About Me

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As an author inspired by the aesthetic of virtue drawn from the many esoteric works I experience and research,I seek wisdom, truth and the light that emanates from all things born of the great void... a lover of life, gnosis and my Clan Family - The People of Goda, of the Clan of Tubal Cain www.clanoftubalcain.org.uk.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

The Holly and the Ivy

1. Green grow’th the holly
So doth the ivy
Though winter blasts blow na’er so high
Green grow’th the holly

2. Gay are the flowers
Hedgerows and ploughlands
The days grow longer in the sun
Soft fall the showers

3. Full gold the harvest
Grain for thy labor
With God must work for daily bread
Else, man, thou starvest

4. Fast fall the shed leaves
Russet and yellow
But resting buds are smug and safe
Where swung the dead leaves

5. Green grow’th the holly
So doth the ivy
The God of life can never die
Hope! Saith the holly

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Musing the Muse

And it came to pass that within the Silence arose Thought, a movement of Nous within the Limitless Depth, alone and awake within the Silence and the Nous rose up from the Depth creating movement within it.

And this is the First Mystery whereby the Nous of the All came forth and stirred the Depth and the Silence.
And Nous was naked and perfect, unbound, unbegotten, unborn. Being the Nous of the Eternal, the Father, she carried within herself the All, and the All was the Light within her and she was thereby the enclosing Darkness of being, the womb and mother of all that was to be. So it was in the Beginning.
 Fragments from the Book of the Coiled Dragon, 130-133

"And Desire said, 'I did not see you go down, yet now I see you go up. So why do you lie since you belong to me?'
     "The soul answered, 'I saw you. You did not see me nor did you know me. You (mis)took the garment (I wore) for my (true) self. And you did not recognize me.'
     "After it had said these things, it left rejoicing greatly.
     "Again, it came to the third Power, which is called 'Ignorance.' [It] examined the soul closely, saying, 'Where are you going? You are bound by wickedness. Indeed you are bound! Do not judge!'
     "And the soul said, 'Why do you judge me, since I have not passed judgement? I have been bound, but I have not bound (anything). They did not recognize me, but I have recognized that the universe is to be dissolved, both the things of earth and those of heaven.'
     "When the soul had brought the third Power to naught, it went upward and saw the fourth Power. It had seven forms. The first form is darkness; the second is desire; the third is ignorance; the fourth is zeal for death; the fifth is the realm of the flesh; the sixth is the foolish wisdom of the flesh; the seventh is the wisdom of the wrathful person.
These are the seven Powers of Wrath.
 "They interrogated the soul, 'Where are you coming from, human-killer, and where are you going, space-conqueror?'
     "The soul replied, saying, 'What binds me has been slain, and what surrounds me has been destroyed, and my desire has been brought to an end, and ignorance has died. In a [wor]ld, I was set loose from a world [an]d in a type, from a type which is above, and (from) the chain of forgetfulness which exists in time. From this hour on, for the time of the due season of the aeon, I will receive rest i[n] silence.' " 
The Gospel of Mary Magdalene

Death is Life, for none would be without death
And Sacrifice; it is I who dies, I who am Sacrificed
If you hold the four winds in your hand, I am with you
For Day is but the Eye of the storm of Night
And I rule over all that is in Darkness.
The Book of Night

Images copyright of:

1 - spirithouse.yolasite.com
3 - evelynrodriguez.typepad.com

Friday, 4 November 2011

The Wild Hunt


(The Wild Hunt)

Loudly through air at night they haste,
An uproar on wild black horses!
As a storm the wild crowds travel by
With nothing but clouds for foothold.
Over the valleys, the woods and meadows -
Through darkness and weather, they never heed.
The traveler throws himself frightened to ground.
Listen... what clamor! It's the forces of Asgard!
Thor, the strong one, his hammer high,
Stands tall in his rig, in front of the pack.
He strikes his shield and hot red flames
Light up the nightly raid at the scene.
Horns blow, and an awesome noise
From bells and riding gear resounds.
Then the pack roars loudly and people listen
With rising fear in their quaking homes.
The Wild Hunt of Asgard raids the county
Whilst fall and winter at stormy nights.
But it favors to travel at Yuletide...
They feast with trolls and giants;
they closely ride by meadow and path
And pass the fearful nation.
Then, - take care farmer! Keep all in order!
As the wild hunt of Asgard may visit your home!
With the beer working in your lodge
Awaking the heathen Yule-tradition...
And fire from the fireplace shines
on swinging knives and crazy eyes,
Then a sudden shiver goes through the party,
Then sound the nightly black riders' clamor...
Then the walls crack and the glasses dance;
the Armies of Asgard surround the building!

