Thursday, June 30, 2005

Grove of Light

As I wandered at twilight
about the hills and vales of the Abbey sweap,
I found a silent stand of redwoods --
certainly out of time and place --
or maybe it was a memory.

Peak of Light

Had to get up early to get out to the Old Grove for the dawn.

Come Litha,
cast your first golden rays through the towering redwoods;
split fingers of light to stretch across
and caress the ripples in the pool,
and flicker a dozen rainbows in the mist.

Against the wall to my left a band of brightness marches
down -- down, to kiss alive the small oaks
wrapped in shimmering ivy holly and the dew seems to leap in joy.
Wild turkeys come from where they hide in the night.
See the hidden rabbit there.

Fond memories of my children frolic in the berry bushes.
I can watch the mounting sun in the reflecting waters
and feel a stirring -- oh my love, why are you not here?
How am I to be transformed without your touch -- your light.

Yes light, bonded here today.
Light to destroy the shadows of my cluttered mind.
Light to reveal the weeds of my despair --

that they can be plucked out.
Light to nurture my waning spirit.
Birth -- birth again in ever light.

The day will pass slowly -- yet too quickly as I ponder here.
In a while the western gathering clouds
will be gold and red and yellow in ever churning display.
Who am I? What will the waning year bring?
How will I balance soul and human emotion?

What is the song, "You light up my life?"
Come Blessed Mother, give me peace.


now quickly back to the Lantern.


Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Night Flight


I’ve been thinking much on the idea of darkness and ‘Night’ - The Lady Nyx who walks in darkness. I have always been a Child of the Night and for years, one who has reason to know Nyx well. It is said she carries Hypnos (sleep) in her arms, but sometimes he refuses his comfort and then you have only the comfort of Nyx, as you lie awake. Accordingly, Nyx, has long been a companion of mine. Though she gave birth to the fates, doom, deceit, mockery, blame, and misery, she also gave birth to dreams, pleasure, love, friendship and Hemera who is the day to balance the night. Both Aeschylus and Hesiod ascertain that night is the time of true inspiration as the Muses sing at night on Mount Helicon, hymns to Nyx and the gods. Now I wonder why I like that idea?

I loved faucon’s thoughts on Darkness. This comes from my Jungian study “Dances With Archetypes.”


While we walk
In the wilderness of the shadow woods
All we know is it’s twining darkness the
Sense of the unknowable exhaling wildness
Lacing the next reaching root, the next
Whipping branch that reaches out to slice
Our face with unexpected purpose
The smell of something breathing on the neck,
The touch of panic threading through the blood
The raw, panting, single note of

We could walk those woods by daylight
And note that the path is clear and wide
That there is nothing menacing anywhere
And laugh at ourselves for the our way our blood
Had beat in our throat or the way our knees had felt
Each rustle in the underbrush when the world
was painted with ink and omen,
We could walk the same path with a huge, bright
Lantern, washing away the night, showing the same
Clear path, and we could laugh at ourselves again, but
That would be foolish

A lighted wood and
A wood of darkness
Are not the same place
At all

We hope to learn to walk the dark
To breath the blackness with even calm
To intuit reaching roots and whipping boughs
And learn to dance around, moving through the dimness
With the eyes of a hunting cat, the balance of a deer
To come to still the jump of panic in the blood
Smooth the raw, panting, strangled note of

We come to learn to face the night
Not turn the
To Day

©Edwina Peterson Cross

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Wrestling with the duende 2

Wrestling with the duende 2
It is time. I am now ready. Sitting at my writing table in my cell, rather then writing an essay, I am going to enter the process. I made a commitment to describe what I think about the angels, the muses, and the duende and now I hope to experience each so I can more accurately present my ideas.
Even though I have been unable to force any writing on this subject I know that creative energy surrounds me. I can feel it when I walk in the woods, or view the valley from a high vista. I recognize its present when I tour the aisles of the local art show and talk to the artists about their works. I know it exists when I have tea with my creative friends and we share our latest ideas. I also know that I draw this energy into myself where it circulates, deep within waiting to be tapped. Sitting here, trying to write, I am ready to encourage the three avenues of help. Angel. Muse, and Duende.
I silent my mind and let go, listening for my angel. A gentle breeze enters, touching my heart and my angel enters, comforting my restlessness, boosting my ego, and encouraging me to continue. She reinforces the benefits of writing and the possibilities that someone else may need or want to hear. She guarantees she will stay near whenever I may need her.
Sadly my pencil will still not move. At that moment the wind blows through the window with my muse riding the crest. She sweeps in, grabs my mind, and carries me away. With my muse we can journey to the depth of the ocean to the tops of the highest mountain; visit a castle in Spain or sit on a rock overlooking a bay in Scotland and watch the porpoise play. We have fun interacting with unusual people and experiencing adventures impossible in my visible world. I conjure up marvelous tales to tell, but still my pen pencil will not move. Not yet, not yet.
These forces from without are comforting, exciting and a part of the thrill of writing but the third force, a force from within, is demanding my attention first. The duenda is now ready to emerge. [to be continued]

Before Dawn's Rebirth

Often, just before quenching the lantern fire
to better see the questing sun,
I contemplate the night;
feared by some, but embraced by me ...
for here the other protecting eye
of the great Raven (Antaios)
gives a cleared vision.

Several years ago, at a Retreat Center in Citrus Heights, CA,
I found myself walking in the 2AM stillness,
drawn by the peace and silence;
attempting to read selections from a booklet
provided at the last meeting --
which spoke of darkness.

I returned to my room and wrote this piece
at a single sitting -- 45 minutes -- then sleep.
I read it now -- and ever again,
seeking that which 'flows through me'
unbelieving -- in awe,
of the whispers of the night.



We come together with the fading light at our backs, and notice not if it carries hint of storm or playful clouds upon which the full moon can dance. Our thoughts turn inward, as it should be as autumn-death approaches, and with it, a claim on life and spirit. The prophet spoke, “We hope for life to walk by, but there is only darkness, and we grope about like blind people. We stumble at noon, as if it were night, as if we were in the dark world of the dead.” Ah, were it but so! Why do we fear this? Why are we taught the night is to be feared, when it is in the shadows we can find peace? Why do we revel in a burst of morning light that can blind our eyes to the realities of strife and pain and loneliness all around? Why do we shun the darkness that heralds a new day, for in our heritage it is birth, not death that is aroused in the dark? This I now know, by both glint of moonlight on fountain waters and day borne tears, it is our confusion over life and death that is the cause of confusion.

It is humanity’s claim on control that causes us to tread lightly in the approaching dark and drop our voices to whispers. It is divinity’s freedom, that we call mystery, that makes us dance in first morning rays, but it only because our vain fears are easily masked in market chatter and children’s cries. By right we must seek balance between the gift of humanity and curse of divine claim, but this is not served by worldly delusions of sighted view. Let us embrace the shadows in which we can grow close in community or drift to solitary contemplation, both a form of prayer. Remind me to disdain the pleasures of the day, those that detract from true fellowship and sharing love. Which is death and which is life? Does the spinning Janus coin have sides light and dark, or is it only an illusion forced by our will’s attempt to defy a call to birth and death the same?

I have pondered on the artful words of poets and philosophers, and prophets and kings, and clerics and saints. In the main it is said that salvation will be achieved through death and loss of life as we go to another place. In that place light and dark are equated with good and evil, an extension perhaps of our own delusion. Yet the prophet also says, “I will lead my blind people by roads they have not traveled. I will turn their darkness into light.” We are then in darkness now and it is to be embraced, not feared. If death has spiritual meaning then humanity is death and divinity is life. It is right that we embrace darkness on our human side and light for our spirit. It is the proud song that can say in the day, “I am the Son of God” that proves our divine gift of humanity. It is the voice that calls, “Come, I am the son of man,” and echoes in the night that proves our divine gift.

Our day as simple man must start joyfully in the darkness and proceed to meet the challenge of the day. In a churning cycle of embraced birth and death it matters not which comes first, no more than introspection on the order of humanity and spirit. Say instead, “I am one, such as we do call our Godlight, and that We together do call forth I.”

I lay down my head on these last days of my past life and pray, “Perchance to dream -- therein to refresh and prepare, and sustain through tomorrow’s bright glare. Next twilight is so far, yet so near -- a life and death away.”

