Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Wizard's Gift

The Wizard's Gift



It came in a box.
Death wrapped in red foil
and silver ribbon
glowing with night's own light,
the dark knowing of its nature.
The wind brought her stiff broom
to sweep the air clean of brimstone stink
but you stood and laughed and reeked
in the midnight sun.

You wore those solemn robes
like stiff wings freshly feathered.
A pretense of hooded eyes cerulean blue 
smirked compassion through the snarl of
each jetblack lash, yet under your
velvet calm was a constant rustling.
Anyone not spellbound in tranced oblivion
would see the barbed tailtip of your starved familiar
thrashing with a scorpion's steel sharp sting.

You held the ocean out in a crystal cup,
tiny hearts tied to the mast, a thousand ships
set sailing in the devil's brandyglass.
Windtossed I watched the mousemaid's fallen tear
grow the deepest pool in a black moon-strangled grove
where the winking fox set the crippled rabbit free
and one absent swipe rang the raven's dinner bell.

Down down went the chambered shell
to the scarlet aquifer;
you curved your fingered claws over my white hand 
until they twined
and flowed together as grains of sand
merge in a dune indistinguishable
and we pulled the fullness up
to our glittering husks from the butcher's well
to drink together the bloodred wine of hell.


~July 2012







Posted for   OpenLinkNight   at dVerse Poets Pub
I'm the host tonight at the pub for our usual poetic festivities. Come join us in the cool and bring a well-chilled word or two to cut the summer heat. 


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



Image: The Wizard, by Edward Burne-Jones

53 comments:

  1. this reminds me a bit of your series...the name is eluding me right now...incubus? anyway...gritty, i like...the rabbit released by the fox only to be taken out by the raven, wow...the curling together of the hands...and the intimacy of the end going along with the grit...gave me a shiver...

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    1. Good eye, bri--it started as an incubus poem, actually, but it just didn't fit so it morphed into whatever this is. I blame the meds.

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    2. Oh no! Not the rabbit! Jk. Looking forward to reading more tonight and happy to wonder around the magical world of the hedgewitch. :D

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  2. Delightfully Gruesome, a screen play from a fantastic movie, read in a voice steady in its unrelenting progress toward the drink bar. This is the scene that entranced me:
    "You held the ocean out in a crystal cup,
    tiny hearts tied to the mast, a thousand ships
    set sailing in the devil's brandyglass."

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  3. This is GLORIOUS - and I was utterly transfixed by the stanza that begins "you held the ocean out in a crystal cup". Brilliant writing!

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  4. What I wonder is what that starved familiar is up to?!? Very entrancing, really like a dream (nightmare). We get taken over by the dark; it is quite seductive until you have to walk the walk (i.e. drink that blood red stuff!) (I'm laughing now, but it's a very vivid gorgeous shivery poem.)

    k.

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  5. very chilling indeed!

    esp liked,

    "you curved your fingered claws over my white hand
    until they twined
    and flowed..."

    though those last lines, "the bloodred wine of hell" really curdled my insides! wasn't expecting them ;-)

    but my fav fav of the lot, seems others like it too,

    "You held the ocean out in a crystal cup,
    tiny hearts tied to the mast, a thousand ships
    set sailing in the devil's brandyglass."

    it has a cadence and movement that just reeks of decadence power and pull!

    very nice! thank you joy

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  6. Wonderfully dark with terrific imagery...brilliant to read & much enjoyed! :)

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  7. Windtossed I watched the mousemaid's fallen tear
    grow the deepest pool in a black moon-strangled grove
    where the winking fox set the crippled rabbit free
    and one absent swipe rang the raven's dinner bell...oh heck...we would call this coming from rain into a downpour...escaping one and falling into the other...life is sth. like that...a tight write hedge...happy hosting tonight and hope you're feeling much, much better... i'm at amsterdam airport at the moment, waiting to board and found a free wifi spot..smiles

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  8. A real walk on the wild side. The unique images you scatter so relentlessly have a cumulative effect. By the end, the wine feast seem like the only natural thing to do. Must be like recess time at Satan's School for Wayward Girls! A very vibrant excursion to...somewhere. Every phrase carries memorable imagery.

