Talking To The White Goddess - Part Four
Heavyweight Stars Light Up Nebula NGC 6357, NASA
© Copyright 1999 A. S. Kline All Rights Reserved
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Love is just a dying
a sweetness and a sighing.
A transient of light,
love is, in the night.
Love is just a dying,
the descant of that song
we cannot suffer long,
the closeness, the denying.
Love is just a dying.
Love is just a dying,
the mystery's untying.
A miracle of light
are lovers in the night.
Love is just a dying.
I climbed with secret heart on fire,
bright winds of night
that bring the light.
Sweet flowers of May,
now are gone silently away,
Pure winds of night
from our deep fears give us respite.
In Ardour's tower
at midnight's hour.
Flower of the hawthorn.
Shoulder of moonlight.
Shoulder of the holly.
Silver of moonlight.
Silver of the birch-tree.
Fountain of moonlight.
Fountain of the willow.
Shadow of moonlight.
Shadow of the alder.
Secret of moonlight.
Secret of the apple.
Sweetness of moonlight.
Sweetness of the rowan.
Delight of the moonlight.
Delight of the hazel.
Wisdom of moonlight.
Wisdom of the reed.
Spirit of moonlight.
Spirit of the poplar.
Slenderness of moonlight.
Slenderness of aspen.
Whiteness of moonlight.
Whiteness of the blackberry.
Beauty of moonlight.
Little hazel-bush by the deep pool.
Little tree of wisdom over clear water.
I will remember you for ever.
Sweetness and grace and the knowledge of pity.
Little hazel-tree in the green silence.
Little tree of wisdom over still water.
Love is the fire that wraps us round.
Love is the flame that sears the ground.
Love is the light that blinds the eye.
Love is the pyre on which we lie.
Love is the shirt of pain that burns,
the unbearable knife, the body that yearns.
Love is the maker, love is the form,
love is the reed in the howling storm.
Love is the river, love is the night,
love is the sea, love has the right.
Love is the talon that descends.
Love is the guardian, love is the friend.
Love is the unattained desire.
Love is the jealous eye. Love is the liar.
Love is the music, love is the rhyme,
love is the final hostage of time.
Love is the dark fire, Eden's fall.
Love is the light, that raises all.
Bird On Briar
(An Anonymous Lyric From The Medieval English)
Bird on briar, Bird, Bird on briar,
Nature comes of love, love to crave.
Careless bird, for me, for me have care,
or make you, fair, for me, make me my grave.
I am so careless-bright, bird on briar,
when I see that fair hind, hind in hall.
She is white of limb, lovely, true.
She is fair and flower, flower of all.
Might I her willing, willing, have,
faithful of love, lovely, true,
from my pain I might, I might be saved,
joy and bliss were for, were for me new.
Heart Be Still
Heart be still, heart, heart be still,
never returning , mind, returning.
Life of the will, make, life of will,
not of body, of body's burning.
Her form fills the eye, eye on fire.
She is lustre, of lustre, bright.
She is all of joy, joy's desire,
light of dark sea, dark of night.
Mind be still, mind, mind be still,
light on the mountain, mountain moving.
Cloud on the hill, cloud, cloud on hill,
love in the mind, love, ever-loving.
Mermaid slipped through the dark wave
courting danger, always leaping,
throwing yourself to the other side of being.
Open the black hill for me, the high fall,
the peat's depth, the sad lough, the bath of the sun.
Open the side of the dark slope for me,
the heart's pool, the deep waters.
Give me the shadow lane, the copse, the dumb thicket
where the blackbird flies.
In the teeth of the wind from your homeland,
show me your mermaid-hair wet with the sea, the leaping, the dying.
Cry out the spell for me, hazel-bush, may-thorn,
white in the blossom, lost, bound by air's silence.
Call the deep drowning.
See if the heart can bear
touch that is light as fire
beyond all thought or care,
lips of a sweet desire.
Once to the heart it comes,
burns the mind as it dumbs,
once and then not again,
touch that is ache and pain.
See if the body holds
touch that is pure as gold,
over the hands and hair,
body of love's despair.
See if the heart can keep
touch that is lost in sleep
further than furthest light
of the mind's dark goodnight.
To each, giving, generous, lovely, not to one only.
To others speaking her secrets of utterance, never uniquely.
To each merciful, pitying, renewing, repeating.
To all various, hidden, wild, concealing.
Of each indiscriminate, taking her lovers, coldly.
Over all, victorious, tyrannous, tender, yielding.
Beyond each, careless, wondering, unsurprised.
To each cruel, gentle, fierce, demanding,
spreading her favours, asking , taking, needing,
mocking jealousy, pleasured, from all receiving,
owning with each enacting, soothing, sating,
goading each, driving, bleeding, tormenting.
From each learning, all knowing, seeing,
true, easy, wordless, unsated, pliant.
In each trusting, to each holding, defenceless,
defended by magic, sowing. By each held sacred,
by each honoured, cursed, cried out on, embittering.
Over each arching, under each cradling,
into each flowing, beyond each sighing.
From each distant, warmest to least known,
turning on nearest, declivities revealing.
From each asking, thanking, wishing, gifts
piled forgotten, wealth vanishing ,crushing,
drawing the core, dragging the root, spending.
