Enchanting Romance, EV8 June 2007




The Malachite Muse, c. 2006 Philip Rubinov Jacobson

The Rose of Silver Mist Alley.

The Rose of Silver Mist Alley had a smile for every beggar and a thorn for every tax-collector.
Moon-frosted pollen dusted her wings, a slender green blade hung on her hip; her soul was tied about her waist on a delicate gold chain entwined with tiny dragons and salamanders, the cantrips of owls came easily to her lips.
The Rose fell in love with a dewdrop so bright the stars shrunk to pinpricks in the cloak of the night. Picking it gently from the face of early morning she clasped it to her perfumed breast; she wore it on a silver thread about her neck; she imprisoned it in a ring upon her finger; she harnessed it to two moths and commanded it to fly before her.
But the dewdrop was not happy. It wanted to dissolve and melt away into the earth.
It begged and pleaded with the Rose to be released but she only laughed and swore to love it all the more.
She placed it in a locket of frozen dreams and diamonds; she decorated it with tiny flowers, autumn leaves and the teeth of baby crocodiles; she carried it to strange places hidden under her tongue or in the secret folds of her navel.
At night she slept with it under her pillow or clutched tightly in the clustered buds of her hands.


Slowly, as the years went by the tiny dewdrop began to lose its shiny internal patina of rainbow iridescence, becoming duller and duller - and as it did so the Rose also became a little duller, a little less marvelously perfumed, a little less magnificently coloured.
Eventually, one morning she woke up and all her petals were old and brown and tired and her supple stem felt sad and wilted. Her precious dewdrop had lost all appearence of magic and looked like any common raindrop, grey and listless. She passed dejectedly down Silver Mist Alley without smiling at a single beggar or shedding the least ray or emanation of her customary good cheer and charm.
Tax-collectors smiled behind her back and glowered contemptuously at the unhappy beggars and wistful street urchins.


A solitary owl detached itself from the Moon and floated down to Earth on its great albino wings, a golden worm in its beak. As its shadow passed over the Rose she glanced up and saw the golden worm tumbling from the owl's beak as it called to her in greeting.
"Too-whit, too-whoo, how do you do, how do you do?"
The golden worm fell at her feet.
She took the locket from around her neck and, placing it upon the ground next to the worm, crushed it beneath her heel. The imprisoned dewdrop, released at last, sighed and melted into the earth.
It was joined by two silver tears that fell from each of the Rose's eyes. She was sorry to lose her friend but glad that finally she had listened to its sad and constant plea for freedom.


The golden worm drank the silver tears thirstily in a matter of seconds and grew into a vast magnificent Dragon. It turned its jewelled eyes upon the downcast Rose and, opening its mouth, incinerated her completely in a single gust of its flaming breath.
Spreading its fabulous wings it leapt into the air and flew to Silver Mist Alley where, landing in a shower of sparks, it proceeded to devour all the beggars, street urchins, tax-collectors, merchants, harlots, soldiers, poets, gamblers and other worthy citizens. When it had devoured the whole town it belched fastidiously, stretched its wonderful wings and leapt into the sky again.
In time, it proceeded to devour the Moon, the Sun, the stars and the dark spaces between the stars.
In short, it devoured all of Creation.
When there was nothing left it twisted adroitly about and began devouring its own glittering tail.


There was Nothingness.
The Nothingness lasted for a very long time.
Then, slowly, very slowly Darkness began to extrude itself out of the Nothingness until dark and empty space covered the surface of the Nothingness in all directions.
Thousands of millennia passed.
Then, slowly, very slowly, a tiny dewdrop formed upon the face of the Darkness - a tiny, perfect dewdrop.
Inside the perfect dewdrop oceans and forests, mountains and entire continents fashioned themselves out of even tinier atoms and galaxies and stars. Tiny fish and animals moved in and upon the oceans and continents and in a quiet valley a little village grew up and soon became a town.
In a garden, just off Silver Mist Alley, a tiny rose-bud opened its eyes and looked up at the silvery Moon.
A wise albino owl hooted.
"Too-whit, too-whoo," it said, "how do you do, how do you do?"

Copyright Willowdown

(c) Leland Auslender, all rights reserved

With silver dusk she comes with song.

With silver dusk she comes with song
and stars like fragrant blossom strewn
across high heaven's deepening fields
from amethyst and cobalt hewn.

O Lady I have waited long
to see your smile and hear your tune
and I would walk beside the sea
with thee beneath the rising Moon.