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

A Bolt of Lightning Inspiration - For Anita Marie

Thunder is good, thunder is impressive; but it is lightning that does the work.
--Mark Twain

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Lightning, whose electricity,
Held the universe together,
Scowled malevolently
Through sword shaped eyes
That pierced the void as
Ravenous Raven, lady of birds and beasts
Erotically danced with promiscuous Wind

Charged by atoms, electrons, protons
Lightning hurled a bolt along a wire of air molecules
That collided upon earth's stage
At the very spot in Dodona where
a single oak tree stood
Igniting fire.

Raven who lived on peaks of mountainsides,
Who lived in caves
Who rested on the boughs of this very tree
Looked up in wonder
Captivated, mesmerized by
Capricious Lightning's audaciously bright, flashy show

The gift of fire, of electricity
Bought by Lightning to this most sacred place
His fired passion for Raven
Lives on in the bowels of
the mountains, the caves, the trees
Is told by birds and beasts
Lightning man's imagination

To this day the Dododan Oak Tree has the property of attracting lightning and the places where lightning struck was regarded, continues to be regarded, as sacred.

In ancient Rome, members of the College of Augurs divined the will of the gods by observing the southern sky for lightning, birds, and shooting stars. A lightning bolt passing from left to right was a favorable omen; a lightning bolt passing from right to left was a sign that Jove did not approve of current political events. Furthermore, whenever the augurs reported any sign of lightning, the magistrates of Rome were required to cancel all public assemblies on the following day. The augurs' reports became politically useful to postpone unwanted meetings, delay the passage of laws, or prevent the election of certain magistrates by popular assemblies..

Wrestling with Creative Energy

I am happy to tag team this once faucon. I have been wrestling with creative energy and that which joyously springs from chaos and Jane's timely post reminds me that there is no such thing as coincidence. But hey, we all know this.

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Metaphor Seeds Imagination

From the formless void
Motes, particles, miniscule molecules of matter
Slowly began to stir
Drawn by an invisible procreative,
Primordial force
They gravitated
Clinging together tenaciously
Swelling into a giant cluster
A sensual shape with
Dark raven wings

Inflaming, arousing desire, Raven
Spread her wings
Dancing, gyrating provocatively
Upon Wind’s fingertips
Wind and raven's coming together
Borne of frenzied passion
Was a union, an act of love?
From which was birthed
An exquisite silver, moon egg
Swollen with life.

Curled within the silver womb
Amid deep silence
Lay the Goddess of Love,
Goddess of erotic love, fertility
Wrapped in the very wings
Upon which would ride, ravenous
Procreative inspiration
The all powerful
Creative energy
That fuels the universe

Tag Team

While Jane wrestles with Duende,
perhaps I can 'tag in' and flip her over,
Duende that is.

papa faucon


Since you're capable of profound imagination
and have created God in your own besotted image,
i.e. with unlimited powers, presence and invasive personality;
then take on this challenge with heart and mirthful soul.

Reshape this Attention and accompanying vibrations
such that what we now perceive as light and joyful
is actually the absence of Source and Creation and all,
and that which we call 'nothingness' is in truth divine.

Then a good lantern should surely absorb the light
and insure that shadows become blurred and faint.
We would worship the cold that saps our strength and active life,
and decry that which would allow us to see each other.

A worthy jest -- a moments diversion, one might say --
for we praise that which makes things clear and bright,
and would never support that which shames or harms another soul,
for that would support chaos and -- nothing at all.

Wrestling with the duende

I did not realize what I was committing to when I told Heather I would lock myself in my cell and not come out until I understood what I believed about angel, muse and duende. I had some strong ideas on what I believed about creativity and figured it would be just a quick essay of my ideas, but once I was thrown into definitions on duende everything changed. Thank goodness we have two terrific cooks in the kitchen who leave a big pot of soup simmering low or I would never have made it. The midnight hours found me unlocking the door and wandering the moonlit halls and ending up in the kitchen.
I still believe that creativity is an energy source that anyone can tap into. "Where attention goes, energy flows. I also believe that God, the first and greatest creator , is the source of this energy. Now I just had to fit angels, muses and duende into this equation. I felt pretty clear about how I view angels and my muse but once I started researching duende I realized that my simplistic approach would not work. No matter how I struggled with pen and paper, at my desk, Duende would not let me commit those views to paper. I was face to face with the definition, "Duende is a struggle not a concept" Also Lorca’s "dark sounds" were a constant nagging debate with my Pollyanna personality. When working on oil paintings I have experienced the emotion of deep connection when the brush, and color taking on a life of its own. The work suddenly becomes better then you know you are capable of doing. I always considered this a switching from the left logical brain to the right creative brain but now I can easily call this power duende. But that is only half of the definition. The dark creative force still needed to be understood. [To be continued]

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The Flicker

For my mother who suffers from Alzheimer's.

From blue windows of your soul
I am reminded of heaven's gates
Where angels await
And though your spark dies hard
The blood that binds us
Boils harder
For love is thicker than fire.

(c)--Christina Cowling

when love dies

the bloom is off the rose
the vines have withered
my love for you
is cut off at the root

love is born
and so it dies too
you still share my bed
I move away in the night

I'll always treasure
the children we made
they were meant to be
we did that together

We'll see our mission through
responsibilities met
when the nest lies empty
I'll fly away- Alone.

Before I write today

Morning Kiss

Beyond the morning!
Sit here in the dew kissed grass
and watch the sunrise that I command.

For me the day does not begin
until I say, "Hello Father and Silent Moon."

I stroll with life and love
in a crazy patchwork quilt
of given and gift and ignorance.

See the brilliance…
Sing the silent song.


The lantern --
holding now no internal light,
still reflects the first rays of GodShine --
and a glimpse
of my scraggly face.

now I can write ...

papa faucon

Monday, June 27, 2005

Spirit and Sage

Practice writing every day.
This will be my mantra. The Abbey is where I'll practice the discipline.
I'm in formidable company among such accomplished poets and writers. No matter! I've been invited here and made to feel very welcome. If I sometimes babble, stumble, fall and make grammatical mistakes, it's all a part of the process.

Even though I just arrived at the Abbey yesterday, I was called away for a short time already. Spirit work. Last fall, friend of mine took his own life in a violent and tragic manner. Horror of horrors, a shotgun blast to the head accomplished the mission. This happened very near my home, right in the place where I walked my (now deceased) Lab, Buddy. Tim felt that he could not overcome his addiction to alcohol and opted to permanently end the problem. I tried so hard to help him, as did others, to no avail. Daily,I've gone to the spot where he took his life. I recite the Our Father and Hail Mary. I wish his spirit well. This has not been quite enough, however. Yesterday, the medicine woman in me was urged by her inner voice to go and purify the ground and air in that space. I had to be fairly discreet in doing so, as there are often people around that area. I can imagine what they'd think, watching a middle aged woman walking in a circle, a lit bundle of sage in hand,lips moving wordlessly, behind the Elks Club. (No irony there, it was Tim's watering hole.) No doubt they'd suspect that I, too, had imbibed too plentiful an amount of firewater. I've fought that particular demon myself, battling long and hard, holding to the truce that stands today. That's why I am so sad for Tim. He "gave up" a day too soon.

I did it. I took my sage and smudged the grounds and the air in the space where a fellow human being and friend died. At first, I felt nothing. No energy force at all, either positive or negative. I stood silently for a moment or two, looking to the sky. I observed one wispy cloud, one lonely cloud, that took on the shape of an angel waving good-bye. A black bird came, seemingly out of nowhere, flying swiftly over and away from me, disappearing over the tree tops. I released a spirit. My own.


'tis said that at 5 days past Solstice
the human senses can detect the change in the length of the day.

and 'tis a fine morning to nip the candle
and turn to greet the morn...
with you.



At sunrise I turned and saw each dewdrop
reflect the golden dream of a flower
trying to remember to be born.

Remarkably I turned from the sunrise
to find it lovingly birthed anew
in faire dancing eyes and pixy smile.

Turn -- yes turn from the sunrise and see
yesterday come alive by choice and voice
of currents of silent ever song.

Does the sunrise see me in turning mirth,
most foolish here, shoeless -- half naked
kneeling amongst the flowers, singing?

