Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Dancing On The Tombs

Dream, M.C. Escher, 1935




Dancing On The Tombs 


By day
she's sane enough

though often the alpha in the herd will lift
a muzzle and sense...something off.
No one wants to come too close
because of the wild so poorly
concealed under the makeup.
Still, by day she's sane enough.

At night, she prowls on Escher stairs
turning back and back among the tombs
dancing to sharps in the Inquisitor's song,
to green voices in trees, nacreous hums in fishscale
clouds skinned over the moon, red yells in demon winds;
her head bobs rhythmically at these, her kin.

She sings to the unquiet dead, adds interrogation
to conversations of chaos, invents answers
too blue to believe, too black to weave
the color she wants. She keeps her ears
out far on their stalks, seeking the Beast
let loose in the moon marbled night.

She has a bed, a sanctum's space, a nun's cell where 
his angelus sounds, yet each night she spins out the
door, dry seed in a whirlwind, clawed half-made from her pod
trying to climb the stars, falling, calling, explaining, wanting
owl hoots for a voice so she can cry without being found.

But by day
she's sane enough.

June 2012





Posted for   OpenLinkNight   at dVerse Poets Pub 




If you would like to hear the poem read by the author, click below:





Image: Dream, by M.C.Escher, 1935
May be protected by copyright of which no infringement is intended.


60 comments:

  1. Intriguing, surreal... I especially like-

    She sings to the unquiet dead, adds interrogation
    to conversations of chaos, invents answers
    too blue to believe, too black to weave
    the color she wants.

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  2. Hi Joy,

    This is compelling. I agree that the lines Laurie mentions are super strong - this interrogation in the conversations of chaos--is wonderfully interesting and cool - and all the business about the alpha and the herd and then the make-up coming in to bring us back to the human, and of course, the end is very strong too.

    I want to mention how helpful the commas are there = especially at the end - as they really help that enjambment work so beautifully - wanting owl hoots for the disguised voice - we (meaning plodding me) understand how the line flows (which it does really wonderfully) given the earlier punctuated breaks and the lack of one there. (Couldn't help myself, but the enjambment really works well.) k.

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    1. Thanks, k. This is one that has a lot of necessary pauses, so I felt it needed commas more than usual--you know I try to work the line breaks for that mostly, but here that wasn't possible. Glad it helped the narrative, and thanks for letting me slide on the hyphen in 'moon marbled'--I just couldn't do it. ;_)

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    2. Moon marbled is lovely, especially with the loose there. I know the hyphens seem fussy. I don't mind them, but I understand that there can be a benefit to a certain ambiguity. k.

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  3. Awesome ~~ made even more so by the sound of your voice .. the cadence of the reading.

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  4. At night, she prowls on Escher stairs

    by day she is sane enough....

    gives me a Jane Erye feeling...the duality of the feminine dynamic...loved it...bkm

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  5. I LOVE this!!!!!!! One of your best!

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  6. dang hedge....this is twisted good...love the touch on the escher stairs, that is one wicked cool pic and thinking of trying to climb those each night...this is really good progression...

    nacreous hums in fishscale
    clouds skinned over the moon, red yells in demon winds;
    her head bobs rhythmically at these, her kin.

    the fish scale, to skinned in the nest line...the demon wind her kin...nice....the wanting owl voice at the end is a bit eerie to me as well..

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  7. great walk to the dark places of the self.

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  8. trying to climb the stars, falling, calling, explaining, wanting
    owl hoots for a voice so she can cry without being found...but by day she's sane enough...love the escher stairs in this...the dance on the rim between sanity and insanity..and there can be just millimeters from one to the other...

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  9. calling, explaining, wanting
    owl hoots for a voice so she can cry without being found.

    That's a great notion...The inner being is always so much more complex than anyone else can imagine. This is an insightful and exciting write, filled with great pictures. Very fine job all around.

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  10. An incredible deep composition. I love the diction. The syntax of lines are arranged beautifully. This poem has a classic feel to it, something we don't read that often. Bravo!

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  11. Compeling is the word, for sure... i also agree that the syntax and distribution is spot on!... your twisting my melon man! :D

    some great stand out areas. among which this is my favourite:

    nacreous hums in fishscale
    clouds skinned over the moon, red yells in demon winds

    the whole is super compounded by your atmospherical, spine gripping reading... like i've tuned into a broadcast of the damned
    that is playing on loop - warning that night is nigh...

    great stuff hedge ... Escher is an added great touch too

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  12. sane enough....love where this one led

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  13. I have to say and after reading your poem, that sanity doesn't really appeal all that much anyway - luckily it's only required (if at all) by day... ;)

    Love the way you use primary colours and
    "dancing to sharps in the Inquisitor's song,"

    Reading you is always an adventure.

