Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Mandala Of The Catacomb

Mandala Of The Catacomb

When I could
no longer remember
the yellow eye of the sphinx, the
sea by blue moon, autumn
light on the mandala rose,
a great dryness came;
a cup of dust
too sickly to swallow.

It brought a living change
that paced me day to day,
my thief-companion,
rogue of a thousand fingers
reaching always into my net
for the day's catch,
cleaning my pocket
of each dulled coin

to leave me at last
like everything else
alone on the edge of a pulling abyss,
bleached bare as a fallen skull in a
lightless catacomb, forgotten behind
its earth-blocked arch;
down and round
with the ghost of the sound

of your traveler's laugh
when I was a doorway
to the endless road.

~August 2017

Skull, 1917, M. C. Escher
Thérèse Duncan -The Parthenon, 1921, Edward Steichen
Public domain


1.Oriental Art. a schematized representation of the cosmos, chiefly characterized by a concentric configuration of geometric shapes, each of which contains an image of a deity or an attribute of a deity.
2.(in Jungian psychology) a symbol representing the effort to reunify the self.


  1. I was urged to go to a theater last night to see a concert film of Jerry Garcia's last performance with the Dead (he died a few days after the concert). There was so much pain and soul in his voice it nearly brought tears to my eyes. Your poem is like that voice.

  2. I'm not sure I know the word for how this makes me feel. In Portuguese, the word is "saudad." Really, dear BFF, I haven't got the words for this, except to say, well done indeed.

  3. This mandala (or anti-mandala) has a drawing-and-quartering haul to it, leaving one "alone on the edge of a pulling abyss." No center holding, no place to call home, ghost-fingers mooching every coin in the purse. But I dunno, it takes one to know one? For such mandalas are just the ticket for Hermes' wandering boys. It's still a love song. It always is.

  4. this contains echoes, and dust ~

  5. spare, elegant, hovering on the edge of wistful and melancholic. satisfyingly like a haibun that is not a haibun.

    1. Thanks M--as you can see, I'm not around the blog as much as I used to be, but I appreciate both comments.


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

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