This will probably be brief, because I am still considering what just happened. The verses to follow came very, very quickly; I only paused at one point because I was unsure I could hear clearly enough. I have been reading about dreaming and feeling cut off from mine. My recall is quite poor now, so sometimes the things I read make me a bit nostalgic. I don’t fight the amnesia, though, as I was once sort of burned out on working so hard all night long and gave myself permission to rest. That will wear off someday. Until then, I have been learning more about how to dream awake. The poems have always known.

Allowing song rhythms to gently entrance one’s waking mind is key. In my dancing days, song rhythms literally surrounded me. My last beloved favorite song artist for dancing was Dorothy Love Coates, an African-American gospel singer whose work carried extraordinary power. In one of her songs–she wrote them–she sang, Have you ever seen the saints do a holy dance? I would be in my room dancing, feeling that she could see me.

Something in my character needs to do the hard part first and get it over with. Then, we say, we’ll sing and dance. Nightmare and her various masks started out as my Night Mother–the one who was a little scary because darkness is scary, but she was kind to me and helped me protect myself when my day mother was unkind. My day mother feared and hated my poetic vocation, so with her I pursued a dual strategy of fighting openly for the bookish side of my work and completely hiding the magical and inspired side. Nightmare fostered me in magic. In spite of the slightly gothic name I gave her, she also insisted on integrity at all times and strengthened me only in protection, never aggression. Everyone who works for Love has to pass that test.

Nightmare, like the wrathful Tibetan deities, will without fail reveal a far different face before the story is all told. We know it in our bones; we knew it before we set out. The Lord and the Lady are still in their bedchamber, entertaining one another. We are their stories and their dreams, one which is starting to dream about waking up from a dream of its own.

20 February 2021


New Moon and Eye

She dropped it, and then she stood looking down sadly.

Many a glittering, beckoning shard

shone from a very dark place on the carpet.

You’re thinking about it a little too hard.

She might take you over and move you to murder.

She might find you absent and send you away.

Nothing that shone in her eyes like the yearning

you worshipped her with did her face once display–

till you glimpsed a small spot in the gathering future,

held it in mind, and in close central view

found a long-lost secret room and made use of

its library opening volumes of you–

who knew she would only submit to entreaties

the instant they’d crossed a strange line like the edge

of the shard of clear glass where it focuses gleamings

of light to an opening razoring wedge

that slides down a fold in your love-rendered garment,

gently revealing one wearing a clear,

clear light in its liquid dimension like starry

designs in the heavens that wish you were here

in her arms as she stares as you sadly and beckons.

All the sharp razors lie melted with new,

strange species of what could be light if you let it.

That wasn’t magic, what happened to you.

She held a glass in her hand till she dropped it.

You picked it up and drank deeply–still full,

it glowed in your hand till you drank–and forgot it.

New Moon and eye, she’s your sky’s tidal pull.

P.S.: True story–just as I was about to click ‘Save’ on this post, my neighbor knocked on my door with a bowl of amazingly fragrant homemade soup. Signs can’t get much better!


About J

formal verse poetry and commentary at rainharp.com
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