Full the day but weary at last
your gentle conversation fills me up.
Great splendour has come
and great splendour has passed
- now I would sit with thee and sup
nectar sweet distilled from light
the gentle wisdom of the night.
The sun has set, day's colour fled
but you remain to fill my sight.

Tender ghost of the heart's sorrow
will you put on flesh tomorrow?
... but sunrise comes and you fade away
too beautiful for the light of day.

copyright Willowdown

Eminence ©2007 T.Anderson

Beauty Speaks (c) by Anna Kaye Forsyth

Beauty speaks
by the fountain.
Restless, I sit
within the garden
row on row
abundant roses
surround me as I wait
to hear her fragrant voice
her gentle, quiet spirit
quells the stormy striving
with her mother's touch.
Invites my soul to spacious places
finds my breath
and gives it back to me.
With open hands
she offers
potent colour
splashes life across my pallid spirit.
Her peaceful smile resonates
in chambers of the heart itself.
Beauty speaks
whispers to me
rest your head
here at my breast"
Beauty speaks
whispers to me
"Soul enough! Enough! You are enough!
You are more than enough!
Not too much.
Not too small.
The universe is as it should be.
You are beauty.
Soul, rest your head"

Andromeda ©2007 T.Anderson

Another Tale

(c) Terra Wolfe

When she is the one true princess
Who aches all day after sleeping on a pea,
no matter how many mattresses.
When she, all fragile, feels every feather in her pillow
as though it were plucked from her own skin.

For this lady,
there are abundant princes.

They ride noble chargers
in search of only her heart,
which they hunt as though it were a quail.

Oh, to be the quest of such men,
such tall and shining promise.

It is her due
To be their prize.
It is the just reward of beauty
to be sought
to be conquered
to quiver gracefully
at the approaching sound
of their hooves.


He arrives
bathed in sunlight

The largest man
who ever knew a saddle.
Through the shadowed forest

The sun
on his face.


This is the moment
adding one more daisy
to her armful of flowers
she turns.

An obvious princess and waiting for him.

takes the expected turns,
until, with tearful eyes they part.

He rides away
on to another tale.

The princess
returns to her wildflowers
only a little bit

He arrives.


How do they get through the gates?
I thought I sealed them.
I need
more barbs along the fence,
more crocodiles
in my moat.

How can he glow like that
after fighting through the thorns?

I am scarred still,
from chain mail.

But beauty has grown back,
over the torn tissue.
It grows back,
no matter what they do.

It covers me
like moss.

For I am a true princess.

See how gently he approaches
a little blood on his sleeve,
a tear brushed
from his cheek.

The hunter
knows his prey.

What will be left of me?
(I was taught to love)
When he rides away?
(He was taught to conquer.)

Perseus ©2007 T.Anderson




Sheela na Gig (c) Aloas Kino


Standing outside your circle, I imagine you
All eyes. Inside unfathomable textures of, is it, light ?
Teasing. No, inflaming, all the dreams of what can be
I step inside your temple and nothing happens
And then, I collapse. Crushed, slamdunked by a hairy chimera
My images. My expectations, my burning house
Where am I now ? Inside these flames, I am laughing.
While my house burns down, the fences pick up their stakes
And a mindless infinity blows everything to bits and pieces.
I stand alone. Like some charred crucifix, a shadow
Of past sacrifices. You demanded this and I gave you that.
And now, midnight visions!? Beached crabs, mouthes foaming
Crabwalking. Over fields of broken shells, clamoring up & down
There are tunnels here and tombs, too. Do they die also?
Or is this some kind of sleep that grows its own shelter over time ?
There are no metaphors for this love of yours, only death and surrender.
This love of yours. It has destroyed everything familiar to me.
Have I passed the test ? Am I still attractive ? Do you still want me ?
My sudden shyness ? An attempt to diminish your magnificence
In the face of the only thing I can call my own, this mask
Is the only thing I can call my own.
But truth is...it looks better on you.

