There’s no point even trying to catch up here–so much is in development. It’s all magic.
I reached menopause, or ‘croned,’ about ten years ago. I could scarcely believe it–I had outlived my treacherous uterus! It was a most welcome change, but really it was only the start of a process that has lately been picking up speed.
The story of Night Mare has been shared before, but briefly–when I stopped trusting my human mother, I reached inwardly for a stronger and more protective one, and found her. I called her Night Mare in a sense of irony, as she protected me from the nightmare my daytime mother could be. She gave me wits and reason and words to fight back with if I needed them, and so much more.
I will never permit this to be psychologized. It was not an end-run around my feelings for a person; it was pure intuition guiding me to a spiritual source of strength. Night Mare has been the sponsor of my work ever since, although the Muse I speak of is someone else, someone of male appearance. She is now most vividly present, telling me story after story. We are untangling the many threads we have followed over the years and tracing them to their ends–which they don’t really have, because the spinner keeps spinning more. Night Mare was once the goddess of witches and crossroads, so she still is, but to me she is the stern but kind old woman master of arts and a scholar of literary folklore at its source.
Something else has happened alongside this. I will officially be an Old Age Pensioner in a few weeks. It is a bit early, and I will sacrifice some future income because of it, but it will free me to do nothing, absolutely nothing, but work as much as I can and keep my body alive. That sort of freedom was always a dream, and now suddenly, it is here. All I had to do was survive the suicide craze for a number of decades, and live to grow old.
I am so ready to be old, and to get right into all the secret lore the spirits only share with those who have grown beyond their role in the breeding and getting and spending world. The magic of poetry was always real and now it is so real, it doesn’t even have to be magic anymore. It can just be today. I always loved my work once it was done, but struggled to begin each day; lately, I have never had so much fun.
The sequence of poems has revealed that it is now a book of songs and stories, tentatively entitled Mother of Pearl Greymare. Here is today’s new material:
11 May 2021
The Broken Locket
Behind the playground at school, a young boy finds a small silver locket engraved with marking he cannot read. It is slightly crushed and without the chain it must have hung from. When he picks it up, its hinges swing open, and a tiny bit of paper falls out–no doubt bearing a precious likeness. He searches and searches, but cannot find it. Only when it begins to rain does he give up his search. Later, as a young man, he runs across the locket amidst his favorite childhood treasures. He picks it up, expecting it to open on broken hinges–but it is solidly shut. What could it be so sternly protecting if not–what lockets are for?
He now recognizes the markings. Her face may be lost, but he knows her name.
The Basket of Apples
In the farthest corner of the old-house attic sits a forgotten bushel of apples that were left there to keep over winter. They are all wizened now, and appear as if they had faces–or one face, many apples over. The Mother or even Grandmother of apple trees has surely been here. And no one knows it yet–because the bushel is still forgotten.
The Little, Little Star
The star was so small, all the other stars around it reverse-overshadowed it, creating an aura that perfectly hid its subtler brilliance. Only one person had ever stood out late and long enough to discover its softly lambent fire. After a great many nights spent isolating this eerie and delicate beauty, the watcher too was overshadowed. Another star had arisen–but its light was entirely dark. A single beam could blind a willing eye. The watcher understood that the virginal star would offer shelter as it spun about the Pole. The silence of the light and dark enwound the little, little star until it cast aside its veils and swam toward him, pale face raised:
I am only a reflection of very heaven, but in my eyes you’ll find your guiding Star.
Child, if my feet did not hurt me, I’d follow your steps to the edge of this world and beyond,
but we’ve already scaled both its stairs and its wall and there’s still a pale face in the depths of the pond–
and there’s not turning back for that most haunting creature, the journeyer straying too long in one place.
Simply remain for the moment. Be pleased to imagine an air of inordinate grace–
as the she’s shedding her veils in a spiraling motion and wisps of that linen go flying abroad
and are captured by eyes peering cautiously over her fast-turning shoulder–transfixed–overawed–
as with heartbreaking swfitness the love he can never allow to be witnessed–he’s cold as the clay
to any observer–but one–and she’s warily watching: Behold me become Elevée,
she whispers as if he could possibly hear her. She staggers a step, and then changes her gait.
White as the resinous milk of the stem–not the clear bead of nectar too frail to relate,
but that vanishing orb under bees in their masses–white as the snow overhead that won’t fall.
Child, when you burdened your poor head with glasses too heavy to lift, did your Mother not call,
and did you not hear her? She can’t grant a blessing to one who avoids her for fear he’ll be shamed.
She also can’t stay on this plain of undancing forever where feet are uncertainly aimed–
your own, should you choose to recall where you left them. Trouble yourself–stand upright, open-eyed,
and growing consumed by a curious sense of bravado–inverse–for he’s more terrified
every moment: The very most ancient of women, where surely he lately beheld one his age?
Gradually leading him upward, a glimmering spirit, a maiden–a slow-inclined stage
upon which other dancers have never permitted themselves the least purchase–without her assent,
a growing morbidity fascinates one, then it hits them all–all their old song-lines are spent–
like the energy upholding quivering backbones. The sad would-be dancers surround someone fair
as moonlight or ice on a window. They ask her, break open the glass and let down your pale hair–
and the old woman answers, Who mothered the daughter of Eve in a girl till the girl had been healed
and returned to the heart of the forest beyond the known world? It is there, in a spiraling field–
I wish I had known you before you were married. Your songs rang out strange and confused at off times,
but made me the happiest spy in the faery-lore queendom and now–as I hear the far chimes
of the intricate church she has stitched between layers of fine-woven linen she wore as her veils–
a man she once dearly regarded breaks open the seal and reads deep in the night the Mare’s tales
of the one he’ll be lying beside in the morning–his chances are fair; he recorded her name
in his self-gathered journal of spells, and before he awakens, he calls her–as spirits take aim.
A face rises up from the depths of the pond as its eyes, heavy-lidded, appear and are seen–
Dance spiraling down whilst her beauty’s beyond you–your lost Elevée–white and pond-water green.
I know two things I am not sure I should tell, but I will:
The man misunderstood. The dancing woman was taking a poke at herself in fun, saying she was ‘Élevée’–lifted, transported by the Divine. It is not her name.
The old woman told me her name last night. I am to call her Malloy.