Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Poems of Love and Parting

I started writing this post on  May Day, Beltane, and here it is some 20 days later.   Spring is in full bloom,  the Maypole has been danced, birds are courting in my garden, my bee hive looks like it has produced a new Queen and is getting ready to swarm (I will keep a good distance for a while!), and Persephone is back from the underworld, pollinating everything she touches. The subject I wanted to think about was Love.

Recently I had my cards read by a reader I know from the Faires.  Right on top of the spread was The Lovers.  Which bothers me, because romantic  partnership, all that,  is something I kind of (gratefully) put away, forgot about, and moved on from years ago.  It has become an abstraction.   Thank the Goddess, I'm a happy cat lady these days and my romantic adventures and sorrows seem  over.  She said that I would meet a companion, which seems improbable, but life is full of surprises.

But "Love"........I found myself thinking about love again (the Greeks had some 8 different words for different forms of love). I found in my files many love poems I wrote over the years for men that I loved,  and I realized that I never shared a single one of them with any of the people I wrote them for.  It's too late now, but I can share them here.  Some of them  bring back the memories they wrap,  like a fragrance carried on the wind.   Reading these poems I am graced to realize a profound truth about love:  it is always a blessing, no matter how painful the partings were.

 The first poem, At Beltane,  I wrote after realizing that someone I felt passionate love for  would never  return my affections.   What do you do with love that you realize will not go forward into some future relationship? Make a Benediction, for the gift that it is and was.  In retrospect, I  wish I had given him the poem......

Yellow Sails I wrote when I was about 21.  I don't remember the name of the person I wrote it for any longer, age really does take the names out of things.....but memory is more than names.  We may lose the names  within the stories, but not the heart of them.  This was a boy/man as young as me, and he committed suicide.

In Praise of Waters I wrote after I was divorced, in the dismal wake of that experience so many others have also shared.  One of the  most painful, and yet transformative moments of a divorce  of any kind is the remembering of, not the other's wrong doing, but your own piece of the failure of love, and hopefully the opening of the heart and spiritual growth that brings.  Again, what do you do with that?  You let pain as well as joy in  until your heart breaks  where it must and should, and overflows with the Waters of the World that truly  heal and  mature us.

"The Rune of Ending"  I was trying to make some kind of blessing for myself and my  ex-husband on the occasion of our severing and divorce.  Not long after I left my home on the East Coast and literally rode off, with my cat, into the sunset to make a new life for myself in California.  A canyon that opened between us indeed, a canyon many have had to turn and walk away from, with painful regret, remorse, and finally with gratitude, to move forward into the future.  We have not been in contact in many years, but I do know that indeed he met another woman, and they are still together, and I believe they are well suited for each other.  And I am glad for them.

"I Stood Poised"........I don't know how to explain that poem, the last "love poem" I ever wrote.  The story is complex, but it began with a very strange experience.  I attended a talk, and walked into a room with some 30 people sitting in a circle.  In the back a man sat with a woman partner.  From the instant I saw him, there was no one else in the room - I had an enormous sense of deja vue, like I had been looking for him for a very long time.  Ironically, once the program started, it turned out he was the presenter.  We worked together for a while,  and although he never acknowledged  me other than as a professional,  I believe  there was a relationship between us that spanned lifetimes.  I think what I experienced as  "love" for him was a recognition of other realms of experience, realms that inexplicably opened sometimes for me in his presence, along with many synchronicities.  I cannot explain it here, and ultimately, I had to let all my questions go, and disconnect from the attempt to "understand".  It was a "Mystery" for me, and had something to with what people call Karma and fate.  

The last poem, "The Green Man", is about spring, the great Eros of nature within the Great Round of the year.  That Round includes human beings, as much as we seem to be bent on denying our place in the cycles of nature.  All hearts are renewed with the coming of the Green Man, the  Pagan  catalyst of new life.  He is always there, calling among the trees. 

At Beltane

Set me free now.........
You walked among my dreams, and
I will bless you as I go.

I pause at the door, key in hand
breathing in the last of you.
Pleasure that pierces heart and reason:
there are no words to frame this.

All I can give
is to give it back 

Back to World.
To the dreaming earth
the singing waters,
dancing flames,
to the open sky.