© 2007 Antero Alli

Cosmic Tree (c) Stevon Lucero

For my Muse…

On the end of her tongue is a flame like that of a votive candle…this she sticks into my ear and sets my brain on fire…a thousand one inch electric cables cannot carry the current between her heart and mine and so we have to set up a fiber optics network just to handle the flow of love…I believe she is sleeping but my muse is riding me now like she does in the midst of throes of ecstasy and lust…she is biting my ear and sending sparks throughout my body and so I am up now writing something to honor her in my life…the bed is wet with sex and the shower is dry because we like the funk of ourselves…it goes well with coffee and ciggies and other vices that I cannot mention here because they are secret…and my muse doesn’t like her secrets shown to the harsh light of others' criticism or jealousy…she chases me around the house with a riding crop made of rose petals and barbed wire and the marks it leaves on me are like the most intricate henna done in india…she corners me and envelops me in her yoni and inside it glistens like a replica of the taj mahal with all the intricate architecture…I wander through the place and each room is inhabited with a different version of her…she always invites me to lie with her on a golden couch trimmed with black velvet and when I start to I hear a noise from the other room…I look and there she is again in a different form and my heart is lit with lust again so that I never get to have her but am always wanting her…she kissed me once and now I cannot eat food because the inside of my mouth can stand nothing else and I am still hungry for the taste of her because it is all that my tongue can remember…one day we went outside and the sun ran away because he had no way to illuminate her…the moon also is no match for her mystery and so hides away out of sight…when I look into the bathroom mirror I can see one of her eyes in the middle of my head and she winks at me as if to say that she is always with me…always has been and always will be…there is no music like the sound of her voice which is always playing in my head…even when I am sleeping…money does not satisfy her and she uses it to light her ciggies and tosses gold coins into the warm waters that she walks on just to see the dolphins catch them in their mouths…she has the eyes of a million year old witch and the body of a 18 year old virgin…her nipples drip golden milk like raindrops from the sky and I am all wet with her…I have nothing worthy of her and so I offer her my self lying at her feet in a sea of tears of gratitude…she wears nothing and her nakedness is the perfect dress because there is no cloth worthy of her body…she gives herself to me and when I touch her…everything that exists is moot…

copyright David Lee Jones

(c) Kathryn Silva Cravalho

Crescent Waltz

She slants her shining, golden glance
Across desert, mountains, rivers, plants
Greets her rising, true romance
In the purpling, opposite skies

Her lunar love, her heart’s delight
Soars to ever darker height
For each, the other’s perfect, right
It’s on their wings time flies

She seems asleep within the night
Yet always, somewhere, she’s brilliant, bright
Motionless in constant flight
Each day its own surprise

They’ll never meet – there’s not a chance
These partners in eternal dance
Of darkness, light – they both enhance
The world with their long goodbyes


Their crescent waltz achieves crescendo
Sans artifice or innuendo --
Young children start to play Nintendo
As adults stir and rise

(c) 2007 Rev. Rebecca Guile Hudson


Part 1

The train to Halma was slow. As slow as it had always been for the past seventy years.
Narrow gauge mountain tracks with hundreds of hairpin bends, spectacularly high bridges and long dark tunnels, breathtaking down hills and groaning up hills were decidedly not suitable for record breaking.
At most of the lower levels, workers in colourful clothing could be seen working in the wheat fields. When one opened the windows and leant out one could hear them singing.
I've often wondered whether there was a more beautiful sound this side of heaven than the singing of these field workers.

It was after passing through one of the longer tunnels that I spoke to her. She was about twenty-five I thought. Good looking but just not a Miss Universe. Perhaps it was a slight almost imperceptible downturn of the edges of her lips that would make her lose points. I found it very attractive.
She was wearing blue jeans, a blue T-shirt and an elaborately embroidered red waist coat. I leant forward.
"Hi. I couldn't help noticing. You seemed to be a little concerned. Please don't worry about those tunnels. They're very safe you know. There hasn't been an accident in all of their seventy-five years."
She looked at me warily. Then, accepting my reassurance, nodded her head a few times. As she turned her head away I began to speak about my journey.
"I'm on my way to be with my mother. It's this Mother's Day thing and it's her 48th birthday."

When she looked at me again, her initial disdain had somehow faded and she began to kind of acknowledge my presence. It seemed that if I had a mother I could not be that bad. I felt that a barrier had been removed.
"What's your name? Mine's Dinel."
"Mine's Alisha."
"Oh that's such a poetic name. Where are you going to?"
"Where's this train going? To Halma, of course."
"Well that's where my mother lives. Well, nearby."

I smiled. As time went by, her defensiveness diminished a little. Not much. Just a little.
"Are you going to the Mountain Mist New Age Poetry School?"
She looked startled but somehow more interested.
"Yes. How come you know about it?"
"So you're going to do modern poetry?"
"Yes, I am. Why are you asking me this?"
"Hmmm. Well it's this, I teach poetry."
Her eyes had begun to sparkle.
"You...you...teach? Do you? Where? At the school?"
"No no. Not at the school. I teach a different kind of poetry. Not at a school."
"What kind of..."