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  14. Beautiful poem, but left me feeling like I was dreaming; walked into the wrong classroom. Turned out it was calculous, and I coudn't even figure out algebra one. It was something to listen to though--almost like Miss Lydia in third period French. As I got up to leave, all the big kids were laughing and pointing, and I looked down to discover I'd come to school sans drawers, and Miss Lydia was still on my mind. I hate those kinda dreams, don't you?

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    1. Miss Hedgewitch runs a gentler kinder schoolroom my friend--you will never hear that sort of stuff from me--just perhaps an appreciative whistle.

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  15. ...nacreous hums in fishscale clouds skinned over the moon...

    Who comes up with a line like that but the Hedgewitch O' the Wilds?

    And "By day she's sane enough" flashes me back to too many former girlfriends.

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    1. No lie--they can warp out on you after dark in a heartbeat.

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  16. oh my, i am in love with this poem. would it be weird to say that is resonates with me?

    "She has a bed, a sanctum's space, a nun's cell where
    his angelus sounds, yet each night she spins out the
    door, dry seed in a whirlwind, clawed half-made from her pod"

    love it, all of it.

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  17. oh lordy. thank you to mrs. m, who sent me this way, and to you for these words. "and sense . . . something off." love, love, love that. i know that - that, and the poorly concealed wild. this is wonderful.

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  18. Oh wow...Escher stairs, and questionable sanity that is scented by the herd. LOVE it! LOVE!

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  19. Love your refrain in particular.

    Sadly, cannot hear you or others read. We have poor internet connection here I live; I guess it can't accommodate this software.

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    1. Oh no, it was me; had my headphones connected wrong. Have now very much enjoyed listening to your reading.

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    2. Thank you, Rosemary. Some people seem to get more out of the spoken version. Glad you got it to work.

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  20. I especially like the dimensions in this poem. It "does" that same sort of thing Escher does in his work. From the first reference to the "herd", we get a sense of wildness, then the woven darkness in the second culminating in a perfect last stanza -"yet each night she spins out the
    door, dry seed in a whirlwind, clawed half-made from her pod
    trying to climb the stars, falling, calling, explaining, wanting
    owl hoots for a voice so she can cry without being found."
    If that "mad" voice is you, let me go mad.

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  21. A great write, Joy. Love it.

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  22. WHAT A NIGHT!
    Thank God there is sanity
    in daylight...

    "...upon awakening, we commenced to ask..."

    Thanks for sharing your superb talent here--and imagination!

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  23. You poetry is such a good example of "show-don't-tell." I feel like going back and jotting down some of your images and verbs for reference. An example: "the clouds skinned over the moon." Yes!

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  24. A layered treat ~ seems like old time radio story haunted!
    Loved your reading too ~ super great images & mixed rhythms helped it flow out into the night!

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  25. Sane enough, but something off, I doubt it.

    One has to have a logic to prowl on Escher stairs and this unquiet dead one hears your hoot. I pray you and I more dreams as these.

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    1. Thanks Tug. Always good to see you here. and keep dreaming.

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  26. By day, in front of all, things seem normal. By night, away alone, such interesting journeys she takes as she seem to search and question. Superb colors with mixes of textures across seemingly rich symbols. Escher staircases seem to express well the extent of the exploration and search up to the point of climbing walls and crossing dimensions of the familiar. Enjoyed this, thank you.

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  27. "... on Escher stairs ..."

    I so now want to use Escher as an adjective somewhere. It reminds me of Lovecraft's use of the term non-Euclidean. I love the character sketch here, written with such skill ... really excellent.

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    1. Anything that evokes Lovecraft has to be a plus--good to see you, matt.

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  28. I always learn so much from reading your poetry ~ a wonderful write with so much going on ...a restlessness that also reminds me of Jane Eyre...I really enjoyed it :)

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    1. Definitely a Jane Eyre (or mad wife in the attic) sort of influence, I agree--books like that stay in the subconscious. Thanks, Louise.

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  29. Loved the way it started and ended, the story throughout excellent

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  30. A dark, magical and witchy blue-black capture of the inner self, tho sane outwardly. No line fragment more beautiful and interesting than"...green voices in trees, nacerous fishscales..." Love this poem!