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  9. "where the winking fox set the crippled rabbit free"

    I may never write again!

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  10. Nice to see you back...can't keep a good witch down, eh?

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    1. Only when they tie me to the stake, man.

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  11. This really is vintage hedgewitch - I'm inclined to think vestiges of meds taken had little to do with it, that you really are back in full wing, so to speak. I envy you your facility with words, and even more, your readiness to follow the muse into the darkest corners of existence... and return to tell the tale.

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  12. Like a chilling spectre in a midnight graveyard! This is gloriously intimidating! A shivering nightmare of the nether regions!

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  13. Wow... I'm loving this! After reading some of the other comments, it looks like I have a date with your archives tonight!

    I'm glad to hear you are feeling better.

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  14. I held my breath reading this. And the last line made me exhale.

    There are so many really good lines here. Hard to believe you're recovering from illness. Your mind certainly is more than healthy.

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  15. Yes! Yes! Yes! so dark that it is blinding:
    opening my eyes wide enough to poke them out!

    You held the ocean out in a crystal cup,
    tiny hearts tied to the mast, a thousand ships
    set sailing in the devil's brandyglass.
    Windtossed I watched the mousemaid's fallen tear

    grow the deepest pool in a black moon-strangled grove
    where the winking fox set the crippled rabbit free
    and one absent swipe rang the raven's dinner bell

    Your powers of invention and contextual setting lift and gift
    these words...

    and holy shit! a scarlet aquifer (i gotta get me one of those!)

    The only thing that betters the write
    is the reading
    which nails it into
    my mind with audio pins and needles.

    Most people couldnt deliver this content with anything
    half resembling authenticity - which would (if they could)
    render it flat...

    but you make it 3Dbelievable because you mean it...

    thats the battle right there

    and you have already won!

    when the war begins...
    call me...

    lieutenant.

    (i'm glad your back hedge - can you tell?!:D)

    hope your well sister

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    Replies
    1. I am most excellent, Cap'n. Let the games begin--and thanks for the kind words before the storm.

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  16. I enjoyed the whole piece, but there was something about that opening stanza that captivated me. Magical lines in there as always, loved the references to the devils brandy glass and the imagery throughout.

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  17. Hedge at her finest! Joy...just fantastic! I've got the goosebumps to prove it...so happy you've returned...and in fine form too.

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  18. What a fantasy - first the world, then the creatures, the ease of your transitions is phenomenal. Your path is never telescoped, but your sensuous and liquid poetic path flows without effort, without anything feeling forced - in fact each word choice, surprising as they always are, feels perfect!

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  19. This piece has attitude! I love the imagery and your way with words!

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  20. Wow... This is epic. I especially like the second and third stanzas.

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  21. Thanks for hosting this evening. and magical read

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  22. Fuck. Me.

    There are so many stunning lines in this, that I don't know where to begin. My favorite was this:

    "You held the ocean out in a crystal cup,
    tiny hearts tied to the mast, a thousand ships
    set sailing in the devil's brandyglass."

    As for the bar, maybe the space shuttle can retrieve it. Lordy, Witch. Give a girl a chance, would ya?

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  23. A fine piece of poetics, swirling with antiquity, like Lady Faustus, the lost manuscript--a series of stanzas that sound familiar yet descending fresh, like mountain air piercing urban smog, clarity yet entanglement, existential coping yet fantastical. Loved it.

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  24. You sent shivers down my spine with this, and I was glad to have read it in the morning, and not before sleep! So many vivid images.

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  25. I'm with vivinfrance: shivers! Great write.

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  26. amazing piece Hedge. The descriptions are fantastic, love the chose adjectives throughout, really used to perfection in painting mood so well here as well as an imagery so uniquely crafted, again a by-product of some incredible descriptive combinations of words. Very cool.