At that moment, the train began to slow down. It was a watering station for the locomotive and passengers were allowed to disembark for about 15 minutes.
I looked outside, then at her, and then rose grabbing our backpacks.
"Come let's go outside. I'll take these to make sure that no one steals them. Ok?"
She gave me a quick look. "Are you sure?"
When I nodded, she shook her shoulders and led the way out.
We climbed down the carriage steps and then walked over to the side of the track to look at what appeared to be the most beautiful forest on earth. In fact, I had always thought of this place as being the nearest that one could get to paradise on earth.
I had always felt an almost irresistible pull to enter that forest and suddenly I knew that she felt that force too.
"Dinel...do you think that we could just take a short walk down this path?"
"Yes Alisha. We could. There's time enough. Come then."
"Please Dinel. Keep your eye on the time."
"Don't worry about that."

Near the edge of a small cliff, I feigned a stumble and during a wild imaginative show of waving hands and shuffling feet, I dropped our two back packs down the slope.
She looked at me aghast.
"You bloody idiotic fool. Look at that. What have you done? Are you crazy?"
I looked at her, adopting what I imagined to be my most apologetic look.
"Oh Alisha. What a fool I am. I stumbled. I'm so sorry."
"So what are you going to do?"
"Wait here. I'm going down. I'll get them. Just don't get upset. Please I beg you."
I slid, jumped, hopped and even rolled down the hillside and then with a shout of triumph held up the two back packs.
"Come on come on. Don't just stand there."
Shouting "Yes, I'm coming" I scrambled valiantly up the steep slope.
Near the top I did a double step and shouted while I gave a dramatic show of pain.

As I heard her scream "for Pete's sake hurry, damn you" I heard the locomotive give its warning toot and a few minutes later heard the initial puffs as the train began moving out.
I implored Alisha to give me her hand. She found herself in a dilemma. She looked at the departing train and then at me and then back at the train. Finally, with a look that could kill, she went down on one knee, reached out towards me and grabbed my hand.
With great agility and without any sign of discomfort I bounded up the remaining few steps and went to stand next to her. We were both looking at the last signs of chimney smoke disappearing around the first bend.

She stood staring for what seemed an age before she turned to me with her fists tightly clenched. She had only one word for me.
I really had no reply. I mean not one that would have satisfied her. So I shrugged my shoulders. A French phrase came to mind.
"Cest la vie?"
Of course that was completely the wrong thing to say. She stepped towards me with both of her fists clenched.
"You damn bastard. You dog. What the hell have you done? Why why why???"

She looked as if she would rain blows down on me. Perhaps it was something else. Maybe it was to be a flood of tears.
I held up my hands. My heart was going out to her. I knew that I wouldn't be able to pacify her but I did manage a faint smile.
"Please Alisha. There's a simple explanation. Just give me a moment. I'll tell you the whole story."
She looked at me as if she had turned into a mamba.
"Shove your explanation. I don't want to hear it. I don't want to hear anything that you want to say. Give me my back pack. I'm going to wait for the next train."
I looked at her. There was a genuine sadness in my voice.
"I'm sorry Alisha. The next train is only due in three day's time".

Dancing Lotus (c) Andrew Thomas Bearce

Part 2

"Look, if you're a poetry teacher then you should be able to recite a poem to me right now. Not just any poem. No no. A poem that will tell me what all poetry is about."
I looked at her through squinting eyes. It dawned on me that she had just asked a most astute question.
"Do you mean that you want me to reveal to you the holy grail of all poems?"
"Yes...that's just about it. Come on Mr. Teacher."
Acting on an impulse I walked over to her and went down on one knee. As I looked up into her eyes I saw for the first time how dark brown they were. I had to however close my own eyes for a moment as I tried to imagine what Sir Laurence Olivier would've done at such a moment. I cleared my throat a little theatrically.

"How can you write
When you haven't lived?
How can you live
If you haven't seen a dancing trout?
How can you dance
If you haven't seen a deer at play?
How can you sing
If you haven't seen where music was born?"

Her eyes had grown larger. It was as if she had suddenly seen me for the first time.
"Don't be a fool. Dinel. Don't kneel in front of me. Go and sit on your rock."
Her words pleased me. I don't think that I could've kept my knee on that sharp rock for much longer.
"Go on, Dinel, Finish your poem. You have my interest."
With a polite nod I acknowledged her faint praise.

"These hands can write
Because I've held a wriggling fish.
My eyes can see
Because I‘ve seen eagles mate.
My ears can hear
Because I've heard a tiger purr."

