The Meditation Cave

When I was 17 years old, I had a Big Dream that initiated me into poetry. It left me with questions that have slowly started to find answers over the years. My guide in the dream led me through water to a sacred cave and told me his name and that he was my Muse. He said urgently, No matter where you think you are, this is where you really are. That part I have not questioned; I have worked accordingly. It fits in with a long poetic tradition in my culture, if one now considered unorthodox, that poets are somehow connected with the fairy or faery world, the fey.

[Remind me to get back to the word-lore of ‘fairy’ and ‘fey’ soon–if you don’t know it already, it is fascinating.]

At the same time, the cave setting seemed to reflect the Buddhist tradition of meditating in caves–the dream had other aspects that suggested this. A poet with a Muse sounds quite Western, especially as my work has turned out to be so focused on love–not wide-angle Buddhist compassion, but a trained focus on one numinous individual who raises the poet’s energy to the near spontaneous-combustion threshold. Buddhist poetry is wonderful, but it is Buddhist; the Lovers’ story as it has come to me would be clinging to illusion by such terms. It is a path, but a circuitous one.

So I am a lyric poet who agrees that what I am making is in a way just another dimension or extension of conditioned reality. But if the content of the lyrics eventually points out that no human relationship ultimately lasts, just as no-thing ever does, or does not, ad infinitum–and it turns out in the end that the whole corpus of lyric verse was an elaborate scripture on finding the way that, after all is seen quite through, is revealed as one of the quickest and least laborious–well, our Lovers aren’t on the battlefield learning through much harder lessons. For the rest of those in Samsara, we are easier to live with, even good company sometimes. And there is a resolution to the apparent opposites; we know it, vaguely; we haven’t lived it yet.

That is trying to happen. Buddhist, Pagan, Christian, Mysterious Poet (that being my favorite religious affiliation): No choosing; if I aim for the moral standards each demands and meet most of them, remaining open to their more subtle teachings, I will be all right, and anyone who is ever influenced by these poems will not be led astray.

So it’s all for the highest good, as far as I can see. Hoping for the best eventual outcome still requires a bit of faith, but it’s clearing; I am the one still vague.

‘Apport’ (verb or noun) refers to an object manifested by a spirit medium during a seance. This poem posits that a weightless ‘nothing’ would be easier to bring across than one with physical mass. Or thereabouts; it’s a poem! But all nothing/ness refers to non-duality at the same non-real time.

16 March 2021

16

The Weightless Air

All the days as long as trickled

rain that slowly slides down glass,

and nothing but a sign that little

nothingness will ever pass–

ending with the same beginning

hovering before her here.

This is where she hangs her sinful

head and begs to disappear–

hearing in return a single

syllable that hums inside

half the heart that beats one wing of

such a pair: Well-known and tried–

left behind but not forgotten–

rediscovered by its own

reluctant maker–never sought for,

waiting where she goes alone

searching out the reason sleepless

longing haunts her heart so hard.

All night how much worry keeps her

vigilant. The way is barred;

an oddly shining object humming

troublesomely bends her track.

She hesitates but slowly coming

closer, fangs and claws attack

behind her–eyes but in this instance

she is not beholding true.

Will it vibrate as she listens,

will they hear each other through–

Only if the go-between and

intermediary air

negotiates an all-unseeing

nothingness two lovers share

will she find her daylight easy,

nights of song nor long nor short,

bliss between two wings hard-beating.

Nothing–this–their souls apport.

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Looking Both Ways

I’m almost afraid to look back, but on reflecting, I think yesterday’s poem played a little trick on me. Why did bees appear? They have priors, but why just then? And birds all of a sudden? Oh. The Birds and the Bees. A little nervous pulse is throbbing somewhere, but so far it is only in the poems.

The constant return to the image of a child, usually specified as a boy, must be a Christian echo–but that doesn’t reveal as much as it might seem, if so. The Lovers are both in and out of time, so the woman might be seeing the man’s earlier stages, perhaps from more than one life. They will also allude to whatever archetypal imagery serves, as they are where it originates. They are in the Imaginal, so the rules are whatever they need them to be. It’s confusing from here, not least to me. The poems have a sort of integrity of coherence in the long run, so I try to trust them.

Almost Spring Equinox–that always brings some interesting magic. Preparations are under way!

15 March 2021

15

Can–Will–Dare?

She held a silent, smiling child

in a brittle photograph long ago–

one which had faded all the while

its presence had waited for her to know

the child was unwanted then, and still.

Frost on the window glaring white,

litter inside the windowsill

where snow’s gotten in–good day, good night,

good omen–you first-rate waking sign.

