28 February 2021

33

All Most Alight

Was she holding your hand at the end of the day

at the edge of a cliff where the road fell away

and the breakers below roared as loud as the storm

in your heart saying cast off your last mortal form–

Then–in drifting toward the next visible sign

so much longing to leave not the whole world behind

only parts that entangle themselves with you know

where the next road is leading and there you won’t go–

Down and down with a will to extinguish the light

that obsessed someone over your shoulder all night

where sleep came as easy as peace to the dead

she lay waiting to greet you her hands on your head

When you let your mind wander it reads you a page

from a marvelous story an earlier age

recorded because it was treasured and true

now who in this nightmarish world reads to you

She’s slipped off the bridle the reins in your hands

hang as slack as your will to explore further lands

this edge and this cliff are the absolute line

but she won’t let you rest till the final design

Shines as clearly before you as light you would leave

all the creatures that litter the branches would grieve

and signal the harder return to the vale

where the will of our world is to further the tale

The life to be telling is this very one

as it happens the Moon crosses over the Sun

and the strange faery light that’s aglow in your eyes

at the foot of the cliff where a dead body lies

There’s a woman whose face was contorted with grief

but is shining by light of a full Moon made chief

among angels the one who is singing this now

to your name carved alive by the light of her brow

Falling silent for further no mere word allows

as the silence reads out all our faery-tree vows

the high-dancing ones gathered to witness our rite–

by the most shining brow are we all most alight.

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Crossing Over

I hope it does what it says on the tin. Since I compose so much verse, I am always wondering if I should be doing something with it, putting it to good use. One thing that pretty much happens on its own is that when someone around me dies, we sing them over. They don’t have to be personally familiar; a sense of who they were is enough to get things started, and the rest pretty much just happens.

Because I have never so far sat down with the express intention of reaching an individual person, but rather realized what was up in hindsight, the songs referring to specific deaths are mixed up with our Mythos (a term used tongue in cheek, but it may be useful). Today’s work was influenced at least a little by my friend’s recent passing. It’s more than that, but there’s a bit of data for the decoder.

‘Decoder’ puts me in mind of one of many divides amongst poets and readers: Is a good poem immediately easy to understand overall so that it speaks even to those who read it casually, or is it something that takes time to get into and is perhaps not at all what it seems on the surface? Does it enjoy becoming an instant new-old friend, or does it prefer to reward patient intimacy? Of course it isn’t either/or; it’s another line I am always tightrope-walking.

Sending this out there, and hoping it’s good–

27 February 2021

32

Perfect Sleep

a crossing-over song

She’s over the Moon–she’s been seen in his mirror. He did it himself for the first time last night.

She looked to the light in the East and she marveled that sometimes an ill omen chose to grow bright,

even cheerful with promise–not only of evenings passed watching the glow of the pale lunar orb

as it shone from its place on the sill of the distant horizon, an omen–a soul to absorb

from the suction of gravity drawn forth by means of a much greater force breathing in, breathing in.

She wears a collar of lace round her throat and she made it herself from the very first spin

of the threads formed of winding about one another till look at it finished so prettily, she

must know if it’s lovely to her deathless eyes it how it glimmers like moonlight to someone who’d be

enamored all over again if the heart in his bosom had power, but this one’s long gone.

The love he had in him and very much greater and higher that always came through–light upon

a singular presence that strode like a bodiless heaviness making the breath come right hard–

but she’s got a witch of a look in her eye and she’s aiming her gaze on the side of the yard

where the roses grow reddest like sheets stained the bloodiest. My silent profile, she said as she sighed,

I’ve shown it him clearly; he knows what he’s known all along, and he’s glad; on his very last ride,

a trill of a voice from a bush by the wayside, a rare cherished bird, one who sings in her sleep–

a brushing against him when shadows were heaviest nothings, lest gravity’s unending creep

taint everything live in its path with a low dreadful heaviness–dreadful depressed–cross me o’er

dearest lord–let me rest in the arms of the presence of mind that remembers her name as this sore

sick heart–feels a swift turning over toward the new source of red floods of a most subtle kind

as the Moon rises well into view through the bundle of roses reflected, translucency signed

by the one hand he’d recognize anywhere, even this sordid delusion that ends but won’t cease.

Look to the Moon in her eyes as she shows you the music that offers true sooth and release

from what you’ve been haunting that’s less than the lady who loves you so much, she’s been sending her song

in verse after verse, attending you silently, nightly; as much as you fear could go wrong,

she will only attempt all the more to grow clearer than ever–but skies in between can draw down

the waters that hang in the heavens and form into grey storming masses. You know where the Crown

ought to be, so be faithful and orient facing away from your own shadow side, where I’ll be–

lighter than air in your bosom that hums till the blood in your veins is a song back to me

and remind yourself, listen–forever, just listen. You don’t ride alone; does you Mare know your name?