There was a wedding at Oevre Flage
Three holy Yule-days to the end.
Among the maids there were none like the bride
And no rival to the groom among men.
There was a glow to the shining hall
from set tables and expensive metal,
There was a treasure, the rumor says,
Of copper on walls and silver on tables.
And merrily sounded the drums and fiddles
as the groom was steadily dancing
leading his bride among young men and women -
Then the Halling-dance easily rumbled!
To the Dancer's forceful moves and jumps
the Maiden would swing like a pendulum,
Then floated the noise and the music together
And the hall would thunder from vigor and delight.
The third night, -when the beer was consumed
through all the holidays - by old and young,
Then thirst in the party was stopped,
But the men were drunken and slow.
Our bride wore her crown...
It was time for the bowl to be sent round the table
And the toastmaster demanded silence
with a knock on the table, - and started his speech.
Then charging in on the benched circle
the widely infamous Seim's Berserks,
Their eyes were rolling dark and wild
On their foreheads they had scars from fighting.
They leaped over the floor of the hall,
-Yes! It was the brothers Grim and Wolf!
Grim, who was recently turned down by the bride
Came there himself, - and he was not invited.
The sleepy guests got up shaking

 And had little desire for fighting.
Every raving man who raised his fist
Was grabbed by the chest and thrown aside.
The groom placed his mug down on the table
Stepped up on the bench and asked for peace.
But the brothers already took out their knives,
- It was the groom's life it was all about.
Then women gathered into a crowd
and formed a guard for the man in danger;
sheltered behind tables and benches,
They stood closed in at the Bench of Honor.
The eldest woman in their circle
removed her headwear, revealed her gray hair
and gave the groom the name of her son,
Embraced him and sat him on her knee.
But the brothers wouldn't listen to women's plea -
Attacked forward over tables and benches
and divided the women with wildness-
Now every thought of peace was forgotten...
They grabbed their victim and dragged him along
To the door of the hall and out through it.
It came to a cruel fight in the yard,
And the guests followed in wild disorder.
They rushed out there with candles and torches,
‘Cause over the landscape the darkness reigned.
They saw the groom standing tall and strong,
As now he was strengthened by winter air.
He used his knife for cutting and slashing -
So he gave back what they offered him.
The three of them formed an ugly triangle,
And none would let go of the others.
Then, -all of a sudden Grim fell over!
With blood running like streams from his chest.
Then even harder the other two wrestled
And held each other’s backs in a grip.
In the end the groom was laid to the ground,
With the knife on it’s way to his throat...
But then Wolf held back and stood like a drunk,
And trembled and shook like a leaf.

As through the air in the dark came a thunder,
- a howling horde on ferocious horses,
It raced over woods to the wedding house,
Intended to visit the bloody performance.

Then horns blew, and an awesome noise
From bells and riding-gear resounded.
Now it was close - it came over the hill -
There was an outcry: The wild hunt of Asgard!
There was a tempest in Heaven and Earth,
That hurled a horror in every heart,
It blasted along in growing circles,
It punched with wings and grabbed with arms.
Then Wolf was dragged away by his hair,
thrown up in the air and taken away,
Yes, taken away over woods and mountains,
He was never seen or heard of again.
When tumults were over at the horror scene,
lay Grim from his death pains coiled up,

But the groom was escorted inside from the snow
And placed on a bunk in the guestroom.
His head was shaking, his blood was pouring;
he was pending a while between life and death,
But he was nursed and well taken care of,
so by spring he had healed from it all.
Now he sits there, - aged and well respected,
He can gather his offspring around the fire,
now he often tells stories in the circle
And shortens time for the young and the old.
It was like that last Yule-night too,
When the youth shouted, "Tell us, tell us!"
His eyes in flames as he was looking back...
And then he recalled his wedding days.

Johan Sebastian Welhaven (1807-1873

The Wild Huntsman
THY rest was deep at the slumberer's hour
If thou didst not hear the blast
Of the savage horn, from the mountain-tower,
As the Wild Night-Huntsman pass'd,
And the roar of the stormy chase went by,
Through the dark unquiet sky!