How is he so familiar now,

though he must surely–dying lie–

Don’t tell me more than lore allows–

I have an absent sense of no

wonder the Moon is full and new:

Deep in the eyes of childish woe,

someone is signing sooth through you–

peeled like a slow grey shadow-ghost

off a thin paper surface cracked

and bent to a purpose known to most

of those of us here–old paper backed

by the name of the littlest orphan boy.

What if he’d lived only long as this,

knowing his letters would bring her joy,

if only the gift of secret bliss

he’d borne across nothing existing so

her pleasure would bloom a soul through skin.

Only a ghost, a child of woe–

he can’t take you home. Can you let him in?

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Tapped Out?

For the millionth time, today I almost slacked off. I could not see anything happening if I tried to work–my head was dull and empty. But my conscience is apparently stronger than my laziness, so I tried anyway. Results below. The main thing to know is, whether it is literature or not, it came almost straight through, in a matter of minutes. That is no indication of quality, but it is an indication that I am no judge of my own fitness to work!

My plan for now, as I have mentioned, is to keep working to maintain poetic records of something that is underway. Might not be useful to anyone, but that remains to be seen.

These two, the Lovers–now I am shaking my head. What are they up to? There are always layers of glass, ice, veils, various semi-obscuring materials, and yet nothing is really in the way. Such is the Imaginal: familiar, yet strange.

[Sorry about the formatting, especially of longer pieces. WordPress doesn’t like mine. but it’s easier to read.]

14 March 2021

14

Return in Spring

Nothing was there, when she picked up the panel of glass and stared through it, but suddenly–like

a pale drift of rain from a cloud lying low to the ground she could see it, the next lightning strike

that would certainly find her–the last had missed only by inches and seconds. She saw it take shape,

the cloud lying higher–and higher. Her hands were electric and humming. A wreath bound with crepe,

a note on the door warning messengers–this is the emptiest domicile now, and will be.

Sometimes I nurse the same headache all night, but it comes round again that he sent this to me,

the one who will now never, ever deliver. She puts down the panel, and sees in mid-air–

I must be the caster of shadows myself, for she’s scared half to death, yet there’s nobody there.

It rushes downhill through the long central column that bears her upright, but live lightning it’s not;

read for yourself why the literate blessing it means her burns through her on contact, so hot

flares that element meeting our common-air weather; she radiates warmth like a night-orb that glows

through the forests and storms of this dark holy night which will always surrender the ghost of its rose

to the one who first brought it and shyly bestowed it on spirits as all they stand round in a ring.

Won’t she be happy to know they still wait for her shadow to pass, as they struggle to cling

to her little grey ripple of hem as she draws it across the green lawn of the otherworld field.

My shy one, I also confess–in the night, when your eyes had been weeping, my own eyes were steeled

for the first hostile ray from the huge angry planet, the one that’s been burning your pallor away.

Walk out tonight if you dare, when the sky is as charged with high lightning as any foul day–

but tender as well, and just follow the source of the light you can bear till it shows you–no Sun;

under the light of the Moon you can see is the far stranger light of the lovelier one.

She was fearful that you’d never see what she tried so to show you; she gathered her powers, and–struck.

Only her face in the transparent glass was reflected with gardens where honeybees suck

a sticky exudate from flowers so willing, they lean on their stalks lest the bees pass them by.

What are you telling me, so humming vision, and insects that drone half-asleep as they fly?

Gather it all in an early-spring armful of very pale fragrance and very small leaves,

then share it with someone who waits in the mist for the dawn of the song nothing morbid bereaves

and nothing inhibits but seasonal changes of sky overhead as the rainy clouds clear

and she takes up a thin sheet of glass and she stares till she’s dizzy but certainly no one comes near–

till she finally opens and read it, the message he meant her to have–but she closed her eyes first.

No, he was not by her side to deliver its omens and signs, so the clouds swelled and burst–

then the spring came in earnest, with bees making music and blossoms so heavy–her heart hurts for words.

What would it matter if–petals were feathers–and struck in return?–never lightning, just birds?

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The Polestar Sign

Today has been a very different sort of day. To start with, I have been trying to learn to work with runes a little bit, so the first thing I did was select one to represent the energies of the present time. I got the best pick, Wunjo, Joy. Good news! Within a couple of hours, a small eBay conflict had been happily resolved, I had received a parcel much looked forward to, and I had spoken with my Dad on the phone and been told that he has a girlfriend. This is great! Anything that makes him happy will keep him with us longer. He has excellent judgment, so if he approves of her, she is surely good people.