To each one faithful, faithless, impartial, smiling,
each one absorbing, holding, lying, watching dying.
From each learning the spell, then binding,
in each finding the vision, then blinding.
Mermaid of mirage, sybil's echo,
white-browed, gold-haired, red-lipped, long-fingered.
For each the one voice, various, compelling,
innocent, loving, darkness, disaster ,dispelling,
all fears, curses, hexes on wise men, wild
for her nature's places, earth's swelling.
By each charmed, shafts of her full quiver, giving
tremor, unsigned testament of her lightning.
Naked, incalculable, cautious, bold,
moon-opposite, sun-quencher, star-delayer,
serving hope, stirring envy, raising from chagrin,
the dumbfounded lover. Unreasoning, proud
of her lunar resilience, controlling, commanding
of all her elements, aspects, figures, childish then woman,
touching the infant, granting leave, witholding,
restless, poured out, relinquished, flowing.
From each asking the universe, yielding the earth.
To each returning stillness, choice, by his will,
bloodied, bloodless, leafy, lit, be-flowered,
intense and momentary, easeful, eternal.
From whom the silence, night, and the deep wood,
the word of unknowing, the white-limbed whispering.
From whom inscrutable truth, blind life, the hidden face.
(From the 9th Century Irish - treochair metre)
in caingen do-rigénus;
nech ro-charus ro-cráidius.
No joy for us,
in that deep vow I made for us,
cruel to what was precious.
except god came between us then,
I'd given what he asked of me.
he takes the road, away from me,
pain now, but then eternity.
to turn that heart towards distress,
where once I showed such gentleness.
who time gone loved Cuirithir,
nor can deny the cherished man.
I still will bless
the time that I was at his side
and treated him with tenderness.
The wind-filled trees
were my pure song with Cuirithir,
and movement on the sunlit seas.
Then, so it seemed,
no crueller thing could ever be,
than to wake us, where we dreamed.
Call out to him,
that if this heart loved any one
more than all others, it was him.
For me the pain ,
of what's inside, the hurt and strain,
losing him - never whole again.
the world crushes.
Briar, rose of the thorns,
Adapted from the Gaelic
You are whiter than the swan is,
you are whiter than the gull is,
you are whiter than the snow is,
you are whiter than the sky.
You're the whiteness of the rowan,
that subdues every anger.
You're the white foam of the ebb-tide.
You're the white waves of the flood-tide.
White star in the grass,
mattress of stars,
by the blackberry root,
by briar-white of blackberry.
Star by the thorn.
White star by the fern.
White straw of stars,
four-fold petal-form, six-leafed
flower of the turf.
Star, star, on star,
smaller than eyes, eye bright.
White star, white star, star in the grass.
Part, to be part,
to be part of this.
White star in the grass.
Drowned by love, remember she is moon-led,
mistress of invocations, jealousies, expert in delay,
drawing tides in from her first slender arc
to the white full, weaver of shows,
scattering radiance, matching the light she yields
to how the gold of sun shines on her,
discriminate in angers, engendering illusions
to bring all to her subtle ease and calms.
Buried by fire, remember these are her ways,
immanence, rightness, fury, time-driven transience,
deaf to entreaties, then relenting, mask-wearing,
savourer of subjections, waiting tribute,
giving random play, spreading nets gently,
noosing tightly, in show of love, in rare deceit,
cooling, then warming, watching the nest of rivals
fight to outdo each other, in the grass.
Blown in the air, remember her beguiling.
Leasing the night, losing all common kindness
is part of her masque, her mistrust of words
not of her silence out of which words are born.
Live on hope unpromised, vows unmade,
signs lost in the stream.
Buried deep, a dead man, remember
her seasons of light and her seasons of darkness.
Nothing new the cold sweat at her deceptions,
liaisons, pain of the knowing and the not-knowing.
She is awareness, sower of dreams, maker of hesitations,
merciless in all counter-recriminations,
yielding inside refusal, a vortex of light and air.
Dead man remember, all elements are hers.
She exhibits in white flowers and leaf-dark trees,
the triangular hill, the briared and berried lane,
is white-thorn and the purple line of furrows,
shadow of hedges, smell of festering ditches,
wood-sorrel, meadow-sweet, the burnet-rose.
Glittering she is light-shreds over alien fields.
Her birds flight the shadows above white rock.
She waits at the gate, by doorways, in the corners
of unprotected, unspent spaces, astonishes,
is joy, the strangeness that stares out from nature
through visionary angle. She is the source's impulse,
the spring from stones, and is absence, stillness,
less than nothing, the worn and unworn threshold,
the new and un-new moon. She shows herself
in seasons, surprises silence, in dark of nettle,
in sea of furze, bends down as birch, shivers in aspen.
She is three ways, three trees, three parts of the year,
her name is of three letters, air and light move,
where she turns her head, earth and water
where she takes in her lovers.
On the rock of silence
you sit, your hands are bright.
In the mirror of silence
white gleams, red burns, gold glistens.
One claims your comb,
your skin, your hair in the light.
You murmur of spray that appears, slopes that shine.
You fill spaces, empty them, light as a wave.
They yield to you soft mouths of whiteness,
the salt-urns bitter with brine.
The dark stone weeps with fire.
They are ploughing your shining furrows.
On the rock of silence,
you sit, your hands are bright.