The stag sprung up from his mossy bed
When he caught the piercing sounds,
And the oak-boughs crash'd to his antler'd head
As he flew from the viewless hounds;
And the falcon soar'd from her craggy height,
Away through the rushing night!

The banner shook on its ancient hold,
And the pine in its desert-place,
As the cloud and tempest onward roll'd
With the din of the trampling race;
And the glens were fill'd with the laugh and shout,
And the bugle, ringing out!

From the chieftain's hand the wine-cup fell,
At the castle's festive board,
And a sudden pause came o'er the swell
Of the harp's triumphal chord;
And the Minnesinger's∗ thrilling lay
In the hall died fast away.

The convent's chanted rite was stay'd,
And the hermit dropp'd his beads,
And a trembling ran through the forest-shade,
At the neigh of the phantom steeds,
And the church-bells peal'd to the rocking blast
As the Wild Night-Huntsman pass'd.

The storm hath swept with the chase away,
There is stillness in the sky,
But the mother looks on her son to-day,
With a troubled heart and eye,
And the maiden's brow hath a shade of care
Midst the gleam of her golden hair!

The Rhine flows bright, but its waves ere long
Must hear a voice of war,
And a clash of spears our hills among,
And a trumpet from afar;
And the brave on a bloody turf must lie,
For the Huntsman hath gone by!

Mrs. Felicia Dorothea Browne Hemans, 1793-1835

 images courtesy of wikicommons

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Dia De Los Muertos

Celebrations honouring the dead are prevalent among many ancient cultures, sharing similar religious commonalities, sadly lacking in modern European religiosity. During a pilgrimage to Mexico I was privileged to witness and participate in the ‘Dia de los Muertos’ held November 1st –2nd each year throughout Hispanic America. Originally it would have been celebrated in the Aztec month of ‘Miccailhuitontli,’ roughly equivalent to the Gregorian months of July/August. Naturally, the colonising Spanish prohibited this festival and moved the greatly sanitised theme to November, supplanting it by their own Feasts for All Saints and All Souls. Despite the obvious Catholic overlays, this festival remains primarily Mesoamerican, revealing many indigenous celebrations of death and ancestry.

Preparations begin in early October with the cleaning and repairing of family tombs. When festivities finally get underway, the 1st of November is dedicated to ‘los angelitos’, the little angels: the souls of departed children. Flowers and candles adorn the gravesides as the family hold their evening vigil, storytelling and singing until dawn. Native Creation accounts maintain a frequency of stories relating to the first human couple as the ancestors of mankind. These are honoured today in the tales told to their descendants during the ‘Dia de los Muertos’ celebrations. As dusk falls, the 2nd of November is dedicated to ‘Los Muertos’ the dead adults to whom food, tequila and cigarettes are offered alongside ritualistic flowers of the dead -‘cempazuchitl’ (marigolds) whose perfume blends perfectly with copal, burnt upon graves and altars throughout Mexico. Mariachi bands accompany masked dancers, whose grinning skeletal faces gleefully mock death in this ceremony that celebrates our mortality as a beginning rather than an end of life. This evocative pageant to Death expresses intense devotion and veneration of Death itself whose final deliverance is deemed to come almost as a saviour from the toils of life. Fireworks and folklore drama full of sexual innuendo complete the carnival atmosphere. Children pull playfully on skeletal marionettes of death, the stark reality of which parallels every day. There is no Catholic duality here, no fear of death, just a dynamic unity in opposition.

Colour pre-dominates the scene as fire and candles illuminate the night glowing orange, the colour of the flower of death. Fruits, costumes and masks appear in abundance decorating the doorways of shops and houses everywhere. It is still believed that flowers given as sacrificial offerings are at the behest of Quetzalcoatl who instructed his people to give only these and butterflies in lieu of human flesh. Upon entering the many Cemeteries throughout Mexico,  everyone is offered steaming bowls of rich, dark hot chocolate and ‘pan de muertos’ (bread of the dead), which is a shared consumption between the living and the dead.  After blessings, these ‘dumb’ suppers are removed from ‘offrendas’ (private altars) for the public in what anthropologists recognise as the ancient tribal activity of ‘re-distributive’ feasting.
Spectacular, imposing shrines line the quadrangle of tombs, dedicated to past dignitaries and revered members of the community. Constructed of arched reeds and sheaves of corn, the shrines are adorned with garlands of tangerines and flowers. Water too is set out to slake the insatiable thirst of the dead. Immense national pride and civic prowess among competing teams guarantees a magnificent display, mindful of disqualification for the introduction of foreign elements i.e. pumpkins and cauldrons.