And then, with enough this-worldliness looked after, it was time to Work. It seems to keep saying that someone is looking for me, but that is all I know. And I am still a bit concerned that I seem to know a little too much about what I am doing, which has never happened before! I am used to being the last one to know what’s going on. My sense, which has been strengthened by visions repeatedly showing me pages and pages of paper, some written on and some blank, is that a change is coming that will amount to a breakthrough of some kind. Not that many people remain as actively involved with lyric verse as I have for this long, so I feel that what I will ultimately bring across will have considerable value. But I have to get there, and I have never been the patient one.

The word ‘patience’ appears in some form in nearly everything I make these days. Wonder why!

The connection the following poem makes is with fainting spells more than actual near-death experiences, but I once had a very strange episode that I think was both. Part of what remains untold has to do with actual erotic emotions and sensations as they occur not only in mystical or spiritual states, but along with so much of female embodied experience–untold, at least, in my culture. States of awareness we are taught to keep to ourselves, sometimes until we cannot recall them at all. The unspoken truths–the nefas, forbidden to speak of truths–are so powerful, and all just waiting to be told.

Will I get there? Yes. Will I get there, while I am still in this body, with these typing fingers? We shall see!

Meanwhile–that all sounds so highfalutin’. The poem says it better:

13 March 2021

13

The Polestar Sign

She woke up alone, after slipping and falling

(the ice wasn’t thin; you were heavy, and sharp).

How do you know where to go when they call you?

There wasn’t an angel who carried a harp,

and there wasn’t a Being of Powerful Brilliance

who loved her as if she should understand why.

There wasn’t that much of an anything, really.

High overhead, though–the Polestar a sky

was created to wind round with velvety midnight,

and all in its most shining rays–one she knew.

She’d seen herself in a dream with it hidden

beneath her long veil of dark linen–it threw

a spark of its splendid, invisible essence

so far through the distance–it pierced the strange heart

that lay in its path, in a gesture of blessing

that soothed, yet concealed a much farther, strange art–

which it waited with uncanny patience to show her

as if from within–as real magic unfolds–

and no one who isn’t inside its enclosure

can understand why the last secret it holds

hasn’t already…. Now she can feel in the thunder

that once was a pulse as the very sky raced–

She knew she had fallen; the love she lay under

was smiling so kindly, she came undisgraced–

and was vivid within her own spirit for love of

the word of return a great Soul had just told

to the ghost of its own most beloved: Another

high Polestar is shining. Love all you can hold.

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Hollowed Out

The poems are best when they come too quickly for me to think about. I don’t want to know what they mean until they have said it. That takes forebearance–I am as ego-invested as anyone in creating dignified work that will not embarrass me! The problem is that one never knows which work that will be until it is too late.

Tonight, I saw a woman gazing into a mirror–not at, but through, her face. She was searching for something down the long hollow tunnel or tube she saw stretching away in the silvered glass. She found it, and then she had to understand it. Her perspective shifted, and she was not sure which end of the tunnel she was at. She thought she started out as the one outside looking in, but now? Someone else is there.

She was led to this place by a song that inspired her, and she was hoping to hear more. Magic songs, to retrieve from the other world. By the she returns from the mirror, she has all the images; now to retrieve their message. Lamb–springtime–sacrifice? Never mind; it’s still in motion; we might never really know.

Knowing too much is the real end of the line. Not much danger of that!

12 March 2021

12

Out of a Hollow Sky

The mirrored reflection led down to a hollow

that swiftly proceeded along a dark track

and twisted around till she felt herself falling

forever toward–where there’s no turning back.

The music repeated, containing the message

that spoke to her soul so directly she wept,

then opened again and again further lessons

and soon she was borne through a passage–windswept–

like a burden of feathers through uncanny weather,

and nothing of home in the valley in view.

I had a long hopeless talk with the leather

that once used to wear a live lamb–not a ewe,

because lambs of his breed seldom linger past springtime.

One little twist of the knife, like the trail

through the endlessly unreeling shadows here winging

across the bare field where she crosses the pale

and exceeds outer limits of bounded protection.

Now she’s a lamb to the slaughter, perhaps–

but she goes on unknown and unnoticed–selected

by someone who knows where the shadows lay traps

and where they escape from their own bad devices.

Darker the way, but her eyes start to clear.

Something is borne on the wind beyond ice, and

it’s melting the edge of the sight shining here–

The ice is reflective in moonlight, a mirror-

bright glimpse there awaiting its caster of gleams

that shine in the eyes only known to appear in

the very last moment before waking dreams

subside into daily, reflective, awakened

yet magical–weather–as if we were skies,

while under us–poor helpless children–poor maiden,

poor mourned one–we shine like spring rain to their eyes.

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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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