Saturday, October 16, 2021

Three Wheels


Three Wheels
I dream the ghost;
an old woman who sits staring,
tendril-wrapped in the cold wet
wood with her soft face
washed away.
I dream the ritual;
an old woman who pedals
fast, pedals frantic, hunched
simian over three thin wheels
meant for a child.

I see the flooding quarry
and what they dig there that
 must not be found. The old woman
pedals madly, seeing all that goes
around and round.

I dream the Völva;
a grey woman who throws back
her unmade face and howls in runes,
traveling Time with red eyes
she calls from night.

I hear the pack's full cry loping
as one; to rend, to tear, to save
the secret moon before
she can be dug
from the water and sold.
October 2021

 posted for Fireblossom
I have written this roughly in the cadralor form, tho I have taken a few liberties with it. 
Process Note: Völva: "A Völva is a female Shaman in Old Norse culture, religion, and mythology..A Völva practiced three different kinds of indigenous magic within Old Norse society: Seiðr, or shamanic ritual, was the ceremonial weaving of a new or different future..Spá, or prophecy, was the art of foreseeing the fates that were being continuously woven into existence by the Norns.. Galdr, or incantation, was the art of singing or chanting for the purposes of changing or influencing an outcome..." ~Shieldmaiden's Sanctum
Images, both via internet, attribution unknown.   Fair Use.


  1. OhooOH! (that sound you make when some fan hits the basket from center court for a million dollars) Okay, let me see whether I can do this justice. First, that opening stanza left me shaking my head and grinning. It is, of course the perfect opening to go with the image you chose, but I would not have thought to put it the way you did, and I don;t think anyone else would have, either, which makes it a real treat to read.

    Then the manic desperation in the second stanza and the amazing phrase "hunched simian" which immediately calls up the scene in one's mind. You have pictured a tricycle below the poem, but I am thinking treadles that she is pedaling, weaving like the shamaness.

    Look, ye out of your depth, you're not going to find what she doesn't want you to find and there shall be wolves for a convincer. So, what is buried there? A child? Youth, or an actual person? it is the season of spells, magicks, and summoned illusion; no level man goes wandering around where he doesn;t belong, when all that is in the air. Just...fucking fantastic, dear BFF.

  2. Thanks so much, Shay.'Treadles' is good. The dream this comes from had a trike, but volvas routinely used a distaff as a "wand." As for what is buried, I only know it mustn't be dug up.

  3. Rich. Full. Evocative. Provocative.

    A dreamscape. A dream scrape. A screaming mess that pours forth in rushing streams from the mouth .... (not your poem) but the wildness, the wilderness that feels itself into a howling birth when reading it.

    The imagery is lush and both raw and elegant. You've managed to capture the urgency, the dying need to know, yet tuning into the instincts that raise the neck hairs and gooseflesh between the breasts, a sharp tugging from navel to pubic bone (I bet that sounds weird, right?) - but there is something primal here, feral - yet it speaks with Wisdom - as ancient as fjords and old-growth trees. It reports back that which is (and lives in) darkness. But within, there is still Light. It's rare there is absolute pitch. A trick of the eyes, perhaps. At any rate, within this poem, there are stories within stories, myths, legends - both as free and light as air, yet equally suffocating. I suppose, it's all in the "knowing" - tuning in. Touching upon balance, fate - the weaver's tale, balancing on a trike. 3-pronged fork, yes, resting in the depths .... and wow, do I absolutely love the closing stanza - it is so powerful - such a fitting ending - very much "cool" to the heat and intensity of what comes before.

    And so ends my lengthy notions about this - wishing you a most bright blessings weekend.

    1. Thanks so much for finding all this in the poem, and letting me know. I appreciate that feedback very much, and it makes writing more satisfying when someone else has enjoyed it, and actually "seen" what's in it. I've added you to my blog roll so I can find your own writing, which I relish.

  4. This is absolutely spectacular Joy! The images, use of language, and background given at the end make it a journey of sorts. A haunting and lovely one!!

  5. "she can be dug / from the water and sold." Oh! Oh! Superb. Love the Völva stanza too!

  6. Fantastic, the more so as the lines run with the wild wolves I love so much.

  7. Samhain is nigh. While I always admire your pen, at this time of year its ink is especially potent. ~

  8. I get a sense of sisterhood here, where forces of dark will be vanquished by a power they cannot stand against. That shaman is awe-inspiring but terrifying at the same time.

  9. So many potent images to absorb here. Like Shay, I saw the Volva sitting at a loom, as she weaved the future, hunched on a thin-backed spinning chair. The atmosphere is so well crafted - the dark depths that hide something which must not be discovered, the wolves ready to protect at all costs, the howl of the Volva. Love it.

  10. Yes, for the Octoberals, though this wolf-banshee is not seasonal, I think, though rubbings of the poem by its shamanness. I'm reading Nora Chadwick's "Poetry and Prophecy," about the vatic art practiced by tribes rooting back to the Paleolithic. Your Volva is right from the world literature though the Hedge-witch hearkens back to her, especially in the roaring nightscape of the dream. Our childhood is the closest we get to the ritual of early magic; it's where all the nightmares are closeted, too. Poetry's power is greatest in the unquiet unburied, our undead metricals. Who knows. You gave the dream's oracle a calador's triple charm. The first person witness allows us a front seat at the fire.

  11. "But" not "though" in the first sentence.

    1. Thanks, B. We dream what we dream, and only the shamans know how to shake the rattle and make the sacrifice. Always appreciate your input.

  12. The Volva reminded me of my granny. She was and still is my shaman.

  13. Love the rhythm of these images, from ghost to emissary to shaman. And it always surprises me when my reaction to a poem is "why?" Why is the moon a secret to be held? I think I live sometimes too much adjacent to commentary, too ready to break a picture or an idea from the whole and let it go. This reminds me of the wholeness that it's easier and easier to miss.

    1. All poetry is a why, a question where we don't know the answer, but try anyway. Thanks, Chrissa.

  14. Scary dreams. Thanks for the notes. Interesting stuff

    Happy Sunday


  15. Fabulous, hypnotic poetry. It spins a dark story that delights, and pulls the imagination into its visions.

  16. wow, all these new poems of yours are just super solid. i can't add anything new that hasn't already been said. a pleasure to read joy


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

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