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


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.


About J

formal verse poetry and commentary at
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