Friday, July 17, 2015

The Sorceress


The Sorceress







You were more to me once
than the meal the moon-mad maenad makes,
more than the jewels burning cold on my breast
strung blue-banded on the skin of snakes,
when I laid you out there in the poppy field
in the shape of a star,
in the shape of a wheel
on which we could travel far.

I cared more for you then
than the hummingbird could
for its whip-wire tongue
that loves out in a flash the lily-juice,
than the dead hawk's hen in her nesting roost,
brooding unfed, for life in the shell
till it comes true
for that's her ward,

the yoke of the spell:
to love too much,
to love too well

so when the egg cracks
and the heart goes to hell,
she's grown wind in the feather
for the endless hunt, 
for the sky as brother.




~July 2015









posted for     real toads


Challenge: Finding the Poetic Voice
Kerry O'Connor (Skylover, Skywriting) asks us to consider the true melody of one's poetic voice, of how, when, why one addresses the reader, the self, the other, in verse. Fascinating, and truly challenging, reaching for that, though I'm not sure how successfully, here. Thank you, Kerry.




Note: I am not at my best, healthwise atm, but will do my best to visit as I can.









Images: The Magic Circle, 1896, by John William Waterhouse
News, 1906, by Mikalojus Ciurlonis
Public domain via wikiart.org


19 comments:

  1. For someone, like me, who loves words and their usage (I grew up reading the dictionary), your writing is like having a lover that knows how to push all my buttons! This piece was an orgasm for my mind!

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  2. Hey Hedge--so sorry you are not feeling well. Of course, that doesn't show here. This is such an interesting poem, both very direct and very oblique. The sense of the egg, which is the yoke/yolk of the spell, is really a wonderful thread throughout--I feel like the meal of the moon mad maenad is the moon itself, which also is like a rather barren egg--and even the snake skin under the jewels --brings up to me some sense of that soft leathery egg--since the jewels on our your breast--which is also snake skin.

    Though, despite that full and emptied egg, the crux of the poem to me is the diligence of the lover--that is the speaker--the examples of extreme love you give are so wonderful--the hummingbird's love for its tongue especially (though like a whip one is not sure it's altogether generous), the love of the brooding dead hawk's nesting mate--that one is so sad--the end works very well there with the wind rather than wing power somehow making up the flight--the way at least I read it--the sky a rather remote brother--anyway, I may be misinterpreting all, but a lot of beauty here. And a voice that reminds me rather of someone singing this beautiful piece by Menotti--the black swan. I don't think the words are similar at all but there is a striking mourning sorcery--y cadence. k.

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    1. Oh--I wanted to tell you as I was thinking of it later--that I had such a strong association with the star and wheel part with the Catherine Wheel--(I think I was thinking of star chamber too!) I don't know if you meant that--and I'm not fully sure what I mean by it, but there was a feeling of this bright but somehow torturous journey--for me at least-- also, I realize that the snake's skin may really just relate to the blue banded nature of the beads--nothing with leather eggs! (I'm just telling you what comes to mind--if of interest--or at least amusement.) k.

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    2. Thanks, k. I'm always amazed at the many layers you are able to find in what I've written--even the ones I'm not sure I meant to be there seem pretty cool when you discover them. ;_) I enjoyed that Menotti piece--it is rather sorcerous-feeling. I was not thinking of a Catherine Wheel, but it is a wonderful image for the fire of the journey. As far as I can see, you have found every nugget here, and left behind a few that fell out of your pockets--thanks!

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  3. Joy, I appreciate your participation in this challenge when you are feeling poorly. But I am very glad you allowed Hedgewitch to join in. Hers is one of the most powerful poetic voices I know: glowing with feminist magic and wisdom that runs deeper than a single generation. She uses her words whip up the most potent spells.

    I cared more for you then...
    than the dead hawk's hen in her nesting roost
    brooding unfed, for life in the shell
    till it comes true...

    Such twists and turns of syntax to leave me breathless, and envious of her art.

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    1. Thank you Kerry. She always perks up when you formulate one of your irresistible challenges.

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  4. I have come to know that reading your poems out loud is a must. Amazing poetic "storytelling" and the rhyme is done perfectly - just enough to make it flow beautifully.

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  5. This just twists my heart to read, and i can't articulate why very well except to say that you always find exactly the right words and the ideal metaphor to convey what is seemingly impossible to convey. Perhaps YOU are the Sorceress.

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    1. Perhaps I iz. Thanks, Shay, for reading on a work night when you are frazzled. I deeply appreciate it.

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  6. This has such beautiful, insistent rhythm. Hypnotic, like all the best spellwork.

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  7. "...in the shape of a star,
    in the shape of a wheel
    on which we could travel far."

    I'm completely enthralled by the spelled you've painted with those lines. The poem reads like a chant; a chant full of life and death and change... a threesome I can always appreciate.

    Hope you feel better soon. Hope soon is now. *sending you healing hugs* ♥

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    1. *scratches head* Hmmmm, I *am* better this evening--your healing hugs must be extremely powerful! Thanks, dear Magaly.

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    2. *doing a little dance and grinning* ♥

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  8. "The yoke of the spell / to love too much / to love too well". Oh yes, Deep and potent, this truth sinks right into my heart.

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  9. Quite oddly, despite all the incantary mojo to the contrary, I find Eliot's "Four Quartets" the filial here, not in style or voice but rudiment that, behind the walls and edifices of creation, there is a beating heart. ("Who then devised this torment? Love.") Or is it that voice of the sound of the heart that was? The conjuror's vatic conjugations are the skeletal wings of that heart, and the bird that's born here -- child of that old love -- the poem itself -- is alembic for the shirt of fire our petrol hearts embraced. That the speaker is somewhat distracted from the remedy voice speaks that it has grown in and and deeper beyond charms. Can we outgrow the cure? Well, keep writing ... Fine stuff Hedge, hope that whatever chilled 'n' illed you has been banished by the affection of this forum ...

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    1. Yes, thank you, feeling better, and affection always helps, no matter what the ill. I do love the Four Quartets, and have spent a lot of time soaking in their moods and language, till , like Stevens or Yeats, it could easily just be part of my cells by now, and the echoes reverbing a bit here--though I was thinking this felt to me more old school than Eliot, but ha! guess what--all that modernist stuff is now the new old school. ;_) AFA outgrowing the cure--read this from Lawrence earlier today: "“One must learn to love, and go through a good deal of suffering to get to it, and the journey is always towards the other soul.”

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  10. For someone not feeling well, this was really wonderfully done. The desire turned mad and finally bitter, just amazing stuff!

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  11. This is a bit heart breaking. The past tense running throughout made the loss already palpable when it came. And while it could be death, it could be the death of love as well. To love so deep, to even open yourself up to such love, is to invite in the pain - when the heart goes to hell. and while that sky may seem so big in the after, it can feel so immense in your smallness.

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  12. I'm not sure the voice is still corporeal: the subtle shift from "I" to "she" in the final verse... And the clever rhyme of juice and roost that are tied together with the whip-tongue made me smile a bit - your word-play is always inventive and challenging and reminds me that I'm a-hand with thumbs playing rocks for music, while you are dextrous as Euterpe. (And yes, I googled her.) ~

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