Wednesday, July 23, 2014



Worm to shell
shaft to womb
soul to soul
we lay so many times
that inside grew the outside
whorl by whorl.
Your script of touch
became a scroll
a star carved arabesque
upon the skin we layered
kiss by kiss,
stone flowers for
 the cover of our rest;
small, so small,
my love, the
fossil of that whole.

~July 2014

posted for     real toads

Challenge: Words Count With Mama Zen
The ever-tersely-eloquent Mama Zen (another damn poetry blog) asks us to write something in sixty words or less inspired by images of minute fossilized animals under magnification. See more at the toads link above.

 Optional Musical Accompaniment

Image provided by Mama Zen

Monday, July 21, 2014


(Flight MH17)

A glare-dot blotting
a white expanse
bleeding its way
past a bandaged moon;

a silken chill
in a summer sky
a febrifuge, a fool's refuge
burning up by noon;

sudden the strike,
the shattered seam,
the twist in fire
the jackal calls its dream.

Fill the cup
for the hummingbird up,
open the bud
for the bee,

let the grass grow
where bodies were snow;
but remember
remember me.

~July 2014

posted for       real toads
Open Link Monday

Images: Sunrise, 1916, by Georgia O'Keefe
Posted under fair use guidelines
Hummingbird Cup, copyright joyannjones 2014

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Tenth World

The Tenth World

Nine worlds walk 
in the count of all things:
one for fire and smoke
one for mist and ice;
two were made for the gods of life
and change, one for cold death, another
for the dark in the Dripping Hall,
one for the bright ones beneath the Fair Roof;
one for the giants where all things begin,
one pulled out complete for the time of men.

The Seer came traveling
over each one by one. She sought
the spinning, the Well and the Tree;
the farther shores, the other skies
where the dancing of wheat
and mollusks meet
where the wise one dies
choked in his thoughts
to brew the robbed mead
of gods and skalds.

From the Old Ones she learned
the names for all things:
the Ways, the Weaver
the Wind's Kite of Clouds,
the Hush and Wave
of sea and calm air,
Wildfire, green Wand,
the flying Seed
and the Foaming that steals
away sense and care.

She traveled each world
high to deep, end to end
till her closed eye could see
where all traveling ascends,
where the moon's mare runs wild
at last wolf-free,
where Lif and Lifthrasir
have found the Tree
in the Tenth World's
pine-candled sanctuary.

~July 2014

posted for    real toads

Fireblossom Friday: Another You
The  incomparable and incendiary Fireblossom (Shay's Word Garden) asks us to imagine another world on which there is another you; I have gone a bit overboard by imagining ten worlds, but at least only one hedgewitchian alter-ego. (And she did most generously say, 'Really, anything the clip inspires you to write will be okay.' so that'll larn her.) Thanks to all who have the patience to wade through my mythological self-indulgence.

Process Notes: To cite everything I've dismantled from Norse mythology here would be an exercise even longer than the poem, but below you will find at least a few high points, with some explanatory links to wikipedia. Please don't feel you have to read any of this unless you are so inclined:

Norse mythology posits at least six 'homeworlds' and the Poetic Edda lists nine, which I have cataloged in stanza one.
In stanza two, The Well is Mimir's, and the Tree is Yggdrasil.  Skald is the old Norse for scholar, or poet. I also refer to the myth of Kvasir, the 'man who knew all the answers' and his demise at the hands of the dwarves who murdered him, then told the gods he had suffocated in his own intelligence (details can be found here, ) as well as Odin's theft of the resultant Mead of Poetry (here.) I will just quote this one part, because I love it:" Odin [spat his loot out quickly into containers placed by the Aesir]. But Suttung was so close.. that ..some drop[ped] backwards. Anybody could drink this part, which is known as the "rhymester's share"... But the [true] mead of poetry was given by Odin to the gods and to the [skalds ...]"
Stanza three, again plundering the Poetic Edda, has the names given by the Vanir (the oldest Norse gods, thought possibly to be originally Indo-European deities of magic, nature and fertility) to the world and various things in it: Earth(the Ways) Heaven(the Weaver) Ale(the Foaming) wind, clouds, sea, etc.
Stanza four refers to Lif and Lifthrasir, who shelter in a protected wood called Hoddmímis holt, and are the Adam and Eve-like couple chosen to repopulate the earth after  ragnarök.   I have invented the phrase 'Tenth World' as a name for whatever might exist then, after the old gods and old worlds have passed.

Image: An amulet of gold from the Iron Age, thought to depict the Vanir Freyr and his wife the giantess Gerth(Geror,Gerd) Public domain  via wikimedia commons

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Terra Cotta

Terra Cotta

 "Maybe you'll get a replacement/There's plenty like me to be found
Mongrels who ain't got a penny/Sniffing for tidbits like you on the ground"
~Bernie Taupin/Elton John, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road 

Heretic's hand that sings
and  howls
hovering so close above me,
radiant with reflected heat
caught in tangled hair,
give me a last devil's blessing
before the waterfall of dawn
tumbles us apart to drown.

I followed the yellow sun
down a terra cotta road
striped over trembled hills
to four wild umber walls:
the house we once built
where plain clay cupped rosemary,
pooled scarlet poppies
to sentinel the door.

The wind that blew there
was neither desert nor sea
like me
like the green wood
or the cat
that kissed its own paw,
grown horns neath the murmuring tree;
inside there might be

hidden, on fire, all manner of feral feel
that we never knew. I walked on,
the changeling cat looking for you
in my next meal.

~July 2014 

posted for    real toads

Challenge: The Yellow Brick Road
Susie Clevenger (Confessions of a Laundry Goddess) gives us three songs having to do with the famous mythic road to Oz and points west as inspiration today. I incline to the one by Elton John, lyrics I'm sure by the incomparable Bernie Taupin.

Images: Tile mosaic, artist unknown, photo only copyright joyannjones 2014
Cat and Bird, by Paul Klee, Public domain via

Monday, July 14, 2014



The drum is beating low
constant as Leviathon’s heart
far up in a moonless basin
lapped by the ocean of night.

Flame flares ghosts of grasses
born on the banshee’s wind; a
bent man dances in animal mask
to the calcareous rattle of bones.

In this black smoke and flicker
his hunter's chant chimes like electrum, 
his words are a lintel of stars 
on the doorway of morning,

each flying its arrow
home to a circle of tears.
Wounds unhealed, wounds unknown
open and close

like speaking mouths
with tongues of silk.
I’m undone for the ritual
more than naked,

brindled with shadow
wings spread like Isis
to fall instead, only
Psyche’s origami moth,

feathered eyestalks a tickle
on his palm till 
dark’s next whisper.
I reach my hand

to the mask, sweat-slick
where it rubs the skin raw.
The drum, the dance
go silent.

~June 2011
 revised, July, 2014
posted for the third anniversary of 
The Imaginary Garden With Real Toads
Since Kerry asked us to celebrate the occasion by sharing an older poem, here is one, revised, which I wrote a lifetime ago, or was it only three years....time flies when you're flying.

Top Image: Figure de pleureuse, Musée du Louvre
Eighteenth dynasty (between circa and circa  BC)
Terracotta sculpture; thought to be Isis mourning Osiris 
Bottom: The Goddess Isis, from a painting in the tomb of of Seti I
circa 1380-1335 BCE 

Unless otherwise indicated, all content © Joy Ann Jones 2010, 2011, 2012. All rights reserved.