Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Personal Myth, Extended


Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida - El Ciego de Toledo


Personal Myth, Extended
(Part Two, for Beltane)



This is the house of enough and more
that cannot be written.
You enter as one blind never to leave,
fingers finding sense from stucco
feeling out that every lover
wears one face under the beaked masks
that make ravens turn to doves, 
touching love's tumbling fall
to dancebraid Mayday's flower ribbons
in a wildfire burning over the wall
whose back the fool straddles
nailed in mid jump
to a cross of forgiveness
fresh split as any poppy
by the desire of the bee
first to ravage, then drawn to reverie.

Under the lintel I’ve buried 
the bones of the ogre
made an urn from his cyclops skull, 
one burred hole for drainage
and in it planted rowan to mistress the door
of the room where the moon makes up
the wide galleon bed we favor 
till the narrow one arrives, where the back 
is never turned, where the sound of no,
not now is never heard
where there is only blent music, 
sonata of surrender settling
pianissimo from burnt umber dark,
played on tortoiseshells of spine, primed
in murmurous pantomime.

No one else is left to pay us 
any mind, or listen over locusts' skythrown hum
even the woman who presently
will bring us tea on the balcony,
where I'll fold myself in your hand
and hold your cry in my palm
talisman and tribute to this night.
The rising sun melts storms we leave behind
bulwarked in a house of smoke
far from that tempest place
where each day is a feeding wave
that eats away another set of cells,
each softer, more chalk-white than the last
sucked off the gnawed self's skin
till bitten lips give up their skullthin grin.

Instead we sip the rosehip cup 
with heartbeats pink as leaping salmon,
thoughts quick as seals         
below winter's creeping ice, and
gaze into eyes that have no bottom
here in the last gold morning 
before the wrong century tries to define
us flat as the grapes of a sour wine.



Van Gogh 1888-03, Arles - Two Lovers (Fragment) F 544 JH 1369

April 2012 
 revisions, May 1st




Posted for  OpenLinkNight   at dVerse Poets Pub


Again apologies for the long and rambling nature of this piece, and a nod to Emily Dickinson for the last lines of the first stanza. This is still a far from finished poem or even series, but I thought this part of it fit the spirit of the pagan holiday of Beltane, which falls today on the First of May. 





Header Image: The Blind Man of Toledo, 1906, by Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida 
Public domain, via wikimedia commons
Footer Image: Two Lovers, 1888, fragment, by Vincent Van Gogh
Public domain, via wikimedia commons






44 comments:

  1. happy beltane...some really fascinating lines in this...and imagery...the burying of the ogre's cyclops head and planting within to be the mistress of the door....it was this run on of layers of imagery that was so cool...the lines that cought me though may be a bit of an odd choice but...

    where I'll fold myself in your hand
    and hold your cry in my palm

    this is like yin yang to me, infinity, a never ending circle between your palm his hand, never knowing where one begins and one ends...

    i like it much...

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  2. Hi Hedge, so you do have inspiration! I also really liked the lines Brian sited, and the beginning especially -- the feeling the way on stucco. I love the image of thoughts quick as seals and heartbeats like the salmon, the rosehip cup--all in all beautiful imagery with a kind of pagan backdrop. I'm not sure that I followed all, but also the language is so strong and suggestive and vivid that one feels that one is getting a great deal even without being completely certain of the thread. (I don't mean that in a negative way.) I've been contemplating an old May 1 poem but it's rather an odd one so not sure if worth re-posting. K.

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    1. I liked the poem you eventually did come up with, disturbing as it was. Thanks for reading, K--glad you can tell this is one of those I got from those 'voices' in my head. ;_)

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  3. I found this a most intense read, deeply layered with your knowledge of the mythologies, yet with a voice for the modern reader.
    I especially liked your lead in to the final stanza:

    Instead we sip the rosehip cup
    with heartbeats pink as leaping salmon... it plays out with a real sense of an ending.

    (Love your hollyhocks.. what I wouldn't give for a guided tour around your spring garden!)

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    1. Thanks, Kerry. Someday I'll put up a garden slideshow, now that all the poem a day stuff is finally over.

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  4. awesome images in this...loved esp. the..Under the lintel I’ve buried
    the bones of the ogre and making an urn from his cyclops skull...and also like the folding hand a crying in palm line...need to check out beltane...never heard about him..we have a bank holiday today..it's the day of work..

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    1. Just go visit Brendan's post, Claudia--you'll get the idea. ;_) I know Mayday in Europe is more tied into the various revolutions and workers' movements and what our Labor Day sort of is here--they gutted it and moved it to fall here because of the Union demonstrations in the '30's.

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  5. An enviable myth, every rich and luscious image. They shift so lovingly, I read them like a favorite movie. Really, really enjoyed this.

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  6. Praising is what matters! That's what Rilke's Orpheus proclaimed to us from the boneyard borders of the heart. Your Myths are to me widdershin charms against your earlier Laments, burnt house become stone chapel, with its potted plant in the ogre's skull and the "wide galleon bed" fit for two until those narrower barks queue up. Maybe there's a cost to "no one's left to pay us / any mind", but to me that's a great comfort. The final stanza's where the real fun starts, the communion and connubial (loved those "heartbeats pink as leaping salmon, / thoughts quick as seals / below winter's creeping ice"!) no stay against the inevitable hammers that all fall on us but gold enough -- dew to draw out "the desire of the bee / first to ravage, then to reverie." Brilliant, Hedge. I can't wait to read through the rest of the year. - B

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    1. I swear someday I am going to sestina all this, but it's a very impatient sort of poem. Thanks so much for reading tonight, B.

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  7. we maypole dance...at primary school i was soooo fat i used to have to sit on the pole base to stop it from tipping... wierdly post puberty - i lost all the weight and all the pretty girls danced around me...especially at the start of spring - lol....

    i think we were tuned in to the same uncanny mainline this week hedge - the archeytypal communal pool - love the cyclops skull, always! - so handy too, one burred hole for drainage...awesome!

    spring has actually sprung here today after a week of monsoons...

    that dog picture is the freaking bomb!

    cheers hedge :D

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    1. I def agree--soon as I saw your cheeky beaky Dr Daw I knew we'd somehow hallucinated similar images. Glad that spring is in the air--its supposed to be pretty good in England according to a few thousand Elizabethan poets.

      I thought you'd dig the dog man.

      Peace--and thanks, Arron.

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  8. I don't know quite yet where you're going with the longer poem butbwherever it is it's gonna be good. This is set deep in the heart where so many secrets lie hidden, barely ever seeing day. Your quite mantic in some of your images, like a blind prophetess spilling the beans to the rest of the world about things we either never imagined were true about love or just don't want to acknowledge for fear we might be found out for the half-life beings we often become for one reason or another. Having said this, I think there's something deeply Platonic about your intent, by which I mean the Diotima dimension of the Symposium, the seer who taught Socrates all he knew about love, he said. I look forward to seeing how this progresses.

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    1. Well, Charles, first, thanks very much for your deep reading here. Second, as an atheist, I don't know that I see the Divine the way Socrates(or Diotima) did, as I see it more as an ultimate expression of the redeeming spirituality and good that is human, humanly possible, and within us. Perhaps, ultimately, that amounts to the same thing.

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  9. Whew...that last stanza. You know how to bring it home, baby!

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  10. Never apologize... everything you post is amazing. I love all the rich images in this one, especially-

    where there is only blent music,
    sonata of surrender settling
    pianissimo from burnt umber dark,
    played on tortoiseshells of spine, primed
    in murmurous pantomime

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  11. I want to go there. . .
    where the sound of 'no not now' is never heard.

    And a nod to your nod to Emily - beautiful to me whenever heard! :P

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  12. Lord have mercy and Blessed Be! This is amazing. I was THERE, Hedge. Damn.

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  13. The assonance and consonance in this is perfect. The imagery is great and so creative. The second to last stanza ends at such a great place, I wonder if it should end there. ? The sound of the words and the imagery is so strong and sounds so final:

    sucked off the gnawed self's skin
    till bitten lips give up their skullthin grin.

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  14. this has so many wonderful lines... love these especially:
    The rising sun melts storms we leave behind
    bulwarked in a house of smoke
    far from that tempest place

    such a timeless feel to the whole piece, perfect for beltane!

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  15. touching love's tumbling fall
    to dancebraid Mayday's flower ribbons

    I don't understand it all and I'm sure it has something to do with my lack of knowledge on the subject matter, but I admire the way these words roll off the tongue, the cadence, the carefully placed consonants and vowels... I always enjoy reading your words out loud.

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  16. There is so much to leap through in this poem, and I kept saying yes, yes, yes. Your personal mythology is gorgeously developed in your work, and your themes, images and lyricism are so often truly inspired, like "heartbeats pink as leaping salmon" ... wow. I love how, and that, you scrape off the bones and put them to your own uses, for beauty, love and dance, the May Day of self, your ribbons that always triumph over winter.

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    1. Thank you, Ruth. As Gilbert says, 'the dance most of all.' You have to do it even when the old bones are stiff--well, not because you have to, but because its fun.

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  17. Fuck. ME.

    I was liking it, planning on quoting some lines, leaving some well deserved kudos, and then I hit that penultimate stanza. Really, Hedge, I looked better with hair. And then that ending did it fine justice. Keep the damn bar. I'll start writing haiku!

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    1. Gasp! Not that!-truly one of the most profound complements I've ever received--and you can borrow my wig any time dear. After I read your stuff, I usually put one of those rainbow clown ones on. ;-)

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  18. Beltane! Something that was once so important to the populace and now has been perverted. I went to a Beltane celebration about 4 years ago, and the control and ego of the 'head' participants really destroyed the intent. Ugh. Where we were up for a wild celebration of the spirit of Beltaine, it was so directed and controlled. Ugh again. Never again, this will be (and is) celebrated in my garden and around the pond just for us.

    Your poem. Geez,Hedgewitch, what can I say? The imagery here is so RICH that I fall into it and have to study it over and over...and that isn't bad. You are a master (mistress) of these historical/mythical poems and you bring them to life like no other.

    Brava...I am printing this out to read and study. The gold shines through, but there is so much more in your poetry.

    Jane

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    1. Thank you, Jane. I always appreciate your thoughtful commentary.

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  19. "This is the house of enough and more" ... With the opening line, you had me sitting up straight at the edge of my chair, knowing this was going somewhere serious.

    LOVE these:
    "fingers finding sense from stucco"
    "whose back the fool straddles"
    "made an urn from his cyclops skull"
    "sonata of surrender settling
    pianissimo from burnt umber dark"
    "where I'll fold myself in your hand"
    "sucked off the gnawed self's skin"
    "gaze into eyes that have no bottom"

    And oh my word, that ending!!!

    "before the wrong century tries to define
    us flat as grapes of a sour wine"

    Incredible work, Hedge.

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    1. To me, this is about sensuality, love, and self unbound by time.

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    2. Thanks, Shawna--you have an eye for the lines that pleased me as well--and yes, that's my favorite part of the myth. ;_)

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  20. Complex and challenging....but capturing a spiritual quality- imbued by some among descriptions using animals (seals, salmon! grapes, tortoishells, bees, bones, skulls) which imbued (to me anyway) a deep connection with nature, life, and death- pollination,fertilisation, migration, renewed life- all things that sprung into my mind. I may be missing the point- but this is how this spoke to me! Great time of year for this piece!

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    1. Thanks, Stu--I think that's a solid reading. Nature is what keeps me sane, cuz it sure ain't people. ;-)

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  21. Joy,
    You create a beautiful sanctuary of peace, mystery and fulfillment. The last two stanzas resolve especially for me:
    "The rising sun melts storms we leave behind
    bulwarked in a house of smoke
    far from that tempest place"

    Repite, a place where you can fend off the forces that would define who you should be. Worth a visit there any time. Excellent thoughts and execution.

