Thursday, June 5, 2014

Falling As Flying

Falling As Flying

When I met the devil's dancer
with his train of rainy knaves
too crazy for the kitchen,
too mean to put outside,
I had to choose to dance beside them
or die without the garden
in the riddle of their love.

They had a salve 
they rubbed my skin with
to make a sudden stunning
of the secret self they sundered
from the untelevised quotidian
unknotted skein of childhood's yarn.
Their eyes were drug enough

at first; their skin became
my memory
burning through the now,
using all the oxygen
droning out the antiphone
disharmony of danger,
that intoxicant of the flesh.

And as the bella-
donna kicked my head
they did my favorite thing:
whisked the cloth from the crystal table
leaving everything intact, tossed me high 
through a shrinking skylight
I never knew was there.

They called the falling flying
and I suppose it's as close to that 
as any animal can come.

~June 2014

Process Note: "Atropa belladonna or Atropa bella-donna, commonly known as Belladonna or Deadly Nightshade, is a perennial herbaceous plant... native to Europe, North Africa, and Western Asia. The foliage and berries are extremely toxic, containing ..alkaloids. ...which cause a bizarre delirium and hallucinations... In the past, witches were believed to use a mixture of belladonna, opium poppy and other plants.. (such as monkshood and poison hemlock) in flying ointment, which they applied to help them fly to gatherings with other witches." ~wikipedia

posted for     real toads
Challenge: Get Listed
Fireblossom(Shay's Word Garden) has leaped into the breach with a short but pithy word list, from which I have grabbed a few selections, combined them with one of my usual incomprehensible dreams, and totally gone off into the weeds. But, you can only use what you got, right?

 Optional Faintly Related Musical Accompaniment

Image: detail from the Triumph of Death, by Pieter Bruegal the Elder  circa 1532
public domain via


  1. Yeowch! The close is especially strong here I thought, but the whole poem has a wonderful almost psychedelic force. (The close is most direct perhaps.) I love the cadence--especially in the second stanza, which has kind of a Victorian feel--I don't know what the specific rhythm is called, but it has that kind of run-over quality that works very well with your subject matter--the without the garden works in the same way--it feels an archaic usage, but also feels like it refers to the modern (as if you were both outside and also lacking).

    The break of belladonna works so well too--both sides meaningful! And the idea of you being bounced up and down on the table cloth from the crystal table is pretty darn scary--also find the rainy knaves so kind of funny--they seem pretty unreined to me-- but the close is really the clincher--how we mistake things, or are told untruths, beguiled-- This fits the breugel so well--and that whole period of art--I tend to see you outside the Garden of Earthly Delights (also Eden), but definitely beset by demons. k.

    1. Kind of a microcosm of my own little indoor circus, as well as that circus called the 60's, k. The word list really helped define and shape this one into what I was trying to say, I think, so many thanks to Shay.We are always trying to get back to the garden,as Joni Mitchell said, and though the tablecloth method was rather silly, maybe it was what is called nowadays 'a teachable moment.' Thanks for reading, and for your input as always so insightful and penetrating..

    2. Ha--thanks. I meant to say, but forgot--extra points for quotidian, always, which works in a rather chilling way with untelevised and, of course, unknotted--unspooling of childhood yarn very poignant. k.

  2. What a rush!!!
    The first line grabbed me and it was helter-skelter to the end. Amazing dreamscape, Hedge.

  3. Love the sound play throughout...especially the beginning though. Such a dream-like surreal piece, Hedge...really fun to read aloud. Thank you for the note about the plant.

    Excellent work!!

  4. The stuff of dreams and bad trips- brilliant. Note from Italy- bella donna means beautiful woman.

  5. This is a bit of dark dreaming...I love it. I have a hard time writing pretty verse. Dark is too appealing to me. Love the ending....

  6. You've really captured the feel of a dream in this poem, Hedge! First lines are so crucial--often they grab me or put me to sleep right there--and yours here is the kind that demands the reader keep plunging ahead. Maybe it's just me, but in dreams i often feel dizzy, or off-balance in some way, and you've taken that idea and run with it. Being tossed through a shrinking skylight she never knew was there is just stellar stuff, and your closing is satisfying and true, without losing one bit of the dream-like quality of the whole piece. Excellent.

  7. this has a rather enchanting rhythm to it hedge...the title had me and i liked the reference back to it in the end...maybe falling is the closest we will get to flying....the riddle of love is a giving and taking for sure...a deciding what is really important...their skin becoming your memory is another interesting touch as well in this...

  8. What a fantastic journey!

  9. well, ok, what a great title, and a sizzling trip ~

  10. Those naughty, nougaty knaves--mystery as history's savage garden, a circus romp in 7/8. Sometimes we eat the dream, sometimes the dream eats us, and here the dreamer has a childlike fascination and terror and helplessness--residues all, fer sure--as the game is acted out. Poetry may be the only way to sing a dream, since it has all those wings and diving board and walls that are halls then small eyes staring through. Surely there is a distant tittering in the nightoaks as we try to unravel the dreams splashed on our heads, but whatarewegonnado? And falling is as good a flying when when we dream our butts have wings. Fun romp, at least for the reader who doesn't have to peek into the personal maelstrom there.

  11. Yes, there seems to be an unending number of parallels between dream and real, --not to mention surreal--and walking those shadowy monolith-lined cerebral pathways deciphering the scrawled runes is the work(or play) of a lifetime. Thanks for the laughs with which your pithy comment began my day, B. A good weekend to you.


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats