Saturday, May 7, 2016

The Broken Gate

The Broken Gate

except in dreams
has dried up like
moon's twin-horned stream,
extinct as Australopithecus
or the seventh kithera string
strummed by the plectrum of Astarte.

Trust mis-grunts the tongue of trolls
nor is it fluent in spirit. It
teaches forests the growl
in the chainsaw's throat,
spreads the dryads' legs,
smiles when the owl
of Athena's beheaded.

Love is a rumored magic
removed from the act,
a legend of the dead,
a plagiarism of runes
marsh-candled on bone
yet brighter in the eyes of the wild
for being lost to sight,

light unfleshed, undressed, discarnate;
ghost-wrack on the high wind
that breaks the last gate.

~May 2016

posted for     real toads

Weekend Challenge

kithera--seven-stringed musical instrument of the ancient world, ancestor of the guitar.

Above: Ruin with Head of Medusa and Landscape, 1941, Salvador Dali  Fair use via
Below: "The original complete skull (without upper teeth and mandible) of a 2.1 million year old Australopithecus africanus specimen so-called Mrs. Ples, discovered in South Africa.
Collection of the Transvaal Museum"  Courtesy wikimedia commons


  1. Love is rumored magic... that's truly sad, but maybe that's just a plagiarism of dreams. A jesters play with us.

  2. Oh no you didn't! Athena's owl! Oh man, that's hard to take. That whole stanza is. Sometimes poetry has to shock, and be in-your-face to make its point; there's no mistaking that this is one of those times.

  3. Agree with Shay that that stanza is particularly compelling--awful to think of the dryad's legs being spread--and the owl--agh-- and love not being seen--and the extinction of so much following so much already extinguished--we don't value much till it's gone, it seems. Beautiful sound and imagery here despite the edge of violence and loss--thanks, Hedge. (I'm still really on break but saw Brendan's challenge, and then thought of something impromptu.) k.

  4. How can I be upset, though, when you tell me in such gorgeous, satisfying language?

  5. I got stuck on "Love [being] a rumored magic"... At first, I didn't want that to be true, for I know love. Then I realized that it is true and it is all right. Since truth dances behind every rumor... mayhap that's where my love is.

    I'm blaming my sentimentality on the meds. ;-D

  6. 'plagiarism of runes'... so much like mocking a sacred heritage...a powerful image. The kennings swing the drama way out and up into all that is universal...

  7. Love is the rumoured magic removed from the act! This statement strikes me as astoundingly accurate. The second stanza is particularly harrowing. Everything is stripped away, and we must hang our hopes on rumours and memory of light. Powerful and unrelenting.

    1. Thank you Kerry, for phrasing it so well, and for getting it.

  8. It ain't harrowing unless it damn near kills us. Poem's truth rakes so brutally the ashes of a heart raped by death (or dying). The mythic formula for hallowing what's harrowed may be a Christian idea which has little place in the present: I just cant say, but I'm left feeling after reading this how broken the chain may be. Certainly magic without heart is a cold eternity. Yet why else wield the harrow? I wonder.

    1. I don't believe there is anything particularly Christian about hallowing--you yourself have shown many times how St Oran and the other crafty, mystic madmen of early Christianity stole everything from their forebears, including the idea of sacrifice, rebirth and making holy lore of the pointless depredations of the gods(or a god) to teach us what we would be better off not knowing. Loss and change are as old as Australopithecus, and not Jesus's personal property, nor any grace in the place this poem explores, the wasteland to which it has brought us.

  9. Trust mis-grunts the tongue of trolls

    Love this line!

  10. Tenderness, trust, love...all of these are ephemeral, echoing only in rumors. You really separate spirit from flesh here, Joy. An interesting emotional journal! Hard hitting and incisive (as they used to say about the news). Great idea and fine execution.

  11. An enchantment of mythology and real life questions. Nice write

    hallowed is her name

    much love...

  12. Very blunt and hard, despite the lyrical quality to the words. At first, it struck me as a love song to disillusionment. If one can discern between the true and the false, no matter how harsh the truth may be, it is the first step towards breaking the boundaries that limit us.

  13. Trust mis-grunts the tongue of trolls

    hah!. I read this as Trump at first.

    and yes, love is a rumored magick... ~


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