Mid-Magic

“Real magic is the art of bringing gifts from another world into this world.” Robert Moss

Magic has been mentioned here several times recently, but we haven’t said what we mean by it. One thing it can’t mean is stage magic, sleight of hand, any sort of clever deliberate trickery; surely that goes without saying. And it makes no sense to include in its definition anything that more mundane means could accomplish. Maybe in the end it will turn out to have been technology too advanced for us to recognize, as some suggest. The definition above is workable here, for now at least.

Robert Moss is excellent on the subject of dreams. Mine have been largely closed to me lately, for known reasons, but they are trying to come through again. I will welcome them back as soon as I am less isolated with my highly active inner world.

The trance-visit to my long-ago poetic friend was powerful when it happened, and more powerful later when I looked in again. I felt such intense presence, I actually wondered if he had crossed to the other side! Of course I had to search out any news. I found something to indicate that he was alive and well quite recently. Was I just borrowing his likeness to show myself something else? Dreams do that often; this was perhaps a waking dream.

Tonight’s work is mysterious even to me right now, but I am sharing it anyway.

11 March 2021

11

She Is Carrying

If I stood in the rain with my hand on my heart

and you witnessed a miracle there as it poured,

would you grant me an answer? I’m nothing–apart

from the echo of source in each resonant word

that keeps creeping toward you in verses and lines

you seem to recall from your own early days.

Why will I whisper when all those strange times

still echo as loudly as clouds in a grey

calming storm as the rain washes over, and you

raise your face, and well know what I’m trying to tell–

little by little a holier view

comes toward me so clearly–I’m casting a spell

over either or both of us, moonlight in rays

shining through it, a glint from a source still unseen,

and a tangle of passionate answers that praise

one who walks through the gloom of the forest too green

for the vision–too fraught for the viewer who stands

with their head hanging down and a wan look of dread,

a too-pounding heart under both of their hands,

staring down at the hole that’s their last wedding-bed–

but then startled, uplifting the lids and the wires

that are eyelashes after their burned eyes disclose–

open again to the high flaming skies

as she smiles and, in smiling, she’s learning from those

who curve like a sickle of Moon or an ice-

rime of fingernail chipped on a tile floor of blue.

If I stood out in rain as I cast line by line

this very love-spell, would it captivate you?

No more than nothing; the rains will pour down;

after they have, we will both have to go

through the stasis of winter, so that’s where I’m bound–

I can’t carry water. I can carry snow.

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Telling Magic

Remember a while ago, how I said that I had asked for and been granted permission (from my own intuition/sources) to share as much of the Secret as I could? This goes back to the almost universal tradition that students of any sort of ‘Mysteries’ must be sworn to secrecy. Redundant, in my case; I couldn’t tell an outsider anything worth knowing. They just wouldn’t hear it. So, here’s an odd bit of something that might be magic.

Once I had a poetic exchange, a sort of ‘brainiac amour’ as Patti Smith put it, with a poet who lived very far away. It was–shockingly, explosively inspiring. For me, so much energy, and of such an intensity, was released that I thought it was going to do me in. He underwent a similar process. We stayed with it for a long time, until our circumstances changed and the power diminished. An extraordinary time–I am so glad I was there to witness it! And–it’s all written down.

Any facility I have these days was developed then. Everything would try to come through in such a rush that the most inspired thing I could do in the moment was simply to try to be a good editor and keep the word-flow in coherent order. As it gradually slowed down–without ever completely stopping–I was able to observe myself composing, tracking the rhythms and sound devices, trying to keep metaphors from metamorphosing so much they ended up hopelessly mixed. The images themselves, and almost all of the words–phrases, even full lines, one after another–came quickly and without conscious thought.

It was all so much fun! I remember how giddy I used to feel, doing the thing I had always wanted most and never really dared to hope for (having invested my whole self in its pursuit anyway), and getting words that genuinely startled me down onto the page–and no few of them, either.

Last night the book I was reading gave me the idea to make a trance-visit to the poet friend and see how he was doing. The shift was immediate. He was a little melancholy at first, but by the time we parted, we were seeing reams and reams of pure cream-white paper, countless thousands of pages, and I knew we were seeing our next marching orders. We might not work together again, but each of us has so much ahead, the flow will never end. In the best way.

That’s what’s coming through now, after a lot of nothingness. More on that another time….

10 March 2021

10

The Telling Magic

Startled you, didn’t I? Don’t be unhappy;

I might have known–you’ve been nervous of late.

Suddenly out of a cold, clear blue sadness,

a bundle of something, return address Fate–

in a hand so familiar, it’s haunting you backwards

the way you had haunted its signer’s mind when

he was suddenly shocked by the absolute absence

that shone in the dark like the one you were then–

the benignantly wan apparition, the glowing

that led to an altar. Devoutly he knelt

to receive–and was granted the blessing of knowing

that seeds had been planted where snow would soon melt

and the green of the spring from the rocks in the side of

the mountain this also was leading to–there–

Imagine the ghost of the mother of nightmares

and deities still known to hang in the air

and sing through the leaves of the trees and the ripple

of water as all down the mountain it flows.

Once in a dream she came down–all so simple

it seemed, and it was–for she now could disclose–

there was always an answer; the letter was coming;

the post was delayed, but the lover had sent

his heart in a manner that set her own humming

like birds in an uprush of wings, but–it went

away when she opened and read what he’d told her.

You’ll never hear from me more, but know well:

My song is silver, but silence is golden.

I love you more than all magic can tell.

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Waning to Wax

Secret lunar and menstrual magic flows quietly behind today’s work. It carries on with the recent theme, the latest stage in the Lovers’ story, but I have been considering which aspects of life I still have not listened to fully, and female lore was first. It’s in everything I do, but there is so much I know and have not shared. Here it is, just creeping into the flow of song:

9 March 2021

9

The Constant Constant Flow

She shuddered as if she were feverish, freezing,

and both in and out of her sore, burning skin.

If she could stand by the window and see what

I see, would she signal, and let someone in,

and would they rush to greet her, with happy abandon?

The puddle of blood on the floor at my feet

was already there when I woke up so frantic

with terrible dreams that I made myself meet

the pitiless author–the dreadful composer–

the one who had edited into my real

and seemingly only perspective a slowly,

relentlessly dawning desire to both feel

and know utterly, surely, I’ll not feel forever

again. There will always begin a new stain,

another sad woman who woke in the dead of

a feverish night in an ocean of pain,

and discovered herself for this millionth of lifetimes

the source of the flow–will the flood never end?

Here as I stand looking on with a scything

companion, he’s telling me, Rush no more, friend;

once she has shuddered her portion its limit,

her time will wind round like a song in the air.

You wanted to feel and to be one she loved, so

begin again here–where you are, she’s not there.

Any flow that is not merely constant but Constant is going to leave a woman drained and exhausted in no time, as the women of us know. How will she be sustained until she can wax again?

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Nothing More Mysterious

Two ‘predators’–a wolf and a fox–and the shaft of light that has them mesmerized. I don’t know who they are.

I don’t recall if I have said much here about archetypes, but they show up here all the time. Some symbols are so widely used that they are near enough universal for our purposes. You should not have to know me or anything about me to make sense of the work I am doing, if you know just a bit of traditional folklore or poetry. ‘Archetype’ is mainly a particular word for ‘there it is again; I might be starting to understand what it means.’ It also means the original, of which all others are copies.

8 March 2021

8

The Shaft of Light

The porch light stayed on through the rain and the howling

of winter in form of a wolf and a fox

frustrated with outpouring rage and the solemn

idea that what would next exit the box

they themselves lately barely escaped from–would finish

the journey they’d only just started this night.

Why would she stand staring out of her window?

What if she finally shut off the light?

Predators menace and vultures go wheeling

above in a circle that rolls like an egg

on an uneven table, a sky dressed for meals of

the kind she’s invited to be, not to beg

to be spared–for the hunger that’s starting to raven.

Whether the wolf or the fox finds her first,

they will be saddened to find they still haven’t

assembled a meal–not till all their lungs burst

for the power of what they’ve been keeping inside them.

The glory of song–how it shone in the night,

so attractive to those best acquainted with hiding

away from the least slant of difficult light–

How it shines from the porch, with the door standing open.

How she appears to be staring at naught.

How you must wonder–but don’t seek to know what

she’s hearing: That light will go off like a shot.

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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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