Candles illuminate photographs of all persons honoured and are often accompanied by ‘Calaveras,’ poignant yet satirical eulogies extolling pertinent virtues and vices of the deceased. Delicate lacy paper patterns of figures and symbols relating to death also decorate these shrines in honour and remembrance of intricate paper hats worn by ‘Mictlantecuhtli’ the Aztec Lord of death (synonymous with the Mayan ‘Ah Puch’). Marzipan and candied fruits sit among sugar and amaranth skulls, symbols of the gods of death, highlighted with red and black spots, redolent of putrefaction, convincingly depicted in decorative coloured icings. Hundreds of years ago, during the months of ‘Panquetzaliztli’ (approx November) and ‘Toxcatl’ (approx April), amaranth seeds of the ‘huala’ plant were finely ground and mixed with blood and honey to form a stiff dough. Shaped into deific skeletal figurines, primarily of ‘Tezcatlipoca,’ but also ‘Huitzilopochtli’, they were hung high upon the Xocolli tree and worshipped. Finally, they were taken down and consumed by ‘tecuelo’ (meaning quite literally - god eaten) participants, a ceremony with such a startling similarity to the Eucharist, it was suppressed by Spanish missionaries.  

Pulque, a milky alcohol, likened to the mothers’ milk, fermented from the sap of the maguey (Agave) cactus, is still consumed as a ceremonial drink in place of ritually revered traditional hallucinogenics such as datura and morning glory. Magnificent sand ‘rugs’ decorate the stone slabs of the courtyard satirically portraying skeletal brides, bandits, dancers and musicians: death here, is a welcome inevitability. Included in these intricate designs are the images of butterflies and humming-birds, reflecting the Aztec belief in the immortal soul returning from the Underworld, now visually celebrated in the Autumnal return of the monarch butterfly in from Canada and the USA. For the Aztecs, the Underworld, though fraught with trials and tribulations was no Catholic Hell. After a harrowing journey and judgement, Mictlan was the final destination of nine levels in the Land of the Dead with many Classic funerary pyramids constructed of nine levels reflecting this.
Laying to the West, Xibalba, the Land of the Dead could also be entered through caves and bodies of water known as  ‘cenotes’, sacred water cisterns, places of ritual sacrifice to the Lord and Lady of Death - ‘Mictlantecuhtli’ and ‘Mictecacihuatl.’ Bodies were buried with grave goods of Jade beads, food and chocolate to be offered as payment upon reaching ‘Mictlan’, the final level of the wandering soul.
People reflect and embody regenerative process and so death is perceived as a cyclical symbiosis, from which life evolves. Moreover, the regenerative life cycle is connected to that of the maize, which is seen to spring from the ground nine days after the seed is planted. Mirrored in the emergence of life from the nine fleshless realms of ‘Xibalba,’ death was thus viewed as a descent into the world of spirit.

Skeletons as powerful symbols for new life are depicted in many art forms, more commonly as masks where skeletal faces are drawn back to reveal the fully fleshed life latent within. Bones, like seeds are cyclical; hence life comes from death and is not to be feared. Complex cosmologies emerged woven around the life giving maize, life from the earth and the fertilization of blood spilled upon it by the first couple and the creator gods. Ancestor worship in Meso-America is celebrated in Classic Mayan art, filled with scenes of priests and rulers offering back their blood and other sacrifices to the honoured dead.
Paralleling these ancient concepts clearly evidenced within ‘Dia de los Muertos’ celebrations is the recent rise in popularity of the ‘Cult of Santisima Muerte’ (Saint Death) who has subsumed the role of ‘Mictecacihuatl,’ the Aztec Lady of Death. As a robed female skeleton she is unashamedly called upon for all kinds of material comfort - in life. Reflecting the rise in neo-pagan/Hispanic syntheses over recent years, various commonalities prevail. Candle magic and colour correspondences dictate votive offerings for use in ‘requests’ to her; cloaks worn may for example, be black for power and vengeance, or red for affairs of the heart. Household shrines to her are lit daily with relevant flowers, food, water, tobacco and even where necessary, liquor. An evening kiss secures her good favour and fortune throughout the night. Her popularity is fast exceeding even that of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico City, with thousands buying water and holy incense dedicated to her, though she is not, of course, recognised by the Catholic Church. There is even an annual ceremony for worshippers to celebrate her birthday.
Its depth and poignancy provides an insight into our real heritage as human beings, from mysteries of our creation to the power of death, reflecting a faint gnostic perspective. In a spiritually blanched society such as ours it, I think that sometimes in order to understand what we are doing here and where it is taking us, we have to remember the immortal words of Robert Cochrane that: ‘all ritual is prayer.’