To the Circle at the center of all things.
World, here is my heart's unspoken delight:

I offer it back to you, 
to play among the leaves,
to light  my dappled path.
I open my hand
a scarlet bird 
flashes among the trees.

Fly free,
Bird of Paradise
fly into the morning
from the other side of forever.


Yellow Sails   

Your fey mark 
glows on your forehead
a brand, a signature.

I have covered you 
with my tokens, with kisses I
embedded in you like tattoos, 
each one says

"remember me, remember me"

although I know you won't.
They will dissolve more quickly than memory
in whatever stream
bears you off.

I loved you from the shore, 
never really touching you
still, I regret nothing.

You were that which is worthy,
the pale light of another landscape
a castaway.

I will remember you
as you are now:
a boat, sailing into some brave distance
your yellow sails spread
glad and bright
on the horizon.


In Praise of Waters

How are we turned,
again and again,
to find ourselves 
moving into the shadow land
where our best and finest intentions
drift out of true, and into the truly opposite?

     love becomes hate
     hope turns into despair
     inspiration hardens into dogma.

we must find our faces again
in dark waters.

Revealed among fallen leaves
our reflected sins
our cherished scars,
the dappled shapes of light and dark
that surface toward a whole.

There is something that wants us to open

that pours from the crevices
where we have broken

     Something that laughs 
     like a river in the morning.


The Rune of Ending

What can be said now

when all words are spent
when the final word has been spoken?
We go now to our separate houses
relieved, at least.  A course has been named.

     Our lives are severed, our story is told.

We will each surely tell that  story, 

and strive and laugh
and talk late into the night,
and kiss lips salty with tears and with love

     but not with each other.

Here the tearing  ends,

here ends remorse and reprisal
here end dreams and plans.

We will not travel to Scotland, 

to walk among ancient monoliths 
in the white mists of our imaginations.
We will not walk again on a warm beach in Mexico,
toasting each other with margaritas.

That was once, it has to be enough.

I will not call you mine, 
you will not call me yours, 
and our cat is now your cat, 
our teapot is now my teapot.
I touch a potted plant, 
remembering its place
on our breakfast table.

     We divide the spoils,

      humane, courteous, fair

A canyon has opened between us.

we are each old enough
to know its name 
to view its depths without passion.
There is no bridge to cross this time.

I must now forgive myself, and you.
Cast my stone into this abyss
and bless the woman
who has not yet come
to stand by your side
and wave with grace 
from across this canyon's lip

     then turn

     and walk my own path.


I Stood Poised Upon the Edge of Town
and Heard the Blue Stars Singing

Weary ideas rise and fall
into blessed exhaustion 
at last I touch that essence, 
that blood-red honey wine,
this strange distillation.

I entered a lucid dream, 
I found a lucid life.

Through my open window,
I see a black, far horizon
and I hear the blue stars singing 

memories of memories:
I wish I could tell you
what I have seen
in the homelands. 

Perhaps, in that country,
we are of each other at last
You take my hand, we walk together
in that green and splendid meadow.

I offer you a glass,
you raise your cup to mine.
Lips touch
a butterfly rises between us,
flies into the morning
from the other side 
of forever.

Through an open window,
I hear the stars singing.......
But I write this in a small, dark room 
here, and now,
wishing I could be young again,
wishing I could feel
something other than foolish.

I will always remember you
always between
regret and joy
hello and goodbye
delight and sorrow
truth and lies

that bright 
endarkened landscape

I saw you in.


The Green Man

I walked among the trees
I wore the mask of the deer.
Remember me,
try to remember.

     I am that laughing man 

     with eyes like leaves.

When you think that winter will never end
I will come.  You will feel my breath, 
warm at your neck.
I will rise in the grass,
a vine caressing your foot.

I am the blue eye of a crocus
opening in the snow.
I  am a trickle of water, a calling bird,
a shaft of light among the trees.

You will hear me singing
among the green groves of memory,
the shining leaves of tomorrow. 

      I'll come with daisies in my hands,

      we'll dance among the sycamores
      once more.

**My thanks again to Robin Williamson, the Bard indeed, for a few images
     I will never forget, including "eyes like leaves" and "songs of love and  
     parting".  The blood of the Green Man runs true in him. 

No comments: