For the creative project I chose to compose a collection of poems to present to the class and wider program community as a recital and a printed booklet. During the course of the year I have written about two dozen pieces, more or less related to materials ad ideas explored through the MA. I selected eight that were the most direct responses and memorised them for the presentation. In terms of creative praxis, the process can be expressed as comprising two parts: the act of composition and the reflective tropos, bringing the poems from the realm of the subjective to the ‘universal’ audience.
THREE POEMS FROM
Reaching out with eye of mind
I grasp the stars and hold
their images as mirror
to constellations of my soul
As a poet sees the link
between the moon and dreams
so divine imagination may
discern the stitches and the seams
The gods that steer this wheeling arc
weave patterns, signs, designs:
webs are spun in cosmic silk
and are echoed in our lives
To lay against celestial maps
the lines that form my path
is to spin a thread between
my psyche and the stars.
Sophia is a bird
glimpsed through the trees
She calls me to follow
without knowing where she leads
Sometimes I find feathers
fallen in the leaves
Hints and signs to guide me
to remind me to believe
Searching for knowledge,
for light in my mind,
Looking for elusive truth
for clear and wiser sight
(Though a part of me grasps
the goal is not the gold;
That gifts of love along the way
are the true treasures to hold)
Sophia is a word
whispered in my heart
Framing silent questions
I have no words to ask
Her flight traces my own longing
both need and source of all I seek;
The song of love and joy and grief –
the silence and the speech.
An Apple for the Goddess
I have brought an apple for the goddess.
It is autumn and the generous earth
has brought forth her promised harvest.
Under the innocence of a light blue sky,
I slip with the day through usual streets
to the skirting of town, out beyond
the edges of domesticity and commerce,
drawn towards green spaces by birdsong.
The energy in my fingertips knows
the day has quietly changed: still ordinary
yet transmuted; somehow retaining
simple facts like the sound of my footsteps
and grass seeds clinging to my skirt
while a secret shift stirs the life in things
and everything hints at holiness
I carry a bowl, some water;
a few small familiar talismans and
this perfect, heart-shaped apple.
These simple, solid things, once arranged
on the grass gain significance, wait patiently
while I invite the sacred to infuse them.
And this is the mystery: that the ordinary
can be a vessel, to be filled by – what?
Spirit; power; an energy one might call grace.
So used to apples, it is easy to forget
they contain a universal secret,
hold in their flesh miraculous life:
the five-fold geometry of generation,
of season, cycle, transformation.
The day, now full of numinous air,
sings in my chest, uses my lungs,
the hum of magic coursing in my blood.
As I offer her what already belongs,
what she has already given,
I realise the apple is a vessel
bearing my true, hidden gift:
I bring the goddess acknowledgement,
gratitude, this small gesture of return.
Although I write poems for many reasons, the deepest cause lies in the processes of inspiration; life is a multi-coloured gift being ceaselessly given, we are fed in the forms of not only food but relationships, experiences and ideas. It is as if something speaks to us in a complex language of image and thought and we are invited to answer. I imagine a kind of cosmic hermeneutics in which all our expressions are responses to the astonishing phenomenon of existence. The “gesture of return” is the fruit of our considered answers; the seeds are planted in our psyches as concepts, events, a painting once seen or music heard, and we take them inside us and germinate them. What grows can then be offered back to the cosmos to become a seed for something else, a planted idea or image that is taken in elsewhere and sprouted.
The ritual of offerings can be a way of expressing gratitude for all the offerings given to us; in this case the archetype of the goddess represents the manifest world of creation and generation, the autumn harvest of crops a sacred gift from her to us. The props and objects that are given spiritual significance during ritual has the wider metaphysical implication of the sanctity of matter; that inherently everything has the capacity for being the vessel of the numinous: it all depends on our participation.