"Aha. You're saying here that I can't write poetry because I haven't held a wriggling fish in my hands? When will I ever do that? You silly man."
Come with me Alisha. Let's walk through that wood. OK it's a 25 km walk but we'll get to your college by tomorrow afternoon. The train will only get there by late tomorrow night. It's all those winding curves and then that long wait for the connection."
"What? You want me to walk through that jungle with you. For 25 km? Just you and me and a thousand wild animals?"
"No no. It's not a jungle. It's a poetry school."

For the first time I heard her laughter. It was a happy sound. In fact, the whole countryside seemed to light up.
She looked at me with a look as resolute as if she was a pioneer walking into the unknown. She nodded her head sagely.
"Then let's go. Lead the way Mr Teacher."
I walked ahead and maintained quite a fast pace but I could hear that she stayed close behind me.
Now this jungle was not a dense forest filled with thorny bushes and piles of deadwood. There were many open spaces where bright sun rays lit up the patches of lush green grass.
Every now and then I would turn to her with a finger on my lips signalling a need for silence. I would then always point to a spot. I had begun to point out birds to her. I told her that birds fed on nectar or fruit or seeds.
I showed her nests built in drooping branches or in holes in trees or in nests between waterside shrubs or reeds.
Once I softly said "Shhh. There's a Fiscal Shrike. Do you know that it creates a larder? It impales insects on long thorns. Amazing isn't it?"

The inevitable moment arrived when she "had to go somewhere" I casually waved towards a bush next to a large tree. She was immediately totally aggrieved.
"I'll tell you what. You go there first. I want you to shoo away all snakes and furry creatures. GO. I can't wait for ever."

At about 3 in the afternoon, I turned to look at her. I could see that she was very upset.
I raised my eyebrows and asked "and so?"
"Look I'm hungry. I need a break. I'm thirsty. So what are you going to do about it?"
"Relax Alisha. There's a log. I'll fix you something."
I gave her an energy bar and then boiled some water on a small back packer's stove.
I made some tea and gave her a large mug full.

We walked about 15 km that day and as the sun began to dip and the shadows lengthened I held up my hand and called a halt. This action seemed to annoy her.
"Why are you stopping?"
"Alisha, this is where we stop. Unless you want to walk on in total darkness?"
"Here. You and me? "
"Yes. And the stars and the creatures of the night."
As I said that she began to look around nervously. "What do you mean?"
"Oh Alisha. Don't worry your pretty little head. I've a fold up tent here in my pack. You can use it. I don't mind. I've slept in the open often enough."
"OK. Then we stay here. But I promise you this: If you come near me, I'll kill you."
I kind of liked that fire in her eyes. They looked like laser beams.
"OK Alisha, you may kill me. Here take one of these knives. Careful, they're quite sharp."
As she looked at me I began to feel sorry for her. I could sense her confusion. This was all so new. I decided to come to her rescue.
"Hey. Don't stand around like that. Go and collect some firewood. Get a whole armful, will you? In the meantime I'll pitch your tent. OK?"

As the fire began to blaze, she looked at me. It was a very forlorn look.
"So what do we eat? Big shot. Where's our food?"
I took out a sealed tin and opened the lid. I held it towards her. "Here. Take a look."
She peered inside and then pulled up her nose as she drew back her head.
"Hell. What's that? Dried sticks and tobacco? Is this another one of your jokes?"
I didn't speak. I soaked "the stuff" in a plate of water and slowly by magic the shrivelled objects took on the shapes of carrots, beans and several other vegetables.
I winked at her.
"Alisha. This is part of the Poetry School. Always remember the magic of this moment."

After dinner we spoke for a while and then I bid her goodnight. When she looked a little nervous I gave her a torch that I always kept in my pack. She looked grateful but a trace of the nervousness remained.

I fell asleep immediately. It's the oxygen you know. Perhaps the absence of diesel fumes. I was deep in the arms of Morpheus when I felt someone pounding my shoulder.
I saw that it was Alisha and I also saw the terror in her eyes.
"Wake up! Wake up! There are animals all around here. Come. Get up. Do something!"
"What should I do, Alisha? I'm not afraid of animals."
"Never mind you. I am. Do something."
"OK I'll do anything. Tell me what."
She was quiet for a very long time. So long that I thought that she had fainted.
"What's up. Alisha?"
At last she spoke. "I want you to come and lie in the tent."
"In the tent with you? With you and that knife?"
"Yes. I'll trust you this once. I'm terrified. I'm in a state of panic. Can't you see that?"