Once in a cast set of eyes, one stared inward; the other attended a horse who’d gone lame

by recording her last will and testament. Reading them out by her grave gave no reason to weep.

He’d seen her, she’d felt it; they’d fully crossed over. And now they could finally dream perfect sleep.

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Nightmares

Sometimes I wonder if I am someone else’s nightmare. The Night Mare I have spoken about here is changing, now that she is a bit of a known quantity. The verses have been telling of a man who is searching for his Other–his soul, his soulmate, his twin, his goddess? Any and all and none of them, but always someone who haunts him. He catches glimpses; some glimpses are almost direct. But who and where is she, really, and what will happen if he finds her?

Verse measures tend to shift when the content they cover shifts, as different rhythms suit different dances. Today’s work reflects that. It contains rhyming couplets; some of the rhymes are imperfect. This is intentional–I am trying to be satisfied with similar-enough sounds. Perfect rhymes set in as a habit a long time ago, and a bad one perhaps. They don’t work at all in some languages, and in others, they are so abundant as to sound undignified. And as deeply involved with English as I am, I never forget that it is not the only mother tongue. Together, the various English-speakers of the world are evolving new forms of the language, and I want to take part. My part will probably involve reminding others of the beautiful, strange, arcane traditional vocabulary and usages and the sum total of all the word-lore passed down by earlier poets.

Being a person who sits around thinking these thoughts can feel quite lonely. It’s reassuring to be reminded by others themselves that they are out there. Two of the three keywords used most often to find this blog are ‘formal verse’ and ‘prosody.’ Either times among literary folks have changed, or being able to reach beyond the establishment has made their limiting opinions irrelevant. Prosody, like grammar itself, was not considered worthy of attention when I was in school. And why not? The ostensible reasons have to do with trends in education and politics–we don’t study grammar because it’s all correct, everything everybody says, and we don’t want to make anyone feel wrong. I don’t disagree! But grammar isn’t just a matter of knowing the rules and following them–it’s one of the places where real power hides out. Being aware of, and skilled in, the uses of prosody is similarly potent. Of course those who don’t understand are never going to like it, and are going to tend to shut it down in others. that is why I have been also using ‘poetic mysteries’ as a tag on most of my recent posts. That should be a sign to anyone out there that this is a place for word-lore thoughts to be shared, as well as to make it easy to find again. If anyone else who thinks along these lines should happen to adopt that tag specifically, we will surely find you.

As a blogger–and overall, as an older woman who is looking at the last active portion of her earthly years–I am trying to work out what I can offer that no one else can. Some people have the energy to be many different things; I only have what I need to care about one thing very, very deeply.

What is my life going to look like when I narrow down the field and recognize my future course? I’m hoping to find out soon, but sometimes the journey is the story, and if I wait to find out where it’s going, I might not live to tell it. If I have to leave it up to others, I’d like them to know what it was like from the inside as best I can; it’s all written down. I know my Myth, and I know my Star, but what are we to others when we are old and can offer to share what we have brought home?

A picture is slowly forming…she’s resilvering the glass….

26 February 2021

31

The Ride Out and Back

You’re bound to ride out on the back of a horse

with the rain pouring harder than ever off-course

for the next thousand miles riding harder than rain

on the neck of the mare who can spare you much pain

if she’s changing her temper it’s never the same

rider anyway she’s got a face for a name

and it glows in the darkness enshrouding you now

as you stare far ahead by the light of her brow

in the infinite distance there used to be signs

that have since washed away leaving watery lines

like invisible ink when a flame is applied

but the flame here is rain as it falls far and wide

ride no further it’s found you the rain works for her

what you thought you had mounted had mounted you first

in the world of an earlier spring in the wood

of a haunting that more than one ghost understood

to be reckoned her lover forever and known

to a populace no faery light’s ever shone

on directly and yet to drift further from shore

while the light lags alongside a ghost-hungry door

faery-essence reality gasps when it sees

in an ocean a forest of tear-sodden trees

and the weepers arrayed on their branches and twigs

staring down at the horse and the rider who digs

a furrow between the two worlds he still feels

like a crack in the skin of an apple he steals

a little reminder of roses the air

hovered over unhorselike her soft human hair

in waves with his hands plunged within them he’s caught

rider the reins on your neck are too taut

change where you’re bound if the burden’s too much

but you can’t throw him down if your ghost wants his touch

she’s silvering over the back of the glass

that he see what he means to the stars as they pass

and the one higher over them all–the one he

will find on reflection–stares past him to me.

If you’ve made it this far–the recent, very sparing use of punctuation is also deliberate. We remember the oral tradition, where everything means what it sounds like, without extra devices to limit which words go together. The story-line through should still be clear enough to follow. If it isn’t, we’ll keep working.

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