In the red horse dream, there is no fear;
they fly—over the small village
that holds them away from the sky.
In the dream, the red horse
is afire with muscled energy and light,
with the love of flying,
and the man looks backward—
the night is too slow to stop them.
In the dream, the boy is the man,
gripping his knees to the horse
and locking one hand into its mane;
the horse has no wings, but they fly
into another waking and whatever
follows is too slow. They escape.
One humid August night the moon hung
on a string held by a single star
in a sky gone suddenly black.
The night felt as though
all the fight had gone out of it—
the day so long and quarrelsome.
The tired moon hung—
half a moon—facing homeward
as we drove in our quiet car
in the direction it pointed,
over the quiet freeway—
it was that late.
The hot night shone
as though swept clean of something.
Our talk was slow,
as though even this late hour
dwindled out of enough meaning
to go any further with words.
“Is it all
one of us asked. And one of us said,
“Yes.” And one of us said, “No.”
And the mobile moon
did not sway—not even a little bit.
pensive as stone—
against a muted wall,
the winter light surrounding you,
your massive wings at rest—
how lost you seem—how without power
to persuade or frighten
—just another figure caught
How pale you are
against the cathedral dark—
ghost in tragic stance,
one foot upon the stair as if to enter
as though some Love has befallen you.
followed by a long red hallway
muffled by a gray silence;
some escape by following
the blue map of their lives,
past all the numbered doors
down the one-way stairs—
ghost-mingled and musty
with trapped shadows.
My hand follows a wall
for balance—reaches an end,
then another end—to a lobby
look out of windows to the
blurry rain—so beautiful under
in the rain-light
that pours down my face
in reflection on the inner side of
the window by the door where others
enter and leave and emphasize
my deepest loneliness.
(prev. pub. in Medusa’s Kitchen)
After The Reach by Michael Whelan
In the perfect center of a motionless blue void I suspend
like a stopping of time, with the distance above and the
distance below of equal compulsion. Above me, a dome
of violet shadow and curving windows with no view and
a dim escape of ladders that climb past a swoop of breath-
held silence and an invisible flutter of wings. Below me,
a murmurous fading of applause while I hold to the pose
like that reached-for moment that dancers know between
leap and release back into gravity. I am a horizontal line
of stillness, connected by ceiling rope and rings and the
balance and skill of my own performance. Hovered thus,
I reach down and something reaches back. Our eyes con-
nect. Above me, something sighs and lets go.
THE AURA OF DARKNESS
After “Bird in silhouette against flare of light”
—Photo by James Ballard as seen in Reflections
on the Gift of a Watermelon Pickle
O bird, in bird outline
O bird, in bird silhouette
O bird, in stark relief—
that old thieved line
Around you, a rim of flared light
Behind you, a swirl of energy
Inside of you, the dark threat
Unreal or real, what
has decided you?
Sharp beak and quiet eye—at rest,
what has arrested you?
…against swirl of energy
…all light has suppressed in you
…self darkened to mere silhouette
A shadow-child might see you
and think you tame.
A shadow-world might free you
and release your name.
And I might rearrange the gathered
instance of you to exclaim :
…reality is not true
…imagination has its own view
…no shape of fear is darker than you
Man of the wild dance—of the mad reunion,
let me dance with you, and whirl like you—
until my shadows beat like wings about me
making their own circles of lift and fall,
the way your garments whip and flail
like ghost demons of red light and
black momentum. Let me bend
in all your directions, follow
your darkest dream toward
the illusory center where
a mirror breaks—even as
you leap, through and away,
from the center that holds you.
How can you be held by images
that release you from the frantic dance
of being—you who are distant—you who
are gone—gone into the image of yourself.
You never open your eyes. You dance alone,
even as I dance beside you but avoid the mirror
that bends your fragments in a gradual glitter and
fade—and there is no further music for the dance.
Are you still my father?
The Love—become the symbol of
desire—the long look
into the self that looks into
the empty mirror for release—
the bewildered soul
in its essence—you the container,
you the griever and believer—
torn, as faith is torn, between mind
and mind, in their difference.
All is as it is. Pay no one debt
to your limitation.
Let words take blame
as thought gives utterance.
How else believe in desire, leading
to love. All is not loss, or gain,
all is in the reaching, and the having
—the grasp into non-substance—
as relief—as joy—and the pain of joy.
END-STOPPED, LIKE A POEM
Put this thought
with the other realizations
of simple wonderment :
even the moth—bird—shadow—
trapped within the area of no escape
is there but for the little while it takes . . .
Our thanks to Joyce Odam for her visions today of our Seed of the Week: Escape, as we all think about escape, release, liberation from the strange and dangerous circumstances of our lives these days. The perfume of flowers to clear the air; the perfume of poems to clear our heads. Thank you, Joyce!
Our new Seed of the Week is “The perfume of poetry”. Send your poems, photos & artwork about this (or any other) subject to firstname.lastname@example.org. No deadline on SOWs, though, and for a peek at our past ones, click on “Calliope’s Closet”, the link at the top of this column, for plenty of others to choose from.
Photos in this column can be enlarged by
clicking on them once, then clicking on the x
in the top right corner to come back to Medusa.