Text extracted from Chpt - Dia de los Muertos: Tubelo's Green Fire by Shani Oates.
All photos credit and copyright of Shani Oates.

Monday, 10 October 2011

The White Poppy

The White Poppy.

By Kenneth Grahame [1859-1932]

A riot of scarlet on gold, the red poppy of our native fields tosses
heavy tresses with gipsy abandon; her sister of the sea-shore is
golden, a yellow blossom that loves the keen salt savour of the spray.
Of another hue is the poppy of history, of romance, of the muse. White
as the stark death-shroud, pallid as the cheeks of that queen of a
silent land whose temples she languorously crowns, ghost-like beside
her fuller-blooded kin, she droops dream-laden, Papaver somniferum,
the poppy of the magic juice of oblivion. In the royal plenitude of
summer, the scarlet blooms will sometimes seem but a red cry from
earth in memory of the many dews of battle that have drenched these
acres in years gone by, for little end but that these same ``bubbles
of blood'' might glow to-day; the yellow flower does but hint of the
gold that has dashed a thousand wrecks at her feet around these
shores: for happier suggestion we must turn to her of the pallid
petals, our white Lady of Consolation. Fitting hue to typify the
crowning blessing of forgetfulness! Too often the sable robes of night
dissemble sleeplessness, remorse, regret, self-questioning. Let black,
then, rather stand for hideous memory: white for blessed blank
oblivion, happiest gift of the gods! For who, indeed, can say that the
record of his life is not crowded with failure and mistake, stained
with its petty cruelties of youth, its meannesses and follies of later
years, all which storm and clamour incessantly at the gates of memory,
refusing to be shut out? Leave us alone, O gods, to remember our
felicities, our successes: only aid us, ye who recall no gifts, aptly and
discreetly to forget.

Discreetly, we say; for it is a tactful forgetfulness that makes for
happiness. In the minor matter, for instance, of small money
obligations, that shortness of memory which the school of Professors
Panurge and Falstaff rashly praises, may often betray into some
unfortunate allusion or reference to the subject which shall pain the
delicate feelings of the obliger; or, if he be of coarser clay, shall
lead him in his anger to express himself with unseemliness, and
thereby to do violence to his mental tranquillity, in which alone, as
Marcus Aurelius teacheth, lieth the perfection of moral character.
This is to be a stumbling-block and an offence against the brethren.
It is better to keep just memory enough to avoid such hidden rocks and
shoals; in which thing Mr Swiveller is our great exemplar, whose
mental map of London was a chart wherein every creditor was carefully

The wise man prays, we are told, for a good digestion: let us add to
the prayer -- and a bad memory. Truly we are sometimes tempted to
think that we are the only ones cursed with this corroding canker. Our
friends, we can swear, have all, without exception, atrocious
memories; why is ours alone so hideously vital? Yet this isolation
must be imaginary; for even as we engage in this selfish moan for help
in our own petty case, we are moved to add a word for certain others
who, meaning no ill, unthinkingly go about to add to humanity's
already heavy load of suffering. How much needless misery is caused in
this world by the reckless ``recollections'' of dramatic and other
celebrities? You gods, in lending ear to our prayer, remember too,
above all other sorts and conditions of men, these our poor
erring brothers and sisters, the sometime sommités of Mummerdom!