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  27. Beautifully crafted Hedge ~ The first stanza caught my attention, up to the ending lines ..bloodwine red of hell ~ A vivid brush of colors ~

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  28. Wonderfully webby, rich, dark, and beautiful! brrrrrrrr....

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  29. Such a well-fleshed black atmosphere - you do these dark mythical narratives with great panache and wonderful aural skill. Textures and senses used to the full - really enjoyed this, Joy.

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  30. First of all I am happy to hear you are feeling better. Second, another great write, dark but wonderful.

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  31. I enjoyed reading this prose poem. More importantly, I continue to enjoyed the quality of your writing. I love reading your work. It is rich and full of depth. Love it!

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  32. Death wrapped in red- joy- I actually can't stop repeating this...I want to death wrap everything..Its so good to be reading your poetry again...and it amazes me how you manage to build such ethereal, dark, magical qualities into your narrative- AND in such a flowing poetic form...you just use the right words at the right time to make sentences glide and then jab you in the neck and then glide again...just love it .... Inwantnto drink the blood red wine of hell....ha- this is too good!

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    1. Thanks, Stu--I feel the same about your poetry--there's always a way of looking at things in it that I would never have considered but that feels completely right. Appreciate the visit.

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  33. Such a mythic and daunting piece, full of thick coats of color and bold visual imagery. I felt like I might be stirring the cauldron with you, throwing in sprigs of Hecate and a dash of Hades. I absolutely love this especially the taste at the end.

    I hope that you are feeling well. :)

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  34. We've got to stop meeting like this!

    Oh, wait -- I'm just the Devil's Advocate!

    Wonderful dark piece. Be careful what you wish for...

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  35. I read it...
    It might as well have been written in Esperanto.
    Then I saw the audio prompt...I clicked play.
    You made the words come ALIVE and it translated beautifully!
    I'm so proud of myself for almost understanding this, and I'm very proud of the fact that someone as gifted as you has the time to stop by my Funhouse. I hope you are feeling better...G

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    1. I'm glad hearing it made it make some sense, G--I'm the opposite, I have to see and read it, but a lot of people really are auditory and get more out of it that way, so I've been reading them--plus, it's fun to play-act. ;-) See you tomorrow for my Friday fix.

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  36. I really just adore reading your poems. Whether the journey be dark are light is always fascinating. Glad your feeling well enough to share with us.

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  37. i like the contrast of colors a lot in the second stanza the solemn robes (well, that says black or dark grey right there) and then the cerulean eyes and then the jetblack lash. the whole piece is full of imagery, but for some reason having these colors in there just gives that second stanza a big kick!!

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  38. stunning, extraordinary, beyond the abilities of humans to write... so you're really an alien?
    just TOO! DAMN! GOOD!!!

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  39. I get the eerie feeling,shivers down my spine. You have a way of doing it that compounds the feel! Nicely done Joy!

    Hank

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  40. This is...wonderfully powerful and shiver-inducing!

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  41. "yet under your velvet calm was a constant rustling" I relate a little too well to that line :) And loved this too, "a thousand ships set sailing in the devil's brandyglass."
    I wrote a little seaworthy this week too.

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  42. I reaad this twice, but my own pain meds aren't allowuing me to string it together. Each sentence is a stunner, Hedge.

    But hearing you read was another thing altogether. it brought the whole piece together....like the bards do...or did.

    Wonderful imagery: complex, layered and haunting.

    Jane

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  43. colour is powerful
    for me it is blue

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  44. "You held the ocean out in a crystal cup,
    tiny hearts tied to the mast, a thousand ships
    set sailing in the devil's brandyglass."

    Oh my... love those lines.

    I just this morning finished a book (Swamplandia! by Karen Russell) and there is an evil character in it called The Bird Man... I felt like I was reading a perfect description of him with this poem.

    Chilling and powerful, as always!

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