The poem about Minoa
wasn’t about Minoa only.
A mystery word.
Not mother of Minoa,
medicines of Minoa
magic of Minoa.
any of these
I’ll stash them someplace.
For the event, in the event, of requiring
a possible, future
Inspired poetry, regarded as a vital skill of the pagan Celtic seer, fits in with the shamanistic tenet that one must bring back any information gained from the Otherworlds to benefit the people.
One challenge to this is that visions wildly pouring forth while in deep trance can easily be forgotten during the return to ordinary waking consciousness.
They are much more likely to be retained and recalled for later use when placed in some sort of pattern which the cognitive mind can hold onto.
Through the uses of rhyme, alliteration, meter, repetition and tune to this end, the crafts of music and poetry became intimately connected with magical practice and otherworldly power and knowledge in the Celtic world.
Besides voicing deep and otherwise hidden wisdom gained while in an altered state, bards used sound to harm, heal, and alter moods and probability.
Poetry and music were not considered beaux-arts to the pagan Celts, but tools of raw magical power.
Scorching satirical poetry known as the briarmon smetrach was intended to ‘puncture’ and to publicly destroy reputations.
Well-aimed, the poetic form known as glam dicin was used to drive out rats and to disfigure or even kill an opponent.
The Irish cattle-rustling epic Tain bo Cualgne describes the bardic warfare employed by Queen Medb against her enemy Fer Diad:
Then Medb sent the Druids and satirists and harsh bards for Fer Diad, that they might make against him three satires to stay him and three lampoons, and that they might raise on his face three blisters, shame, blemish and disgrace, so that he might die before the end of nine days if he did not succumb at once (Kinsella 1969).
Bardic incantations could also be used to end hostilities. Diodorus Siculus observed this magical use of sound in the late 1st-century B.C.E.:
Frequently when armies confront one another in line of battle with swords drawn and spears thrust forward, these men intervene and cause them to stop, just as though they were holding some wild animal spellbound with their chanting. (Diodorus Siculus 31, 2-5, as cited in Ireland, p. 181).
Tacitus describes the effect of this weaving of enchantment against Roman invaders on the Isle of Mona in 60 A.D.:
On the shore stood the opposing army with its dense array of armed warriors, while between the ranks dashed women in black attire round the Druids, lifting up their hands to heaven and pouring forth dreadful imprecations, scared our soldiers by the unfamiliar sight so that, as if their limbs were paralyzed, they stood motionless and exposed to wounds. (Tacitus, AnnalsXIV, 30)
Finally, bardic powers could also be used to heal – as when a master harper restored speech to the dumb prince Maon through his music.
The small harp was often employed by bards as a magical tool.
Part of the Celtic harper’s toolkit was working knowledge of the Adbhan Trireach or ‘Three Noble Strains,’ attributed to the chants for childbirth sung by the god/spirit Dagda’s harp Uaithne.
Each Strain was not only entertainment but a form of enchantment: ‘Sorrow-‘ or ‘Lament-Strain’, which could reduce listeners to tears; ‘Joy-Strain’, which could turn tears to laughter; and ‘Sleep-Strain’, which could soothe listeners’ hearts into deep sleep.
Gaining songs of power from spirits is a common element occurring in many shamanistic cultures.
Text above from the section Druidic and Bardic Powers of Enchantment in Celtic Shamanism: Pagan Celtic Spirituality by Tina Fields, Ph.D https://indigenize.wordpress.com/about/spiritual-ecopsychology/celtic-shamanism/
My digital manipulation of source material is intended for purposes of commentary & creative pastiche/creating a new work incorporated with original art & based upon Marilyn Monroe Reading Ulysses, Long Island, New York, 1954. Photo by Eve Arnold.
Original photo by Eve Arnold as well as information about Marilyn Monroe’s reading habits and book collection can be found at http://www.booktryst.com/2010/10/marilyn-monroe-avid-reader-writer-book.html
After visiting the JMW Turner exhibition for a second time at the Art Gallery of Ontario and wading through the busloads of students and groups of seniors from retirement/nursing homes I realized how fortunate I had been on Friday night when the place was half deserted. Possibly half full.
Again I am reminded of Turner’s grey. Vanishing yet insistent. Drawing the eye. Drawing the eye into. Possibly even halfway in.