Moments there are, it is true, when this traitor spirit tricks you:
when some subtle scent, some broken notes of an old song, nay, even
some touch of a fresher air on your cheeks at night -- a breath of
``le vent qui vient à travers la montagne'' -- have power to ravish,
to catch you back to the blissful days when you trod the one authentic
Paradise. Moments only, alas! Then the evil crowd rushes in again,
howls in the sacred grove, tramples down and defiles the happy garden;
and once more you cry to Our Lady of Sleep, crowned of the white
poppy. And you envy your dog who, for full discharge of a present
benefaction having wagged you a hearty, expressive tail, will then
pursue it gently round the hearth-rug till, in restful coil, half-dozen
diurnal sleeps being in truth a royal amnesty.

But whose the hand that shall reach us the herb of healing? Perdita
blesses every guest at the shearing with a handful of blossom; but
this gift is not to be asked of her whose best wish to her friends is
``grace and remembrance.'' The fair Ophelia, rather: nay, for as a
nursling she hugs her grief, and for her the memory of the past is a
``sorrow's crown of sorrow.'' What flowers are these her pale hand
offers? ``There's pansies, that's for thoughts!''For me rather, O
dear Ophelia, the white poppy of forgetfulness.

images at wikicommons


Thursday, 22 September 2011



About the time of Michael's feast
And all his angels,
There comes a word to man and beast
By dark evangels.

Then hearing what the wild things say
To one another,
Those creatures first born of our gray
Mysterious Mother,

The greatness of the world's unrest
Steals through our pulses;
Our own life takes a meaning guessed
From the torn dulse's.

The draft and set of deep sea-tides
Swirling and flowing,
Bears every filmy flake that rides,
Grandly unknowing.

The sunlight listens; thin and fine
The crickets whistle;
And floating midges fill the shine
Like a seeding thistle.

The hawkbit flies his golden flag
From rocky pasture,
Bidding his legions never lag
Through morning's vasture.

Soon we shall see the red vines ramp
Through forest borders,
And Indian summer breaking camp
To silent orders.

 The glossy chestnuts swell and burst
Their prickly houses
Agog at news which reached them first
In sap's carouses.

The long noons turn the ribstons red,
The pippins yellow;
The wild duck from his reedy bed
Summons his fellow.

The robins keep the underbrush
Songless and wary,
As though they feared some frostier hush
Might bid them tarry;

Perhaps in the great North they heard
Of silence falling
Upon the world without a word,
White and appalling.

The ash-tree and the lady-fern,
In russet frondage,
Proclaim 'tis time for our return
To vagabondage.

All summer idle have we kept;
But on a morning,
Where the blue hazy mountains slept,
A scarlet warning

Disturbs our day-dream with a start;
A leaf turns over;
And every earthling is at heart
Once more a rover.

All winter we shall toil and plod,
Eating and drinking;
But now's the little time when God
Sets folk to thinking.

"Consider," says the quiet sun,
"How far I wander;
Yet when had I not time on one
More flower to squander?"

"Consider," says the restless tide,
"My endless labor;
Yet when was I content beside
My nearest neighbor?"

So wander-lust to wander-lure,
As seed to season,
Must rise and wend, possessed and sure
In sweet unreason.
For doorstone and repose are good,
And kind is duty;
But joy is in the solitude
With shy-heart beauty.

And Truth is one whose ways are meek
Beyond foretelling;
And far his journey who would seek
Her lowly dwelling.

She leads him by a thousand heights,
Lonelily faring,
With sunrise and with eagle flights
To mate his daring.

For her he fronts a vaster fog
Than Leif of yore did,
Voyaging for continents no log
Has yet recorded.

He travels by a polar star,
Now bright, now hidden,
For a free land, though rest be far
And roads forbidden,

Till on a day with sweet coarse bread
And wine she stays him,
Then in a cool and narrow bed
To slumber lays him.

So we are hers. And, fellows mine
Of fin and feather,
By shady wood and shadowy brine,
When comes the weather

For migrants to be moving on,
By lost indenture
You flock and gather and are gone:
The old adventure!

I too have my unwritten date,
My gypsy presage;
And on the brink of fall I wait
The darkling message.

The sign, from prying eyes concealed,
Is yet how flagrant!
Here's ragged-robin in the field,
A simple vagrant.