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  31. The stairs becoming stars is a gorgeous loop . . .

    climb the stars, falling, calling, explaining, wanting
    owl hoots for a voice so she can cry without being found.


    I love the word play too.

    What is it about that middle-of-the-night that brings out feelings of lunacy?

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    1. It's the time when no one is looking? Thanks for reading, Ruth.

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  32. love the anchor of Escher - such a great place to start.

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  33. I like the Escher reference too - but that's been said! (in others' comments, I mean). I also love these lines: because of the wild so poorly/concealed under the makeup

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  34. Oh that is a cunning build and refrain... you never disappoint. Masterly construction in every way.

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  35. I loved this. So mysterious and ethereal.

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  36. Hedge....reading a piece of poetry is good...hearing it read by the poet is divine!

    It makes all the difference, because of the inflections, the emotion in the voice....brings it off the printed page to rest in the heart and mind. A true haunting piece.

    Wanting the owl's voice so she won't be found....a marvelous touch to this marvelous poem.

    As complex and deep as one can expect in inject....and a poem that reveals more with each reading.

    Brava!

    Jane

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  37. This is a great poem. I especially love the complexity in it.

    www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

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  38. I do not recall if I already commented on this poem.I am back to read it for the third time. Rowr! (That's a roar, barely disguised.)

    "No one wants to come too close
    because of the wild so poorly
    concealed . . . "

    her kin, "dry seed in a whirlwind"

    I would have to repeat the entire poem, from alpha's herd to Hoot to reflect the imagery effective to me in this Mobius strip of a poem and Escher of a moment.

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  39. Each line is more enthralling than the previous. I love that you pay homage to that wild/evil side of us all. I felt somehow you described me when I read this. This subliminal connection is what I suppose makes for great poetry. And this is!

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  40. haunting, intriguing--love, love, love "nacreous hums in fishscale clouds skinned over the moon" the imagery is excellent and nice use of color

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  41. I mean really, what can I say? This is so powerful in its images and the crafting of them that I am spellbound in your ability to call up these visions. You allude to one of my favorite fairy tales, Beauty and the Beast, and the Escher reference heightens the sense of the world transmogrified beyond its so-called normal shape. I really lije the repeated line about being sane by day, especially how you use it in the furst stanza, setting up an expectation that it will become refrain but subvert the expectation until the end, perhaps heightening the sense of mirrors somehow reflecting other objects. The Escher effect of using perspective to play with the mind's expectations is well exploited here, though in the poem as a whole it plays a minor role. The alpha male reference is especially bold since it alludes to supposed behavioral constants upon which the natural order relies to maintain order. Supremely rewarding, all of this.

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  42. I love listening to these reads - they so lend to the effect of the poem and to have the author read is incredible - you did this brilliantly adding to the overall heightened atmosphere of this write - 'love the escher stairs in this..dancing on the rim between sanity 'by day' and insanity..cannot be much between, not knowing where one begins and ends - Lib

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  43. too many stunning lines to quote ~ one of your very best, and your reading... {sigh} i didn't think you could get any better until you started doing the readings!

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  44. gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous, nothing more to say, breathless.

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  45. I knew you needed a 56th comment, so...

    *smirk*

    Seeming sane by day is what makes the world go 'round, I think. Only the most fragile or mystical can't do that. but at night, all bets are off. Anyone who keeps it tightly together after the sun goes down must be Methodist, or something. Poets certainly can't, and aren't meant to. Myself, I wait til the midnight hour and then go safely insane in my dreams, which as the years have gone passing by, is a better option than going unsafely insane in the streets. But the blues...every day I have the blues, but they don't really come out and kick my ass til the night comes.

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  46. yes! i love this. this is... well, this is my kind of poetry. so very well done. i haven't listened to the recording yet, but thats next. i don't know what else to say - that's a mighty hot fire, enjoyed very much.

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    1. Hey man, thanks. Glad you dug it. I never listen to recordings, well hardly, but people kept bugging me to do it--still think your poetry would rock spoken word. I'd listen to that. BTW, love the title of your poetry collection-(-Fuck Me Running-)-wish I'd thought of that.

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  47. I do realize that you did not intend it this way, but I swear this would make the best poem for an alcohol/drug recovery group to discuss in relation to the insanity of their addictions juxtaposed with appearing sane for as long as possible in their daily lives. I definitely related to it in that way!
    Your reading was mahvelous on this one....much better sound quality, too. :)

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  48. "dancing to sharps in the Inquisitor's song"

    I love that. That's a true "how the hell does she do that, and why can't I" line.

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