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  22. Love this...This is the house of enough and more
    that cannot be written. ...and then...a wonderful capture, simply beautiful!

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  23. This part jumped out at me "feeling out that every lover
    wears one face under the beaked masks
    that make ravens turn to doves" Unfortunately too many of my lovers have worn dove masks over raven beaks. I also love the intimacy of the hand-holding stanza.

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  24. I think this is one of your important pieces. It isn't easy to completely fathom; there are no signposts yet for the rest of us. The pieces fit together in enchanted ways spraying magic all over in a spring ritual of beauty, bounty, and new growth. I understand why you think of it as a draft. Here is this beautiful vessel formed so carefully and artfully but until you glaze it with the perfect form and fire it bluewhite in a crucible of care, you probably won't feel you have it perfect. I understand that, although like Michaelangelo's Slaves or unfired urns, it may be equally beautiful in its unfinished state. Either way the piece is compelling and up to your always high standards.

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  25. This is wonderful - at once the freshness of paint dripping from the brush, but guided with hard-won wisdom. It feels a poem that must be heard. That final stanza is utter perfection (not a word to be thrown in lightly).

    I felt swept along by music and that I had read a whole history in these tight-woven stanzas. Life seeps through. Thank you.. I am ready for my day now!

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  26. 'that make ravens turn to doves'

    Ever a revealing phrase,Joy! Many occasions get answered when ravens turn to doves. A sneaky character gets friendly or a threatening situation turns peaceful. Deep thoughts here. Great write, Ma'am!

    Hank

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  27. When Fireblossom threatens to switch to haiku, you KNOW you have written brilliantly! (Shay, would you please post a bald photo?) This IS truly brilliant writing, Hedge. Especially loved "that makes ravens turn to doves" and the "locusts' skythrown hum". Wow. So so good.

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  28. this is an extra rich piece. you unearth heavy words and sounds, and they're accessible becuz you seem to mingle them with a simplicity that speaks to something directly inside me. for me it's like stone and mortar. to wit:

    sonata of surrender settling
    pianissimo from burnt umber dark,
    played on tortoiseshells of spine, primed
    in murmurous pantomime.

    no one else is left to pay us
    any mind, or listen over locusts' skythrown hum
    even the woman who presently
    will bring us tea on the balcony,
    where i'll fold myself in your hand
    and hold your cry in my palm
    talisman and tribute to this night.

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  29. Beltane, a favourite Sabbat for me :) I have one word for this - flawless! Absolutely flawless, remarkable work, I enjoy your writing because it leaves me in a daze - I do mean that in a good way :)
    Dazed as in, wow! lol
    In awe!
    xoxo

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  30. Hey Joy--I have to confess that I don't know from Beltane--I am just very ignorant of these types of mythology/iconography--and I think this is a super powerful poem--but I do not think it is so much like the other--and you have to take this with a large grain of salt as I am a reader that tends to like simpler over complex--for example, I love Rilke's short poems and have never really read the Duino Elegies--so keep that in mind--but I think this is a poem which conveys a sense of betrayal and the other of longing and that is a big difference--there is loss in the other, but there is an idea (seems to me) that that loss is part of the cost of life, whereas there is more personal animus here--and I am not to say which makes for better poetry, although I tend to feel that the acceptance of lost is possibly a step to wisdom--I always tend to make a distinction between Tolstoy and artists who are more Romantic--Levin in the wheat field--as opposed to something more like the bateau ivre or even Bob Dylan --i don't know how that fits with these two poems except to say that I am all for being taught about acceptance though I (and all) love a good dose of the more bittersweet. I am sorry if this makes no sense whatsoever--I think they are both wonderful poems. k.

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'Poetry is an echo asking a shadow to dance' ~Carl Sandburg