(April 15, 1861 – June 8, 1929
'Canada's poet laureate’ [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bliss_Carman]
All images courtesy of wikicommons.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011


by Edgar Allan Poe

        Kind solace in a dying hour!
        Such, father, is not (now) my theme-
      I will not madly deem that power
          Of Earth may shrive me of the sin
          Unearthly pride hath revell'd in-
        I have no time to dote or dream:
      You call it hope- that fire of fire!
      It is but agony of desire:
      If I can hope- Oh God! I can-
        Its fount is holier- more divine-
      I would not call thee fool, old man,
        But such is not a gift of thine.


        Know thou the secret of a spirit
        Bow'd from its wild pride into shame.
      O yearning heart! I did inherit
        Thy withering portion with the fame,
      The searing glory which hath shone
      Amid the jewels of my throne,
      Halo of Hell! and with a pain
      Not Hell shall make me fear again-
      O craving heart, for the lost flowers
      And sunshine of my summer hours!
      The undying voice of that dead time,
      With its interminable chime,
      Rings, in the spirit of a spell,
      Upon thy emptiness- a knell.



       I have not always been as now:
      The fever'd diadem on my brow
        I claim'd and won usurpingly-
      Hath not the same fierce heirdom given
        Rome to the Caesar- this to me?
          The heritage of a kingly mind,
      And a proud spirit which hath striven
          Triumphantly with human kind.



        On mountain soil I first drew life:
        The mists of the Taglay have shed
        Nightly their dews upon my head,
      And, I believe, the winged strife
      And tumult of the headlong air
      Have nestled in my very hair.


        So late from Heaven- that dew- it fell
        (Mid dreams of an unholy night)
      Upon me with the touch of Hell,
        While the red flashing of the light
        From clouds that hung, like banners, o'er

        Appeared to my half-closing eye
        The pageantry of monarchy,
      And the deep trumpet-thunder's roar
        Came hurriedly upon me, telling
          Of human battle, where my voice,
      My own voice, silly child!- was swelling
          (O! how my spirit would rejoice,
      And leap within me at the cry)
      The battle-cry of Victory!


              The rain came down upon my head
        Unshelter'd- and the heavy wind
        Rendered me mad and deaf and blind.
      It was but man, I thought, who shed
        Laurels upon me: and the rush-
      The torrent of the chilly air
        Gurgled within my ear the crush
      Of empires- with the captive's prayer-
      The hum of suitors- and the tone
      Of flattery 'round a sovereign's throne.
       My passions, from that hapless hour,
        Usurp'd a tyranny which men
      Have deem'd, since I have reach'd to power,
          My innate nature- be it so:
        But father, there liv'd one who, then,
      Then- in my boyhood- when their fire
          Burn'd with a still intenser glow,
      (For passion must, with youth, expire)
        E'en then who knew this iron heart
        In woman's weakness had a part.

      I have no words- alas!- to tell
      The loveliness of loving well!
      Nor would I now attempt to trace
      The more than beauty of a face
      Whose lineaments, upon my mind,
      Are- shadows on th' unstable wind:
      Thus I remember having dwelt
        Some page of early lore upon,
      With loitering eye, till I have felt
      The letters- with their meaning- melt
        To fantasies- with none.

      O, she was worthy of all love!
        Love- as in infancy was mine-
      'Twas such as angel minds above
        Might envy; her young heart the shrine
      On which my every hope and thought
        Were incense- then a goodly gift,
          For they were childish and upright-
      Pure- as her young example taught:
        Why did I leave it, and, adrift,
          Trust to the fire within, for light?

                                                                           We grew in age- and love- together,
        Roaming the forest, and the wild;
      My breast her shield in wintry weather-
        And when the friendly sunshine smil'd,
      And she would mark the opening skies,
      I saw no Heaven- but in her eyes.

      Young Love's first lesson is- the heart:
        For 'mid that sunshine, and those smiles,
      When, from our little cares apart,
        And laughing at her girlish wiles,
      I'd throw me on her throbbing breast,
        And pour my spirit out in tears-
      There was no need to speak the rest-
        No need to quiet any fears
      Of her- who ask'd no reason why,
      But turn'd on me her quiet eye!

      Yet more than worthy of the love
      My spirit struggled with, and strove,
      When, on the mountain peak, alone,
      Ambition lent it a new tone-
      I had no being- but in thee:
        The world, and all it did contain
      In the earth- the air- the sea-
        Its joy- its little lot of pain
      That was new pleasure- the ideal,
        Dim vanities of dreams by night-

      And dimmer nothings which were real-
        (Shadows- and a more shadowy light!)
      Parted upon their misty wings,
        And, so, confusedly, became
        Thine image, and- a name- a name!
      Two separate- yet most intimate things.


