In the Murmur of After, or Before

In the Murmur of After, or Before

Purple rocks–
a thousand dreams
lost and re-born
in a thousand storms—

what if one night
they set sail,
dazzling word-ships
flinging images to bob
like seals in waves of time—

moon-lichen, star-birds,
talking fish, and sea-flowers–
meadows filled with smiling daffodils,
and lovers, standing on bridges
that lead nowhere and everywhere.

My poem from the Oracle, and also the first Na/GloPoWriMo prompt from the Public Domain Review’s article on “The Art of Book Covers.” My poem, obviously, has nothing to do with the book itself.

Songs of Always

Odilon Redon, Orpheus (c.1903-1910)

Songs of Always

Black-blown sky to blue–
the music-seer asks
if dreams are the ships we sail at night
on purple-shadowed seas,
and what are the songs the rocks sing?

He has known storms,
and rain like honey,
sweet with the scent of roses,

he has death-wandered,
emerged to witness
a sparkle-symphony above,
now he whispers love-ballads and lullabies,
star-breathed tunes of time-dazzlers, the rhythms of what is and what might be.

My poem from the Oracle, who, of course, knows the myths of many cultures. Readers sometimes wonder if the image or poem came first. In this case, it was a combination. The Oracle gave me words and phrases, black-blown and blue, if dreams, storms, honey, etc. I used “fiddler” in the my first draft, but as I was writing, the poem seemed to be about Orpheus, so I changed it to music-seer.

March Aubade

La Naissance de Vénus ( The Birth of Venus ), pastel painting by Odilon Redon ( c. 1912 )

March Aubade

Light like music
the sky sings–
now the fiddler recalls the pink
beneath the crows-wings-clouds,
and you watch the water gleam

far from the madding crowd,
feathers fluff, waves ripple,
nature’s extravagant beauty
in each tiny thing a thousand times,

asking if, but
you watch the moon smile
and settle onto the river like a ship–
now the shadowed rocks turn rosy,
a key change, the morning song rising.

My message from the Oracle. This one came right away.

The Women who Wait

Odilon Redon, Illuminated Flower

The Women Who Wait

If I need you,
will you come,
with love-put light
to drive away the smell
of man-sweat and boy-blood?

Here, the storms whip
and the shadows moan
black beneath the blue,
but I ask for—not so much—
roses under a peach sun,
the lifeline of sea, its sparkle, and
the whisper of wind in my hair,
telling me you are coming home.

My poem from the Oracle. I thought at first she wanted me to write about Penelope, but she wanted the message to include women everywhere throughout time.

Dream Whispers

Franz Marc, Träeumendes Pferd

Dream Whispers

After the storm,
scents swim through
the sparkling air,
ignored on rocks, suffuses skin,
the golden apples of the sun, fragrant

in the blueberry sky,
all in harmony, but for
a thousand tiny ifs–

yet, ask,
then ask again
for dawn’s pink light
the flow of honeyed, peach-fuzzed air,
the garden of delights where azure horses dream.

My message from the Oracle. She knows what fascinates me.

Whispers Beyond

Profile of a Woman in the Window by Odilon Redon, 1905-09, pastel on cardboard

Whispers Beyond

I dream in moon-murmurs,
a language smooth and cool
as rain, and if I try, I understand
its meaning,

how after-aches, like storms, bring
a luscious curtain of mist, that once raised
reveals bare boughs, newly clothed in sparkling diamonds,
while shadows dance beneath

still and full of movement,
like a thought, there, gone, twinkling
from beyond–the light of dead stars
time whispers, an endless sea.

My message from the Oracle. It took a bit of work. I’ve had a couple of strange days, and I am catching up on posts and comments.

And We Sail On

Odilon Redon, Flower Clouds

And We Sail On

These memories,
gowned in blue, where the sun
tosses her honeyed locks and smiles?
All a dream of moon-mist and fiddles?

No, you gave me chocolates
wrapped in love. I gave you words
that bloom like roses, scenting
a summer night. Lingering

like the final notes of a symphony,
carried in both head and heart,
if we let them. Still water and shining sea.
All the light shadowing time—
and we sail on.

The Oracle made me work for this one! Today is my husband’s birthday. I couldn’t write a poem that was sad or angry, as some of her words suggested, but she also kept giving me chocolate and rose and smell. . .

Aboard the Time Ship, Still Sailing

Odilon Redon (1840 – 1916),  La Voile jaune (The Yellow Sail)

Aboard the Time Ship, Still Sailing

Am I mad to think
I could stop time,
as crushed rose petals linger
honey-sweet in the night,

if I breathe the scent,
I remember—not mad—
I hear the whispers, a dream-ache
from the stars,

the after-light of tomorrow,
the past glimpsed today,

we together, us
with summer still within,
a song of peach and lemon,
the drumbeat of waves—
not yet and always, ebb and flow.

My message from the Oracle. I suppose I am thinking of the passage of time. The Oracle always knows—today is my older child’s birthday. Our younger child’s birthday was earlier in the week. My husband’s birthday is coming up. A lot of birthdays over the years.

Venus on the Rocks

La Naissance de Vénus ( The Birth of Venus ), pastel painting by Odilon Redon ( c. 1912 )

Venus on the Rocks

Ask about the drunk goddess–
hair and gown of lathered mist,
no lie—she rose from water
a shimmering, thorned flower, almost eternal.

As the sky sleeps,
the woman wants you
to recall sprays of purple and bitter rust
but the wind moans, I am your mother. Listen.

The sea urged her on,
that is what her friends said,
caught between red-petaled love and shadows below,
she dove. Submerged in a forgotten dream.

The raw rocks have hard milky faces—
but watch—they tell time
in whispered pink, sweet always or never,
siren songs for sailors, symphony in a storm.

Beneath the fiddler’s notes,
you wonder if you understand–
this is moon-language falling like rain,
blood-beauty swimming from the blue, unattainable, but known.

My message from the Oracle. Maybe a cadralor?

Tree of Dreams

Odilon Redong, Woman Sleeping Under a Tree

Tree of Dreams

There is an ancient tree
in a secret garden,
white blossoms like pearls adorn
her arms as she reaches to touch
sun and moon.

Here bangs and booms become bird-trills,
each day beats with a new rhythm
green tendrils climb in harmony
and the air is scented with promise.

Ask if I am here,
and I may answer,
this is a place of dreams
caught between bee-breaths
and the falling of a rose petal,
the last echo of violin, a tremolo
in the night. The place where time
is both a wing-flap and endless flight.

The Oracle made me work for this one. I used tiles from two sets, merged, revised, revised again. . .But I guess she approves—because I found the Redon painting above to go with my poem.

I’m sharing this with dVerse Open Link Night.