Sometimes one is drawn by the air of an unexplored territory. Or summoned by insistent mystery. Summoned halfway into a vanishing mystery.
I focus on the brilliant whites in Turner’s work, and escape the crush, wandering into a drawing exhibition pulled from the print & drawing vaults.
Three of the works refresh anew my dilemma. I think of the Judge’s black robes.
I join a raiding party. The Captain’s name is Font. His horse is called Halfway.
The raiding party does not solve my crisis. Nevertheless I raise the end of a burnt stick from the fire.
Marking the edge of the law. My declaration marking the edge of the law.
There is no natural boundary to the embedded law of intended consequence.
Another edge must roll it back to where it came from. Or swallow it. Leaving its bones along the trail.
The edge of the sun!
The ambers, and whites, and Naples Yellow in Turner’s sky, radiating with silent resolution.
Let me tell you a story about Naples Yellow.
I visited an artist one night many years ago.
There are many stories to tell about that night but I will tell you this one.
When I was leaving, at the bottom of the stairs, the artist began talking about Naples Yellow.
And did not stop.
The artists, the art periods, the art movements involved with Naples Yellow.
The secret uses of Naples Yellow, The powers of Naples Yellow, the magic of Naples Yellow.
Perhaps Naples Yellow can solve my dilemma.
Every street was Italian
the inks on my map blotched and ran
the motorways rose and fell like roller coasters
singing choruses from I Pagliacci.
German and English signs
had been broken and tossed aside.
Gargoyles on buildings dressed in suits
money managers amok
commandeered red double-deck buses from
their streetcar tracks.
I was driving a taxi full of hit-men
who were expecting me to get them quickly to
and to avoid the carabinieri.
Chris Pannell’s latest poetry book is A Nervous City (Wolsak and Wynn, 2013). This title recently won the Kerry Schooley Book Award from the Hamilton Arts Council. In 2010, his book Drive won the Acorn-Plantos People’s Poetry Prize and the Arts Hamilton Poetry Book of the Year.
From 1993 to 2005 he ran the new writing workshop and published two anthologies of work by that group.
He has a book of poetry forthcoming in 2016 called How We Came to Pass. He is a former board member of the gritLIT Writers Festival and a former DARTS bus driver. He hosts and helps organize the monthly Hamilton reading series Lit Live.
Forget every idea of right and wrong
any classroom ever taught you
an empty heart, a tormented mind,
Unkindness, jealousy and fear are always the testimony
you have been completely fooled!
Turn your back on those
who would imprison your wondrous spirit
with deceit and lies.
Come, join the honest company
of the King’s beggars –
those gamblers, scoundrels and divine clowns
and those astonishing fair courtesans
who need Divine Love every night.
Come, join the courageous
who have no choice
but to bet their entire world
indeed, God is Real.
I will lead you into the circle
of the Beloved’s cunning thieves,
those playful royal rogues–
the ones you can trust for true guidance–
who can aid you
In this blessed calamity of life.
Translated by Daniel Ladinsky
I did a drawing
And decided to call it
Because there are so many reasons
After an extended break I find myself slowly catching up with the many interesting posts I missed. A short while longer to finish some things (I haven’t really been taking an actual…holiday) and POEMIMAGE will be active again. It will be my pleasure to introduce you to many interesting poets and writers whose work I will be addressing visually. As well I’ll relate some of my own ideas and writing. I need to complete my end of the ‘Blog Hop’ bargain after Richard Guest generously shared my page with his readers. Thank you for gracing this page with your presence.
A star hung in the sky just above
The brim of his straw hat.
He gazed upon a city.
I hope nobody mistakes me, he thought.
He gazed upon a medieval woodcut
On Christmas Eve.
I used Google Earth
To track the movements of the past,
Finding where the sky began…
I had to do this
For a few days…
To contemplate what I might awaken
So soon upon us…
& In this season of celebration,
A star alighting upon Vincent,
A Happy New Year.
The woodcut, depicting Bologna, is by an unknown artist, 1493.
Self-portrait by Vincent Van Gogh, 1887.
Bologna street scene from Google Earth, 2014.
I do not claim copyright of the original images.
I have recomposed original images to create a new non-commercial work
for purposes of parody or commentary
under fair use provisions
of the copyright law.