      I was ambitious- have you known
        The passion, father? You have not:
      A cottager, I mark'd a throne
      Of half the world as all my own,
        And murmur'd at such lowly lot-
      But, just like any other dream,
        Upon the vapour of the dew
      My own had past, did not the beam
        Of beauty which did while it thro'
      The minute- the hour- the day- oppress
      My mind with double loveliness.

      We walk'd together on the crown
      Of a high mountain which look'd down
      Afar from its proud natural towers
        Of rock and forest, on the hills-
      The dwindled hills! begirt with bowers,
        And shouting with a thousand rills.

      I spoke to her of power and pride,
        But mystically- in such guise
      That she might deem it nought beside
        The moment's converse; in her eyes
      I read, perhaps too carelessly-
        A mingled feeling with my own-
      The flush on her bright cheek, to me
        Seem'd to become a queenly throne
      Too well that I should let it be
        Light in the wilderness alone.


   I wrapp'd myself in grandeur then,
        And donn'd a visionary crown-
          Yet it was not that Fantasy
          Had thrown her mantle over me-
      But that, among the rabble- men,
        Lion ambition is chained down-
      And crouches to a keeper's hand-
      Not so in deserts where the grand-
      The wild- the terrible conspire
      With their own breath to fan his fire.

      Look 'round thee now on Samarcand!
        Is not she queen of Earth? her pride
      Above all cities? in her hand
        Their destinies? in all beside
      Of glory which the world hath known
      Stands she not nobly and alone?
      Falling- her veriest stepping-stone
      Shall form the pedestal of a throne-
      And who her sovereign? Timour- he
        Whom the astonished people saw
      Striding o'er empires haughtily
        A diadem'd outlaw!

      O, human love! thou spirit given
      On Earth, of all we hope in Heaven!
      Which fall'st into the soul like rain
      Upon the Siroc-wither'd plain,
      And, failing in thy power to bless,
      But leav'st the heart a wilderness!
      Idea! which bindest life around
      With music of so strange a sound,
      And beauty of so wild a birth-
      Farewell! for I have won the Earth.


      When Hope, the eagle that tower'd, could see
        No cliff beyond him in the sky,
      His pinions were bent droopingly-
        And homeward turn'd his soften'd eye.
      'Twas sunset: when the sun will part
      There comes a sullenness of heart
      To him who still would look upon
      The glory of the summer sun.
      That soul will hate the ev'ning mist,
      So often lovely, and will list
      To the sound of the coming darkness (known
      To those whose spirits hearken) as one
      Who, in a dream of night, would fly
      But cannot from a danger nigh.


       What tho' the moon- the white moon
      Shed all the splendour of her noon,
      Her smile is chilly, and her beam,
      In that time of dreariness, will seem
      (So like you gather in your breath)
      A portrait taken after death.
      And boyhood is a summer sun
      Whose waning is the dreariest one-
      For all we live to know is known,
      And all we seek to keep hath flown-
      Let life, then, as the day-flower, fall
      With the noon-day beauty- which is all.

      I reach'd my home- my home no more
        For all had flown who made it so.
      I pass'd from out its mossy door,
        And, tho' my tread was soft and low,
      A voice came from the threshold stone
      Of one whom I had earlier known-
        O, I defy thee, Hell, to show
        On beds of fire that burn below,
        A humbler heart- a deeper woe.
        Father, I firmly do believe-
        I know- for Death, who comes for me
          From regions of the blest afar,
      Where there is nothing to deceive,
          Hath left his iron gate ajar,
        And rays of truth you cannot see
        Are flashing thro' Eternity-
      I do believe that Eblis hath
      A snare in every human path-
      Else how, when in the holy grove
      I wandered of the idol, Love,
      Who daily scents his snowy wings
      With incense of burnt offerings
      From the most unpolluted things,
      Whose pleasant bowers are yet so riven
      Above with trellis'd rays from Heaven,

   No mote may shun- no tiniest fly-
      The lightning of his eagle eye-
      How was it that Ambition crept,
        Unseen, amid the revels there,
      Till growing bold, he laughed and leapt
        In the tangles of Love's very hair?

 photo credits copyright: shani oates