As I lay next to her and as I noticed that she was not ready to sleep yet I turned on my back and called her name.
"Alisha. I know that you can't sleep. Now as this is a Poetry School I'll recite some poems to you. Poems that you will remember one day when you are a famous poet."
She whispered almost inaudibly.
"Jungle poems. The holy grail of all poetry?”


Part 3

She turned on her side, looking away from me. I lay on my back thinking of the stars high above our tent.
"Are you awake Alisha?"
I heard her mumbled "yes."
"Then listen to my words. Dream about them. We can talk about them tomorrow."
"uhu. Go on."
"Yeea OK. Here goes.

"Why did all the old poets,
Rumi, Mirabai and Gibran
Sit on sand all alone?
Alone with just their pipe.
Why did they not consult
All the village elders
The pandits down the road
Or poetry for Dummies?
No, they wrote because they loved
They loved what they embraced
And what they longed to touch
A stone, a table or a woman's cheek.
Only love can make you write
Not flashing quasars and space-time theories
No Latin words with multi-syllables
No only themes about which you can dream."

I faintly heard her sleepy voice. "Well you can't write about me."
"Oh. Why not?"
"Because you can't embrace me."
I burst out laughing."Oh I know about your knife. The good news is I gave you something to ponder over."
Her voice was very soft by now. "Good night, teacher."
I drew myself up on my elbows and bent over to look at her. I thought that she looked kind of cute lying there so vulnerable yet trusting.Then I lay down and was soon asleep.

When she eventually poked her head out of the tent the next morning I was already making coffee.Her look was one of mixed anger and panic. I tried to be sympathetic.
"Oh I see that you're not a morning person."
She grabbed my shirt rather forcefully. "Did you touch me last night? Did you?"
"Wow. Why do you ask? Don't you know?"
"Did you or didn't you? I want to know what happened."
"Nothing happened, my dear. But you look terrible. Here, better have some coffee."
"Where can I wash?"
"First we'll have to find a river. But here. Take the last water and wash your face."
"So, what's for breakfast. I'm really starving."
"Oh yes. Here it is. Energy bar au natura. Have one. Enjoy it. There's no more."
"You didn't bring more? There's no food?"
"So what kind of cross country hiker are you?"
"I didn't plan this adventure. It just happened. Look Alisha. Go and eat your much maligned bar over their on that log and I'll bring you some more coffee."

"Listen to me carefully Alisha. Drink in my words." I smiled as I said that. "To be a poet you must believe in yourself. But totally. No half believing, you hear.You don't believe in me...or any other teacher. Only in yourself."
"OK OK but what are we going to eat later on? Tell me that Mr. Teacher."
"Just keep quiet for a moment. Close your eyes and concentrate. Try to believe. Know that you will eat. Visualise a plate of hot food right in front of you. Learn to do this because one day you'll sit in front of a table and you'll know for sure that you'll write a wonderful poem."
"I'm sorry but that sounds totally weird to me."
"Wait. Do you remember Peter? Do you remember that magnificent moment when he walked on water? Then when the first doubts entered his mind he immediately sank down to his ears in the sea. Remember?"
I folded up the tent into a very small parcel and packed everything away in my pack. Then I looked at her and smiled. "Come let's find some water and wash ourselves. Let's go and swim somewhere."
I began to walk away between the trees. I could sense that she was close behind me. When we heard the river we both gave a shout of joy and began running.It was a beautiful sight. A large pool, a small waterfall and some picturesque rocks. It was a stunning sight for two tired and unwashed hikers.I looked around and saw a suitable bank on the other side of the river. I saw that the river was knee deep and there were many treacherous looking rocks in the water. Alisha was watching me anxiously."What?"
"We have to go to the other side."
"What? That's dangerous. One can fall there and break a leg." I nodded my head in total agreement. "Come give me your shoes and that pretty little waistcoat." She saw the look in my eyes and didn't protest. I shoved them deep into her pack. Then I put both her pack and mine on my back. Then with one sudden swoop I picked her up and stepped into the river. We were near the other side when I saw it. It was awe inspiring. It was unique. A King Trout. Few people on earth had ever seen sight like that. I saw that it was trapped. I was standing in the opening in a ring of rocks. I knew then that I could catch it.

My next action was absolutely unforgivable but what does one do in a dire emergency? Well I dropped her in the water and made a grab for the catch of the season. I felt my fingers closing around his heaving body and I felt his powerful struggling. At last, it was firmly in my grip and I turned triumphantly towards Alisha. As I looked at her I saw her expression change from total shock to furious indignation. I looked at her, back to the fish, and back to her again. Then I knelt down in the water next to her and extended the trout towards her. I did it as a nurse would hold out a new born baby to the mother. "Hold it Alisha. Don't be afraid. It's your wriggling fish. Hold it and you'll become a poet. I told you that and now you have your chance. Isn't life wonderful?" It must have been the look on my face but she burst out laughing. She sounded like the carillon bells in a medieval city. She reached out and tentatively touched the scaly skin. "Come. Put your hands around it. Hold it. Hold it tight. Don't be afraid. I'll help you. Hold it and become a poet." With a feeling of deep regret I killed the fish. Then I packed clay around it and dug a shallow hole. I put the clay form in the hollow. I packed wood in an open space next to it and made a fire. Once I had scraped the glowing coals over the clay ball I winked at Alisha. "Now we're going to swim. This baking will take a half hour."
I had trunks in my pack and she had spare underwear.After the refreshing swim, fresh, clean and starving we broke open the clay shape.It was a meal to savour and never to be forgotten.
While we tasted each morsel with pure delight I began to speak to her. "There's another thing that a poet must know. It's the devastating power of the misunderstood word." In between chewing and swallowing she managed to say a few words. "What's that. What's a misunderstood word. Doesn't it happen all the time?"

Birds (c) John Murphy

Part 4

"When you read prose or poetry and you come across a word that you don't understand.
That's a misunderstood."
"Give me an example."
"Hmmm...let's take some crazy word...like sanctofilomancy."
"Oh hell. You got me there. What kind of word is that? I'll have to look it up."
"Aha. There's the rub. Must you read with a dictionary permanently at your side? What about if you're in a park without a reference book in sight."
"Oh I'd just skip that word and go on."
"And that's just where the trouble would begin. Only your eyes would be moving on. Your brain, your intellect, would be in a feverish turmoil. All your neuro-transmitters and your synapses would be milling around trying to identify that word. They want it to be understood and filed somewhere. That's how the brain works."
"So how do these neuro things work?"
"Well, first they'll look at sancto. They'll try and connect it with sanctity or sanctimonious. Then in a panic the brain will try and identify filomancy. It'll say what the hell is this? Is it something to do with sons and daughters?"

"So the mind goes into a stare of frantic activity?"
"Yes, you've got that right. At this time your eyes will be on Page 2 already but your mind is still obsessing with that one word."
"So what?"
"Don't you see. You're reading on and on but you're not understanding anything. You're going to get bored. In a minute you're going to feel sleepy."
"OK. I think this is what you're saying. Use simple words. Fairly well known words. Perhaps a challenging word here and there but not every two lines or so. Am I right? You must do KISS. Keep it simple stupid."
I burst out laughing. She's quite funny sometimes, I thought.
"Remember what that great poet Wordsworth said. Be simple and sincere."
"Gotcha Dinel. You've made your point."

As we walked between the trees, I saw a Wild Apple tree. I immediately took her hand and gently pulled her towards it. Then I looked at her.
"Do you want to write great poetry? Yes?'
"Yes, of course. That's the general idea."
I took her two hands and rubbed them over the rough bark.
"Feel that Alisha. That's real. That's not an abstract fantasy. That's not a pseudo-intellectual vagueness. It's real. It's life. It's God's gift."
She moved her hands over the surface and almost hugged the tree. As she did so I bent forward and whispered into her ear.
"Now Alisha. Now you could write a poem. A real singing soaring poem. Remember this when you're in that college, will you?"
She nodded her head as she kept looking at the tree.

I could see the road in the distance, about three km away.
"We're nearly there Alisha. Let's rest for a while. Go and sit here on that rock.. There's something that I want to emphasize before we go on."
She looked at him with a curiosity in her eyes,
"Do you remember this morning when you were so hungry? What did I say to you?"
She looked up at the sky and stretched her arms heavenwards. Then she sighed.
"You said that I must close my eyes and that I must believe. I had to clearly visualise what ever it was that I wanted."
"So did you?"
"Oh yes. I did. I visualised food and food and more food."
I found myself laughing. I knew that she was playing the fool but I also knew that she was beginning to understand something.
"And did you get your wish?"
She cocked her head and looked sideways at me.
"How come that you know all this?"
I looked down at my fingers and then at her.

"Do you remember when you were eight? How bright and spiritual you were? When you could so easily paint and dance and even tell your father all about the stars. When you knew that the story of Ali Baba was true and when you knew exactly what Camelot looked like?"
She laughed and nodded her head eagerly.
"Yes, I remember that. Everything was possible. I could walk along the top of a high brick wall without any fear."
"Yes, that's it. You know exactly what I mean. Well, I stayed that way. I grew up but I kept all that self belief right here."
As I spoke I pointed to my heart. She stared at me but I knew that she wasn't seeing me.
She was seeing something else. Something deep down inside of her. I walked up to her and pulled her up by her hands.
"Come. I've seen the road. We're nearly there. It's time to move on."
She looked at me a little strangely, shrugged her shoulders nonchalantly and then began to walk.
When we got to the dirt road, we stood next to it for a while. We looked at the road. we looked at each other and we looked at the road again.
"Alisha, this is where we part company. Your college is just around that bend over there. You're 10 minutes from your destination."
I noticed how large her eyes had become.
"And you? Where are you going?"
"I'm going the other way. There's a small village 3 km down the road. My mother lives there. It's her birthday tomorrow. I have to be with her."
While keeping her eyes fixed on me, she waved her hand towards the forest that we had just passed through.
"And all that?"
"That was a magical event. Unplanned. A happening. A moment to treasure. A bond."
She nodded her head slowly.
"Well there's one thing. When I'm in the college, I won't have to visualise my food every morning."
That observation was really amusing. We both laughed...but just as suddenly stopped.

"Dinel, please tell me. What do we do now?"
"Turn around Alisha and start walking. Don't look back. Walk into your new life. Learn about esoterics. About life in the Elysian Fields. Practise your alliterations and your metaphors. Become what you wish. The world is now yours."
"And you? What about you?"
"I'll stand here and watch you until you disappear. Then I'll go to the village."

When I returned to my apartment in the city life had changed.
My mother had begun to phone me every evening and sometimes during the day. The mobile that I'd given her on her birthday had become her most treasured and most used possession.
One evening, as we chatted about what I had eaten, whether I was dressing warmly and about an aunt that lived in Poland, she casually mentioned that she had a new friend. Someone that spent weekends with her. I said something like "that's nice."
"My son, something puzzles me. Did you tell her that a wriggling fish would teach her to write poetry?"
My heart skipped a beat or two and I kind of blurted out "Yes Mama. I told Alisha that."
"Oh yes. That's her name. I've become so forgetful, you know."
"That's OK Mama."
"Did you also tell her that she must hug a Wild Apple tree?"
"Yes Mama, I did. But it doesn't have to be a Wild Apple. Any tree will do."
"Hmmm I see. You know that she told me something else that was very strange."
"And what was that?"
"She said that she had visualised that you would come to visit me next week. I thought that it was a very strange thing to say. What did she mean by that, my son?"
I was silent for what seemed like an eternity.
"Mama, it means that I will come to visit you next week."

- copyright Fred Hose

'Earth and Mars every 60,000 years' - acrylic,tempera,oil on canvas
2003 (c) Amanda Sage


If the dream persists, the one
where you are standing
uttering nothing and
I am trying to take your photo,
we might stand like that
for all eternity,
me praising your corn-colored hair
the straightness of your spine
your eyes quivering in the light.

Where is God
but in a dream where
the light between us, always yellow,
yields like sunlight
never fading into oblivion,
even after you open your mouth,
I am done with the photograph and
speech begins.

copyright Linda Benninghoff

Goddess of the Starry Night

(c) Leland Auslender, all rights reserved

(for Kala Snowflower)

Magical child, the world awaits you

Not just this place,
any world you care to grace,
relate to, turn your lovely face to.

"We love you"
sing the winds, the seas,
the creatures large and small
"We love you always"

Singing and dancing long into the night,
you turn it into day.
Play that haunting melody.
It moves you into dance,
into a chance to name your trance,
to name us all
as we dance before your eyes.
The skies will dance for you,
will open wide their hearts of stars.
Sparkling through the night,
Shining into day.
You play.
All of creation dances to your song.
We dance with you,
creating worlds of joy.

(c) Laurie Corzett/libramoon

Heart Copyright Carolion 2005

Secret Language

Moving into your music
Imagined emotion lilting, lifting, aligning.
Two children sharing secrets,
shifting about in our starched clothing,
hard, separating seats.
In our secret language
buzzing bees are harnessing wildflowers
dragonflies suit up blades shining
roaring into magnificent heroics.
A gentle stream, caressing
slick marbled stone
and faery moss
catches up glints of
pirated treasures, ice sculptures,
fossilized fire.
Our tongues lap easily
over silly syllables,
tricky consonants
clicking, tickling our teeth.
Inside our innocent eyes
laughter ignites memories
unembraced by words.

(c) March 20, 2006 Laurie Corzett

Ritual (c) Joel Moore

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