The turning world will see this same sunrise,
a unity of Light and Covenant of Life,
yet as separate as each morning kiss.

May I be the sunrise that sees you turn
from slow aging pains to innocent joy
found in your child's heart and dance.

I turned from the sunrise to see … well
the sunset is forever far from fear
when I rise to find you standing near.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Feather-Stone Woman: Medicine Woman of the Lemurian Abbey

Feather-Stone Woman: Lit From Within


In my sacred room I write,
Each mandate from within like living water
And ne're do I neglect a thought or image
Or ne're do I ignore an utterance
For though it may not fit the present puzzle
Who knows what fate this story soon will make?
Not even I, the author.

(c)--Christina Cowling


The words I used "Herald of the Dawn"
that Heather siezed upon
are not new to me in concept,
nor to Sakin'el.

I wrote this in 2002, before moving to Knoxville, TN
from Sacramento, CA. It is of a different type of haven
than this Abby -- but there are similaritities.
I once had this memorized to give at Bardic events,
but it was considered "too spiritual."

The Gauntlet

His form was bent and crippled, with a face that torture told;
but his Falchion sword had a Toledo edge, with buckler shield to hold.

The massive hall seemed hewn from the cliff, stone by massive block.
It stood alone at the crossroads of life,
calling to those knights of suffer and strife,
a safe haven for all, weak and the strong.
Such was the fortress named Ravennoch.

The vaulting arch was carved with deep care, in language four by four.
"Enter here only knights, weapons by the door."
He entered there and cast upon the floor
a mailed gauntlet that called to shame
the ancient sad boast that castle forswore.

The liveried guard was giant of form, with spike hauberk set to bar,
But he tumbled to sprawl upon the cold floor, with crash that carried far.

The gathered knights rose with a mighty shout, grasping for missing blade.
"By what right do you defile this pledge,"
cried a Templar priest of historic age?
They surged forth to be sure challenged
by flashing dance the spinning sword made.

"I was here when these golden stones were set, before your father's birth."
'Hearken unto me with weapons at rest,'
were the words we carved above the crest.
With passage of years your presence defiles
this most hallowed home upon the earth."

They slowly drew back in confused awe, shaken to their very core,
for the knight prancing there was of legend,
stories told by fire when the day did end.
No one knew his true name or favor claim,
but by bronzed rondels on chest he wore.

"I'm passing by from distant land, that of shallow youth's fame,
On to the place where 'was' and 'what will be', are found to be the same."

"I am the squire of the morning mist, herald of each birthing day.
I am the champion of daily hour's command,
from chivalry's call for strong helping hand.
Hearken to me poor excuse for a man
Who huddles here 'neith that craven display.

Only once in this life will your heart be touched, gleaming honor brought to bear,
when a maiden's silk scarf burns in your hand,
launched on brave quest set by fire's brand.
Only once in a knight's life will heaven call.
Yet you stand without blade, holding only fear.

Forbearance, not carved demand, that excludes the spirit bold,
and imprisons the will with devil chain,
can surely replace surrender's pain.
Stand up one and all and reclaim your pride
and quick remove those words the arch does hold."

He stood there firm in warrior pride, driven by right's own claim,
while those haunting words of yesteryear's call, erased the chiseled shame.

"Yes, I am on the path to most certain death, n'er to pass this way again.
I am the monk seeking peace in Mother Earth
where setting red sun will measure my worth.
But do not fear for God's claim on my soul,
for each day grants new life devoid of pain.

I will bring in the day to squire your birth, gentle gird your loins in mail,
And cap your brow with helm of pure delight,
and grant curved shield of Aegis' might.
Claim your sword my friend and never cry yield
for I will be watching, will never fail.

Where what 'was' joins 'what will be', there is proud eternal braid
that in our evening's death there will cycle new life, to conquer unafraid."

"Hearken unto to me with weapons at rest."

papa faucon


"Oh for poet - for beacon bright
To rift this changeless glimmer of dead gray
To spirit back the Muses, long astray
And flush Parnassus with a newer light"

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Ptolemy 1 was on of Alexander the Great's favourite generals. After Alexander's death, Ptolemy seized Egypt as his share of the divided empire and he became the founder of the Ptolemic dynasty that ruled Egypt for three hundred years. Around 290 Ptolemy, an educated man who enjoyed the company of artists, philosophers, poets and other writers, established the Museum and Library in Alexandria which were to make fame for that city. Ptolemy decreed that copies be made of all the books of the world and the writings of all the nations. Ptolemy 11 improved upon the example of his father, inviting as guest's famous poets, critics, scientists, philosophers and artists. He made the capital beautiful with architecture in the Greek style and, during his reign, Alexandria became the literary and scientific capital of the Mediterranean.

When the Ptolemies built an institute of higher learning called the Mouseion, or Temple of the Muses, in Alexandria, they not only created a great centre of literature and science but also rescued Greek literature from decay. The preserved the classical works of Greek literature and provided a sacred site where one could be with the muse. The Mouseion boasted a roofed walkway, an arcade of seats, and a communal dining room for scholars, rooms for private study, residential quarters and lecture halls and theatres. Its great hall, suitable for meetings and conferences, its arcaded walks and vast dining room all facilitated exchanges between scolars. It enabled a very special kind of communion, an opportunity to break bread together. So that they might devote all their time to study, members of staff and scholars were subsidised by the institution itself and paid no taxes. They received free meals and accommodation, good salaries and a host of other amenities, including servants.

The Pharaoh appointed a priest as the administrator of the Museum and a seperate Librarian was responsible for the collection. Over 1000 scholars lived in the Museum. They carried out new scientific research, published, lectured, performed the first systematic study of Greek literature, edited, critiqued, and collected al Greek classics and also gathered translations of Assyrian, Persian, Jewish, Indian and other nations' literature having nearly a million works in its holdings during the late Ptolemic period. The museum was the cradle of modern science, of rhetoric, philosophy, medicine, anatomy, geometry, geography and astronomy, The art, literature and learning of Alexandria greatly influenced Rome, the other pole of the Mediterranean basin. The Roman poets Catullus, Propertius, Ovid and others drew inspiration from the Egyptian fountainhead.

No one is sure what the great institution looked like but the Greek geographer Strabo described it as part of a richly decorated complex of buildings and gardens. The library stood for at least 300 years after its foundation, but strangely, there are few facts and many theories about the cause of its destruction and disappearance, and certainly even about the century in which its demise took place. Some historians believe that in AD 30 the library was party lost in fire and finally destroyed by an earthquake. Others claim that it was burned to the ground in 48 BC, when Egyptian ships attacking Julius Caesar's troops were set on fire and the flames were carried the library by a north wind.

Another story is that, with the decline of interest in the library, manuscripts were gradually used as fuel for heating the city; another that fanatical Christians, worried by the pagan writings stored in the library, spread the rumour that gold was buried on the site; the library would thus have been gutted by searches for its treasures. The Encyclopedia Britannica says Zenobia, Queen of Palmyra, probably destroyed the libraries buildings.

The loss of the wealth of Alexandria's learning must be one of the great calamities of the ancient world for the most complete collection of all Greek and Near Eastern literature was lost in one great conflaguration. The enormity of the loss is illustrated by accounts of some 700,000 rolls being destroyed by fire in the Mouseion when flames spread from the Egyptian Fleet.

Fortunately all has not been lost. In the words of Athenaeus of Alexandria "And concerning the number of books, the establishment of libraries and the collection of the Hall of Muses, why need I speak, since they are all in mankind's memories?"

Here, within the sanctuary of the Lemurian Abbey mankind's memories are rekindled and burn brightly. Lemuria and The House of the Muse capture the spirit of the Mouseion and while institutions like this thrive, as new travellers come to the door, bearing candles of light and hope, Ptolemy's extraordinary beacon remains alight.

Saturday, June 25, 2005


Lanquid my soul
For the forest I pass through
Is dense with yesterdays numbered
When silenced by worry
I bore no fruit from my labour.

Now in the thought of life's shortness
And hoped for tomorrows
I lay my doubt down
And the forest begins to blossom
With the passion of my purpose.

(c)--Christina Cowling

Alive In The House Of The Dead

I came to the Abbey to work on my writing.

I’ve made no friends, kept to the shadows and spent my time in the graveyard where it's quiet and I was able to work with no distractions. By nature I'm very easily distracted by just about everything so this place was a Godsend to me.

Then one day when I was out walking (well, goofing off) I discovered the old Medical School down the road.

I had heard rumors, when I first got to the Abbey that it was at full staff and had been turned into a school for the Performing Arts.

Dark Arts maybe, it's a strange place.

I explored the School's abandoned buildings and the cemetery behind it. And I spent a great deal of time in the Chapel there.

From what I understand it was called the Plague Church.

You can hear a sound in there you could mistake for the wind, but then if you listen you realize it's voices and they never, ever stop talking.

I can't even get half way up the road to the School anymore. I turn back and run, not jog or sprint but run straight back to the Abbey.

Then by accident I discovered the Catacombs below the Abbey and I keep going back there over and over again. In fact, now I can't stop myself.

Since I've started going down to the catacombs I'm having trouble with sunlight, everything seems too loud and bright. My skin crawls when people walk to close to me. I jump when doors whisper shut; the smell of food is making me ill. I'm having trouble keeping track of time and I'm having trouble recognizing people. It’s like my own skin is to tight for my body. Now I'm only seeing in black and white and I’ve also realized I can't hear out of my left ear.

I'm losing more and more of myself and I'm pretty sure I know where I'm losing myself to.

Yesterday when I went to use the library I was halfway into the room when I remembered I hadn't shut the door.

So I turned back went to shut it and my hand, my hand passed right through the handle.

I think I'm in trouble, I think I'm losing my mind...and I think I don't care.

What's happening to me?

When I was Hungry

Please Note: I respect all beliefs and religions. I am presently working on a new poetry book titled "Tree of Knowledge" it comes from my own spirituality and not intended to offend anyone for each finds satisfaction in their beliefs.

When my hungry soul was fed
I knew I'd been graced
By a new belief
And if this had not been so
I would have struggled
To believe otherwise.

(c)--Christina Cowling

The Alchemist . . .

Has been awake all night
Stretching stars into symphonies of silence
Sorting sky-sparks onto scales of sighs
Suddenly, a soaring sweet sound in the stillness . . .
Speaks softly of souls and spirits searching
Song of Sakin’el

Singing up the sunrise

Morning Song

Longer days, or shorter --
I stand on the parapets and sing,
herald of the dawning prayer.

Hearken to me ...

Whisper Silent Breeze
( a mixture of two tunes you will recognize)

Carry dreams and yearning hopes,
Confronted fears and tender tears,
Lover’s sighs and lonely nights,
That make up life’s patchwork of delight.

Whisper Silent Breeze

Speak of those with troubled minds,
Enchanting souls -- compassioned hearts,
Than would ever dance with me,
And extend a quick companioned hand.

For I surely know --
What is most dear to me,
The Path and search for Everbe,
The gentle now of eternity,
Found within the touch of you.

Whisper Silent Breeze

Join the Song of Sakin’el,
Pluck the harp of joy and mirth,
Remember now creation’s birth,
And bring the stardust to our eyes.

For we truly know --
What is when and ever been,
That life is love and love be born
In child’s eyes and spirit breath,
Found in you and me this day.


By Faith Alone

From the tree of knowledge

The serpent offered me fruit

I chose

Then walked away

Not with an apple

But faith—

The choicest.

(c)--Christina Cowling

Welcome Featherstone Woman!


“The power of illusion, false appearance
The veil that deludes the Divine . . .”
Not this Maya

Here is a shaft of clarified light
More real than any mirage of a dream
A bright lazar of understanding
Ceaselessly searching meaning
Seeking deeper, casting further
Questing clear

Between spiritual reality
And the physical world
Not a veil at all . . .

A lightening rod

©Edwina Peterson Cross

Friday, June 24, 2005

First Morning

The night-watch is past,
the abby silent in the embrace of first-light --
smile of Heash -- reflection of the Goddess sea.
The muted lantern can now swing
as a pendulum twixt mind and spirit,
until another twilight call.

for now I return to Sakin'el --
"Silent Breeze" -- "Search for Inner Peace" --
behold ...


The sun marches down the crippled oak and sets the silent font afire,
as the glowing glade echos the cheer of friends called to Epona’s watch.
A silent breeze carries forth the ivy whisper and the flower’s prayer,
into the mists of yesterday that disperse this new day's perfume.

Diamond dew drops do distill and join the twinkling of the pools,
and birth strong song of hidden bird and glint of fluttered fairy wings.
The sighs you hear are but Tegsh at blessed rest from ancient tears,
and the waiting patience of Haven’s halls and embracing heart of Henge.

Revealed in the gentle light are mem’ried footsteps of sunset prayer
that yesterday’s joining will gift today with rebirth songs of joy.
The dawn is a message gentle of the glory of thee and all,
bound in companioned trust and simple faith that I can share today.

Sakin’el is alive, my child, as surely as my passion sings
of laughing stones and whispering flames and watching falcon eyes.
As you place a pebble in the fountain of hand cycled mirth
you herald the promise of morning and fuel the currents of time.

Arise and dance, little one, to the lilting tune of Everbe;
skip o’er the roots of shadow fears and extend a hand to me.
The rhythm has started with the golden pulse of Earth and stars
and awaits the voices of innocence to proclaim the rising sun.

papa faucon

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Sonnet to the Abbey

Be welcomed in these hallowed halls
Let all your burdens go
Feel peace within these hollowed walls
Beneath the lamp lights glow

Here time is quiet, time is slow
Soft time to think and be
This healing gift the walls bestow
Unhurried guarantee

And in this time creation flows
From fingers and from quill
Here art is born and words compose
Deep essence to fulfil

For a time now, cease to roam
The door is open: You’ve come home

©Edwina Peterson Cross
June 23, 2005

Lamp Lighter

I don't know whose task it is to light
the lantern by the door at dusk --
that stumbling travelers might seek haven.

I could be up to the honor, I suppose,
though all of the travails of a sexton
do not appeal (pun) to me. I would rather be
as a hearald of the dawn
and pinch out the feable candle glow
and sing of the rising passion --
either way, there is a lantern
at the abby I am sure ...

consider --


Of things that are beknow,
above belief, beyond entrancement –
are those so imbued by Covenant;
and thus of me and thee.

We are Bearers of Light,
a flickering spark of divine breath –
by choice and vibrant will enhanced;
and thus of we and all.

Our presence is profound,
a reed resonating in harmony –
of tenor and pitch but ours alone;
and thus of EverSong.

Hense we are a lantern,
be entwined of flame and spirit gong –
both to protect and restrain the gifts;
and thus humanity.

Within and in fine tune,
swinging now, anchored by silver thread –
find soul swaying twixt mind and spirit;
and thus eternity.

Magic of this lantern,
projecting Light and reflecting soul –
always in symphony with the Source;
and thus of everything.

Yet life is not simple,
For creation is the goal and trust –
Love born, and midwifed by attention;
and thus of me and thee.

The trick is to hold high
your self-lantern of complexity –
to cast aside the dread shadow fears,
as know to such as we.

While some wisdom flies out,
(for what else can we really share?) --
some other brilliance must sure creep in,
and thus instill learning.

Unshutter your flame,
polish the colored glass of value –
that they only filter the real you;
and thus bring enrichment.

Forth and back, round about,
I flicker silently in everquest –
for two lanterns that do sing as one;
and thus of me and thee.


Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Back a Decade

We are all, perhaps, Knights of the Cross --
using our pens to inflame passions and right wrongs,
to ennoble the small and prune the deadwood ...
carrying, if not an allegorical cross,
a backpack full of regretful rocks

After retrieving this piece from my archives I explored the side-files here and discovered that 'Ebony' already fills the role described here. I post it anyway so that you know that we all dip bread in the same bowl

Pot- au- feu

My name is Frederick, but no one here remembers. Has it been that long? Brother Philip was the last of those who were here at the monastery when I came. The Abbot and the teachers call me Samuel; when I am in favor that is. Otherwise I am called 'HE.'

"HE experimented with the bread again!"
"HE didn't show up for vespers last night."
"HE doesn?t show proper respect."

For variety I am called "HIM."

"The new Knights met with HIM this morning."
"Justin has decided to leave us, after talking with HIM, of course."
"Won't you talk to HIM about letting the children into the garden?"

How soon they forget. They all have come to me at one time or another during their training. They share their fears, dreams and doubts. I stir their problems into the great cauldron of experience like vegetables in my never ending pot of stew, and usually spoon out some morsel they can savor. I am not special, just old. Each believes their particular problem or anxiety is new and unique. They usually have an answer to their own confusion; it makes my job fairly simple. A little humor, a pondering glance, a little pepper or spice and the dish is done. They always get a bowl of stew and a comforting hand on the shoulder. Sometimes the flavor is a little strong, flavored with a scowl or pointed sarcasm. Often the lumps are hard to swallow or the broth bitter, but they come back for more. It?s the stories I guess; they always get a story. Of course each of them is a story in the making and they all leave a little of their spirit here in this room. That is why it is always warm and cheerful in this cellar, even when the fire is low and the window open. Keeping the pot full but never boiling is not my job, it is my calling.

The novices call me Brother Sam, but I am not a monk. I could be, I guess; or a priest or
Knight if I wished. But my work is here in the garden, in the cellar and at the stove. Actually, they call "Gordo" or "Turnip" when they think I can't hear. Sometimes, in quiet moments over a slice of bread or piece of fruit, one will ask what I wish to be called. I always tell them "STIR." This seems appropriate as I usually have a lid in one hand and a gigantic spoon in the other at these moments. Or perhaps I am turning soil in the garden or cultivating tiny shoots in the greenhouse. The name is accepted, but I have never heard it spoken aloud. It is a shared secret amongst the students and a cause for furtive glances and shy smiles whenever an instructor uses the phrase "stir" in the classroom.

It is a secret shared by the hundreds of sandals that have walked these worn granite steps; a secret forgotten when they become a Knight and go forth unto the world. Stir, stir, stir. Little do they know that the name I call myself comes from my heart and my passion. There is a song in this hearth, in touching the earth, in drawing up water from the spring. I can hear it.

can not sing it. So I stir.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

After the War

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I set out from the Abbey and I have been walking for some hours. Finally I reached this stream (photograph courtesy of Lyndia Radice) Gregarious birds chatter, dancing amid the trees and I see patterns amid the rippling water as it gurgles over the stones. There are stories here, just waiting to be named and told.

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After The War

If I could write
I would write about
when the war ended
I would record how
we threw our ration cards
into the air
and danced into the night
hugging one another

I would marvel
using superlatives
to describe
Little things like
Spring lambs gambolling in the fields
The song of
crystalline Castalian waters
gurgling over ancient stones

I'd tell of
pulling out sheer silk stockings
and my golden organza ball gown
to wear at the celebratory ball
of waltzing
with my one true love
to the sounds of
Horrie Dargie's Rag Time Band

After the war
I will write.

Retrospective in Pink

Blue angel II

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In a remote corner of the Lemurian Abbey gardens there are some ruins, ruins of a folly built many years ago in the form a grotto whose walls are lined with seashells. A statue of Neptune holds sway in these subterranean passages. Beyond the arches leading to this homage to someone's creativity, the gardens extend in a sweeping vista towards the main buildings. But they are a long way away. A profusion of wild flowers has draped itself over the old stonework and it will not be too long before the entrance is completely hidden. On the top of the grassy knoll above the grotto there is further evidence of the eccentricity of its builder in the form of a Japanese tower, from the top of which you can see beyond the walls of the abbey to the full extent of Lemuria.

It is to this temple of the imagination that the blue angel comes from time to time to sit in quiet absorption and to re-charge her batteries. She hasn't been here for awhile, things had been quiet in the abbey but she had recently become aware that all was not well in its hallowed halls. Something was troubling the abbess, that she knew.

So she sat in quiet contemplation, listening.

First of all, the lizards sunning themselves in the rocky crevices told her that the abbess was sad. The breezes whispering through the grasses told of Darryl's illness. The blue harebells tinkled a chime of frustration and uncertainty. The leaves of the gingko trees chanted the prayers that they heard offered up by some of the abbey dwellers for Heather and Darryl and in doing so, spread the word so that the prayers were passed from mouth to mouth and ear to ear and began to form a huge groundswell of solicitation, succour and entreaty that all would be well.

As the angel gazed out over the gardens she made a mental note to ask the gardener to plant some more of the syringa bushes which wafted such a heavenly smell through the gardens. From her stony perch, at the same time however, she was sending out waves of healing energy. Although the abbess was her prime target she was aware that others were suffering in their own ways too and she prayed quietly for those as well and the words of the hymn for those in peril on the sea came to her mind for those in the abbey were suffering on the sea of life and were being battered by the winds and tides of misfortune.

Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bidd'st the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

O Christ! Whose voice the waters heard
And hushed their raging at Thy word,
Who walked'st on the foaming deep,
And calm amidst its rage didst sleep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

Most Holy Spirit! Who didst brood
Upon the chaos dark and rude,
And bid its angry tumult cease,
And give, for wild confusion, peace;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

O Trinity of love and power!
Our brethren shield in danger's hour;
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
Protect them wheresoe'er they go;
Thus evermore shall rise to Thee
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.

May the balm that the angel carries soothe the weary spirits of the abbey dwellers and bring them renewed vigour.

No Coincidences

For about a year I have been working on a book --
a collection of 24 stories about a young girl aged
11-13, who wrestles with the dual call to traditional values
and ancient whispers. Her given name is Sally --

her 'other person inside' is named --


don't know why --
the name just came to me.

In the story line she is collecting 24 'stones' in
order to open a magic gate to an unknown
special place -- perhaps Loycha --

perhaps Lemuria

Enter Abby

So, I am to enter ...

a decade ago, when I started writting prodigiously,
I was inpired by a monk set on establishing a new order.
They would be wandering priest/hermits well versed in
language, self-defence, medicine, etc. in order to aid the
oppressed. They woyd be called "Knights of St.John".
I wrote several stories for him to use to explain his vision --
appropriate here, perhaps.



He half expected the huge iron gate to creak and then clang shut like the door of an ancient keep, but it only whispered in the shadows, until it's own long, darkly projected fingers lent stretching texture to the sunlit tile floor. As he turned back to the monk who had gestured him to enter, he listened for the click of a lock -- none came; nor did the questions he had expected from his protectors, for the silent, robed figure had vanished. Only the fountain remained -- majestic in its simplicity, and solidly rooted in the earth. Sanctuary!

As he turned to inspect the arboreal portico, the tinkling softness of the falling water calmed and nurtured him. The massive stones of the walls were rough-hewn but fitted together perfectly in random, yet somehow purposeful fashion. The scent of familiar herbs betrayed the identity of the many small plants surrounding the fountain and the base of the gnarled wisteria that wrestled with the twisted trunk of an ancient Russian Olive tree. The waters of the fountain beckoned him, glistening in the late afternoon sun. A slight depression in one of the massive boulders created a waist high pool from which the magic waters seemed to pulse and ebb in rhythm with the throbbing in his temples.

He plunged his hand into the tranquil surface and bent to lift the pure drops to his lips. The face that glowered back at him from the reflecting depths seemed that of a stranger. He drank - and examined the stranger carefully. The three-day growth of beard scarcely hid the bruises on chin and cheek from the chase, beating and fall he had taken yesterday - only yesterday? It had been a long trip. He closed his eyes against the pain and drank again - deeply. Open! The terrible visage was still there - he had never looked worse, but could not pull away from the reflected gaze. Behind him, the passing crimson clouds were likewise reflected in amazing clarity. Between the two, support beams of the open roof formed a cross behind his head and pressed down - down until his breath became short.
"Come," said a quiet voice and he was instantly released. The Priest stood alone by the archway in the northern wall.

Gordon knew that he was in the presence of a Knight! Even without the pictures and the stories, the commanding presence of the pilgrim monk alone would have placed him apart from other men. There were others who wore habits of white with brown edges. People of many lands and races had shaved heads and sun-parched skin. But only a Knight of Saint John carried the light of his favor, his God, in a bright yellow cross over his heart and down his robe, looking more like a sword than the crucifix in his belt. When the priest turned toward the exit, Gordon could see the simple wooden cross stitched into the back of the robe, the hand carved symbol that would mark the spot where the Knight had fallen in the defense of faith and the souls of strangers. Gordon followed him through the arch.

To the right of the dimly lit hallway loggia was a small chapel-shrine, framed in an arch low enough to require an average man to stoop. The Knight’s long hickory staff prevented his entry at all. He genuflected before the crucifix and flickering candle that matched the fading sunset - red and gold and silent and magnificent. Gordon bowed his head.

"Are you not a Catholic," asked the monk in a voice far too gentle for such a powerful presence?
"Why yes - yes of course," stammered Gordon, "but I am still outside."
"The Way of the Cross is not from outside to inside, my friend," whispered the aging Knight, "or even from here in the arch to there in the garden. It is a journey you started in your heart long ago. You will travel through two long nights of darkness - I can not go with you. You may never reach the other end."
"Who will guide me," replied the trembling young man, "what should I take with me?" Gordon fell to his knees.
"He will guide you! You will carry your Cross!"
Gordon crawled forward. His battered suitcase by the gate now only a useless memory, and his former life set with the dying sun.

Monday, June 20, 2005

An Abbess by Any Other Name . . .

Lady in Blue

She builds with bricks of nothing
Buildings, rooms and walls
Where spirits walk together
Down enchanting cyber halls
With bright ribbons of conception
She ties knots of blooming heather
Creating cyber pathways
Where like minds can come together
She builds a world of beauty
Nonexistent and yet whole
Where your hand can reach around the world
And touch another soul
A place to look inside yourself
And relish the stunning view
This mystical mystery lady
Who looks so beautiful in blue . . .


The Waiting Room

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not a noun
but an adjective
describing the place
I sit waiting
waiting, hoping
that he will be
one of the
seventy percent
whose cancer responds

join the queue
welcome to the
suffering of
human kind

It is the waiting that really gets to you. How to fill in one's time during the long waiting hours? I pack a bag and take a pen, my journals, a magazine and a book but it is a bit like taking these things with me when I go to the beach. I am distracted and cannot concentrate and I end up staring at the silent walls, wondering. Sometimes I journey off into another world. Every so often the fog that surrounds me is pierced by and idea and something emerges on the page. This is from my 'Waiting Room' journal.

If The World's A Stage

If the world is a stage and I am a player
would the director of this ruddy melodrama
in which I have taken a lead role
for five long years
please find a replacement.

If the world is a stage and I am a player
would the director of this theatre troupe
acknowledge that I have done melodrama
and Greek Tragedy very well and need a turn
at some light hearted romantic comedy.

If the world is a stage and I am a player
I am officially happy to enter by the front door and
Be ushered to the best seats in the house where I could sit
Munching popcorn and slurping coke
While someone else struts their stuff

Green dancer

Green dancercvx
Originally uploaded by FranSb.
We are linking thoughts. Here is my version of a green dreaming, my dance with the light. For Winnie whose work has been an inspiration and whose words have made many dreams.

Caressing Duende

from my archives,


"Reflect - reflect on the Passion - reflect on your inner shattered self!"
The words come so easily to those distant - far removed from churning,
colliding voices, more felt than heard, that turn will into fearful survival.
Oh, He is there, I know. Yet I will always seek some reflection in another.

Why is the natural found communication of interchanged intellect
by which we test dreams and idle thought called a manipulation game?
But the process of reflecting back of spirit, as defined by ministry,
is 'shining forth for others", a sign of blessed holiest intent?

If we are to pay attention to discovery of divinity within,
and provide a sense of image through gifted reflection for a friend,
then are we not to embrace all engagement with another yearning spirit?
How else can emerging humility, and charity and love be measured?

The cymbals clash in a dichotomy of directed paths of redemption,
where answers may best found in silent contemplation and internal view.
Yet public acclaim and witnessing are avowed as the surest and holiest
support of community reflection and sense of thankful gifted restoration.

Can I do both? Is the secret to be a traveler to inner peace
so that all can see, by example, the reflection of our barren cross?
Or is it more blessed to serve as reflective ear and smile for another,
and to take up a little weight from their exhausted and crumpled spirit?

Ken Muller (aka faucon or papa)

Sunday, June 19, 2005

In Memoriam: Father's Day 2005

The feelings of childhood, never fully go
Those first emotions, impressions, images
Are engraved in echos
Like depth charges
Into the core of

You launched the kite
While I held the string
The wind took it from your fingers,
One Titan to another,
And lifted it dancing across the sky

You called the wind and
Your creation of paper, fabric and string
Tugged my heart strings
Into heaven

©Edwina Peterson Cross

The waiting room

Heather: "Now I feel compelled to ask each of you to consider not only the angel and the muse but Duende."

Waiting...What can one do? All is out of ones control. We can do only one thing, and that is to think. Our mind travels with us in all circumstances, through the good times and the bad. Uncontroled we can sink into worry..motivated by fear...which helps no one and can seriously hurt ourselves. Caught in similar situations as this I find only one help and that is what Heather has done; directed mental exploration. I HAVE ALWAYS ENJOYED THE MENTAL JOURNEYS HEATHER HAS SENT US ON AND THIS TIME SHE HAS HIT ON MY FAVORITE SUBJECT.....CREATIVITY. I am heading to my cell, locking the door, and staying there until I can get acquainted with this dark sided Duende she has introduced, and fit him into my views on creativity and the realities of my life. Freddy Garcia Lorca is a lot more knowledgable then I am and will take a lot of research on my part to get to his understanding his views. Hopefully Heather will forgive me for seeing it through my eyes and possible missing his point all together. Be back soon, I hope, as I am in the middle of a journey to Norway from the north end of Lemuria too. I am beginning to come to the conclusion that I have dual personalities within me...which by the way is also how I invision creativity...Until later..Jane

Saturday, June 18, 2005


My friend
I would sit by you in this the darkest hour
I would remember all that has gone before
I would carry you to the passage
to the bright light that awaits
through the night
I would be with you
am with you
across the desert
and through the mountain pass

Friday, June 17, 2005

Green As I Would Have You Be

Verde que te quierro verde

“Verde que te quierro verde
Green wind. Green boughs.
The boat on the sea.
Green as I would have you be”
(Federico Garcia Lorca - Romance Sonambulo)

“Sail, sail
Toward the army of uneven points . . .
There are ships that want to be seen in order to sink in peace . . .
Sail toward a pulverized
Landscape of ambush.
And the moon?/Y la luna . . .
The moon with a smoking glove
sitting by the doorway of it’s wreckage.”
(Federico Garcia Lorca - “Luna y Panorama de los Insectos” Poeta en Nueva York)

and your tears on the shores of a horse’s eyes
that never reaches the sea . . .
(Federico Garcia Lorca - “Niña ahogada en el pozo” Poeta en Nueva York)

Give me your moon glove,
Your other glove of grass, my love
(Federico Garcia Lorca - “Nocturno del hueco” Poeta en Nueva York)

. . . the bull has his orbit,
and the bullfighter has his,
and I must look at death with geometry, with measure
with the fundamental basis of a bulfight.
(Federico Garcia Lorca - In Search of Duende)


Love, until his lips has turned to silver . . .
Love, admidst the shivering of knives and dynamite of melons.
(Federico Garcia Lorca -“Grito hacia Roma” Poeta en Nueva York)

"The Angel, The Muse, Duende"

Over recent days, as I have sat, reflecting and meditating during long hours at the hospital, I have had cause to ponder upon Duende, the creative force that propels our creative endeavour and fills our well with droplets of steel in times of need. Now I feel compelled to ask each of you to consider not only the angel and the muse but Duende.

Duende came in search of me once more when Winnie, in a pensive, philosophical mood, asked me how I teach writing. I admitted that I do not really teach writing but I encourage people to put their hands in the loam and experience duende. I encourage people to grope and feel duende for it is only when duende is present that writing becomes authentic.

Read the following article by Frederico Garcia Lorca and talk about your views on the 'life force' that drives creativity, the mead we each seek.

The Duende: Theory and Divertissement
by Frederico Garcia Lorca

Whoever inhabits that bull's hide stretched between the Jucar, the Gaudelete, the Sil or the Pisuerga - no need to mention the streams joining those lion-coloured waves churned up by the Plata - has heard it said with a certain frequency: "Now that has real duende !" It was in this spirit that Manuel Torres, the great artist of the Andalusian people, once remarked to a singer: "You have a voice, you know all the styles, but you'll never bring it off because you have no duende."

In all Andalusia, from the rock of Jaen to the shell of Cádiz, people constantly speak of the duende and find it in everything that springs out of energetic instinct. That marvelous singer, "El Librijano," originator of the Debla, observed, "Whenever I am singing with duende, no one can come up to me"; and one day the old gypsy dancer, "La Malena," exclaimed while listening to Brailowski play a fragment of Bach: "Olé! That has duende !"- and remained bored by Gluck and Brahms and Darius Milhaud. And Manuel Torres, to my mind a man of exemplary blood culture, once uttered this splendid phrase while listening to Falla himself play his "Nocturno del Generalife": "Whatever has black sounds has duende." There is no greater truth.

These black sounds are the mystery, the roots that probe through the mire that we all know of, and do not understand, but which furnishes us with whatever is sustaining in art. Black sounds: so said the celebrated Spaniard, thereby concurring with Goethe, who, in effect, defined the duende when he said, speaking of Paganini: "A mysterious power that all may feel and no philosophy can explain."

The duende, then, is a power and not a construct, is a struggle and not a concept. I have heard an old guitarist, a true virtuoso, remark, "The duende is not in the throat, the duende comes up from inside, up from the very soles of the feet." That is to say, it is not a question of aptitude, but of a true and viable style - of blood, in other words; of what is oldest in culture: of creation made act.

This "mysterious power that all may feel and no philosophy can explain," is, in sum, the earth-force, the same duende that fired the heart of Nietzsche, who sought it in its external forms on the Rialto Bridge, or in the music of Bizet, without ever finding it, or understanding that the duende he pursued had rebounded from the mystery-minded Greeks to the Dancers of Cádiz or the gored, Dionysian cry of Silverio's siguiriya.

So much for the duende; but I would not have you confuse the duende with the theological demon of doubt at whom Luther, on a Bacchic impulse, hurled an inkwell in Nuremberg, or with the Catholic devil, destructive, but short on intelligence, who disguised himself as a bitch to enter the convents, or with the talking monkey that Cervantes' mountebank carried in the comedy about jealousy and the forests of Andalusia.

No. The duende that I speak of, shadowy, palpitating, is a descendant of that benignest demon of Socrates, he of marble and salt, who scratched the master angrily the day he drank the hemlock; and of that melancholy imp of Descartes, little as an unripe almond, who, glutted with circles and lines, went out on the canals to hear the drunken sailors singing.

Any man - any artist, as Nietzsche would say - climbs the stairway in the tower of his perfection at the cost of a struggle with a duende - not with an angel, as some have maintained, or with his muse. This fundamental distinction must be kept in mind if the root of a work of art is to be grasped.

The angel guides and endows, like Saint Raphael, or prohibits and avoids like Saint Michael, or foretells, like Saint Gabriel.

The Angel dazzles; but he flies over men's heads and remains in mid-air, shedding his grace; and the man, without any effort whatever, realizes his work, or his fellow-feeling, or his dance. The angel on the road to Damascus, and he who entered the crevice of the little balcony of Assisi, or that other angel who followed in the footsteps of Heinrich Suso, commanded - and there was no resisting his radiance, for he waved his wings of steel in an atmosphere of predestination.

The Muse dictates and, in certain cases, prompts. There is relatively little she can do, for she keeps aloof and is so full of lassitude (I have seen her twice) that I myself have had to put half a heart of marble in her. The Poets of the Muse hear voices and do not know where they come from; but surely they are from the Muse, who encourages and at times devours them entirely. Such, for example, was the case of Apollinaire, that great poet ravaged by the horrible Muse with whom the divinely angelic Rousseau painted him. The Muse arouses the intellect, bearing landscapes of columns and the false taste of laurel; but intellect is oftentimes the foe of poetry because it imitates too much, it elevates the poet to a throne of acute angles and makes him forget that in time the ants can devour him, too, or that a great arsenical locust can fall on his head, against which the Muses who live inside monocles or the lukewarm lacquer roses of insignificant salons, are helpless.

Angel and Muse approach from without; the Angel sheds light and the Muse gives form (Hesiod learned of them). Gold leaf or chiton-folds: the poet finds his models in his laurel coppice. But the Duende, on the other hand, must come to life in the nethermost recesses of the blood.

And repel the Angel, too - kick out the Muse and conquer his awe of the fragrance of violets that breathe from the poetry of the eighteenth century, or of the great telescope in whose lenses the Muse dozes off, sick of limits.

The true struggle is with the Duende.

The paths leading to God are well known, from the barbaric way of the hermit, to the subtler modes of the mystic. With a tower, then, like Saint Theresa, or with three roads, like St. John of the Cross. And even if we must cry out in Isaiah's voice: "Truly, thou art the hidden God!" at the end at last, God sends to each seeker his first fiery thorns.

To seek out the Duende, however, neither map nor discipline is required. Enough to know that he kindles the blood like an irritant, that he exhausts, that he repulses, all the bland, geometrical assurances, that he smashes the styles; that he makes of a Goya, master of the grays, the silvers, the roses of the great English painters, a man painting with his knees and his fists in bituminous blacks; that he bares a Mosen Cinto Verdaguer to the cold of the Pyrenees or induces a Jorge Manrique to sweat out his death on the crags of Ocaña, or invests the delicate body of Rimbaud in the green domino of the saltimbanque, or fixes the dead fish-eyes on the Comte de Lautréamont in the early hours of the boulevard.

The great artists of southern Spain, both gypsies and flamenco, whether singing or dancing or playing their instruments, know that no emotion is possible without the mediation of the Duende. They may hoodwink the people, they may give the illusion of duende without really having it, just as writers and painters and literary fashion-mongers without duende cheat you daily; but it needs only a little care and the will to resist one's own indifference, to discover the imposture and put it and its crude artifice to flight.

Once the Andalusian singer, Pastora Pavon, "The Girl with the Combs," a sombre Hispanic genius whose capacity for fantasy equals Goya's or Raphael el Gallo's, was singing in a little tavern in Cádiz. She sparred with her voice - now shadowy, now like molten tin, now covered with moss; she tangled her voice in her long hair or drenched it in sherry or lost it in the darkest and furthermost bramble bushes. But nothing happened - useless, all of it! The hearers remained silent.

There stood Ignacio Espeleta, handsome as a Roman turtle, who was asked once why he never worked, and replied with a smile worthy of Argantonio: "How am I to work if I come from Cádiz?"

There, too, stood Héloise, the fiery aristocrat, whore of Seville, direct descendant of Soledad Vargas, who in the thirties refused to marry a Rothschild because he was not of equal blood. There were the Floridas, whom some people call butchers, but who are really millennial priests sacrificing bulls constantly to Geryon; and in a corner stood that imposing breeder of bulls, Don Pablo Murabe, with the air of a Cretan mask. Pastora Pavon finished singing in the midst of total silence. There was only a little man, one of those dancing mannikins who leap suddenly out of brandy bottles, who observed sarcastically in a very low voice: "Viva Paris!" As if to say: We are not interested in aptitude or techniques or virtuosity here. We are interested in something else.

Then the "Girl with the Combs" got up like a woman possessed, her face blasted like a medieval weeper, tossed off a great glass of Cazalla at a single draught, like a potion of fire, and settled down to singing - without a voice, without breath, without nuance, throat aflame - but with duende ! She had contrived to annihilate all that was nonessential in song and make way for an angry and incandescent Duende, friend of sand-laden winds, so that everyone listening tore at his clothing almost in the same rhythm with which the West Indian negroes in their rites rend away their clothes, huddled in heaps before the image of Saint Barbara.

The "Girl with the Combs" had to mangle her voice because she knew there were discriminating folk about who asked not for form, but for the marrow of form - pure music spare enough to keep itself in the air. She had to deny her faculties and her security; that is to say, to turn out her Muse and keep vulnerable, so that her Duende might come and vouchsafe the hand-to-hand struggle. And then how she sang! Her voice feinted no longer; it jetted up like blood, ennobled by sorrow and sincerity, it opened up like ten fingers of a hand around the nailed feet of a Christ by Juan de Juni - tempestuous!

The arrival of the Duende always presupposes a radical change in all the forms as they existed on the old plane. It gives a sense of refreshment unknown until then, together with that quality of the just-opening rose, of the miraculous, which comes and instils an almost religious transport.

In all Arabian music, in the dances, songs, elegies of Arabia, the coming of the Duende is greeted by fervent outcries of Allah! Allah! God! God!, so close to the Olé" Olé! of our bull rings that who is to say they are not actually the same; and in all the songs of southern Spain the appearance of the Duende is followed by heartfelt exclamations of God alive! - profound, human tender, the cry of communion with God through the medium of the five senses and the grace of the Duende that stirs the voice and the body of the dancer - a flight from this world, both real and poetic, pure as Pedro de Roja's over the seven gardens (that most curious poet of the seventeenth century), or Juan Calimacho's on the tremulous ladder of tears.

Naturally, when flight is achieved, all feel its effects: the initiate coming to see at last how style triumphs over inferior matter, and the unenlightened, through the I-don't-know-what of an authentic emotion. Some years ago, in a dancing contest at Jerez de la Frontera, an old lady of eighty, competing against beautiful women and young girls with waists as supple as water, carried off the prize merely by the act of raising her arms, throwing back her head, and stamping the little platform with a blow of her feet; but in the conclave of muses and angels foregathered there - beauties of form and beauties of smile - the dying duende triumphed as it had to, trailing the rusted knife blades of its wings along the ground.

All the arts are capable of duende, but it naturally achieves its widest play in the fields of music, dance and the spoken poem, since those require a living presence to interpret them, because they are forms which grow and decline perpetually and raise their contours on the precise present.

Often the Duende of the musician passes over into the Duende of the interpreter, and at other times, when the musician and poet are not matched, the Duende of the interpreter - this is interesting - creates a new marvel that retains the appearance - and the appearance only - of the originating form. Such was the case with the duende-ridden Duse who deliberately sought out failures in order to turn them into triumphs, thanks to her capacity for invention; or with Paganini who, as Goethe explained, could make one hear profoundest melody in out-and-out vulgarity; or with a delectable young lady from the port of Santa María whom I saw singing and dancing the horrendous Italian ditty, "O Marie!" with such rhythms, such pauses, and such conviction that she transformed an Italian geegaw into a hard serpent of raised gold. What happened, in effect, was that each in his own way found something new, something never before encountered, which put lifeblood and art into bodies void of expression.

In every country, death comes as a finality. It comes, and the curtain comes down. But not in Spain! In Spain the curtain goes up. Many people live out their lives between walls until the day they die and are brought out into the sun. In Spain, the dead are more alive than the dead of any other country of the world: their profile wounds like the edge of a barbers razor. The quip about death and the silent contemplation of it are familiar to the Spanish. From the "Dream of the Skulls" of Quevedo, to the "Putrescent Bishop" of Valdés Leal; from La Marbella of the seventeenth century who, dying in childbirth on the highway, says:

The blood of my entrails
Covers the horse.
And the horse's hooves
Strike fire from the pitch

to a recent young man from Salamanca, killed by a bull who exclaimed:

My friends, I am dying.
My friends, it goes badly.
I've three handkerchiefs inside me,
And this I apply now makes four.

there is a balustrade of flowering nitre where hordes peer out, contemplating death, with verses from Jeremiah for the grimmer side or sweet-smelling cypress for the more lyrical - but in any case, a country where all that is most important has its final metallic valuation in death.

The knife and the cart wheel and the razor and the singing beard-points of the shepherds, the shorn moon and the fly, the damp lockers, the ruins and the lace-covered saints, the quicklime and the cutting line of eaves and balconies: in Spain, all bear little grass-blades of death, allusions and voices perceptible to the spiritually alert, that call to our memory with the corpse-cold air of our own passing. It is no accident that all Spanish art is bound to our soil, so full of thistles and definitive stone; the lamentations of Pleberio or the dances of the master Josef Maria de Valdivielso are not isolated instances, nor is it by chance that from all the balladry of Europe the Spanish inamorata disengages herself in this fashion:

"If you are my fine friend,
Tell me - why won't you look at me?"
"The eyes with which I look at you
I gave up to the shadow."
"If you are my fine friend
Tell me - why don't you kiss me?"
"The lips with which I kissed you
I gave up to the clay."
"If you are my fine friend
Tell me - why won't you embrace me?"
"The arms that embrace you
I have covered up with worms."

Nor is it strange to find that in the dawn of our lyricism, the following note is sounded:

Inside the garden
I shall surely die.
Inside the rosebush
They will kill me.
Mother, Mother,
I went out
Gathering roses,
But surely death will find me
In the Garden.
Mother, Mother,
I went out
Cutting roses,
But surely death will find me
In the rosebush.
Inside the garden
I shall surely die.
In the rosebush
They will kill me.

Those heads frozen by the moon that Zurbarán painted, the butter-yellows and the lightening-yellows of El Greco, the narrative of Father Sigüenza, all the work of Goya, the presbytery of the Church of the Escorial, all polychrome sculpture, the crypt of the ducal house of Osuna, the death with the guitar in the chapel of the Benavente in Medina de Río Seco - all equal, on the plane of cultivated art, the pilgrimages of San Andrés de Teixido where the dead have their place in the procession; they are one with the songs for the dead that the women of Asturias intone with flame-filled lamps in the November night, one with the song and dance of the Sibyl in the cathedrals of Mallorca and Toledo, with the obscure "In Recort" of Tortosa, and the innumerable rites of Good Friday that, with the arcane fiesta of the Bulls, epitomize the popular triumph of Spanish death. In all the world, Mexico alone can go hand-in-hand with my country.

When the Muse sees death on the way, she closes the door, or raises a plinth, or promenades an urn and inscribes an epitaph with a waxen hand, but in time she tears down her laurels again in a silence that wavers between two breezes. Under the truncated arch of the Ode, she joins with funereal meaning the exact flowers that the Italians of the fifteenth century depicted, with the identical cock of Lucretius, to frighten off an unforeseen darkness.

When the Angel sees death on the way, he flies in slow circles and weaves with tears of narcissus and ice the elegy we see trembling in the hands of Keats and Villasandino and Herrera and Becquer and Juan Ramón Jiménez. But imagine the terror of the Angel, should it feel a spider - even the tiniest - on its tender and roseate flesh!

The Duende, on the other hand, will not approach at all if he does not see the possibility of death, if he is not convinced he will circle death's house, if there is not every assurance he can rustle the branches borne aloft by us all, that neither have, nor may ever have, the power to console.

With idea, with sound, or with gesture, the Duende chooses the brim of the well for his open struggle with the creator. Angel and Muse escape in the violin or in musical measure, but the Duende draws blood, and in the healing of the wound that never quite closes, all that is unprecedented and invented in a man's work has its origin.

The magical virtue of poetry lies in the fact that it is always empowered with duende to baptize in dark water all those who behold it, because with duende, loving and understanding are simpler, there is always the certainty of being loved and being understood; and this struggle for expression and for the communication of expression acquires at times, in poetry, finite characters.

Recall the case of that paragon of the flamenco and daemonic way, Saint Teresa - flamenca not for her prowess in stopping an angry bull with three significant passes - though she did so - nor for her presumption in esteeming herself beautiful in the presence of Fray Juan de Miseria, nor for slapping the face of a papal nuncio; but rather for the simple circumstance that she was one of the rare ones whose Duende (not her Angel - the Angels never attack) pierced her with an arrow, hoping thereby to destroy her for having deprived him of his ultimate secret: the subtle bridge that links the five senses with the very center, the living flesh, living cloud, living sea, of Love emancipated from Time.

Most redoubtable conqueress of the Duende - and how utterly unlike the case of Philip of Austria who, longing to discover the Muse and the Angel in theology, found himself imprisoned by the Duende of cold ardors in that masterwork of the Escorial, where geometry abuts with a dream and the Duende wears the mask of the Muse for the eternal chastisement of the great king.

We have said that the Duende loves ledges and wounds, that he enters only those areas where form dissolves in a passion transcending any of its visible expressions.

In Spain (as in all Oriental countries where dance is a form of religious expression) the Duende has unlimited play in the bodies of the dancers of Cádiz, eulogized by Martial, in the breasts of the singers, eulogized by Juvenal, and in all the liturgy of the bulls - that authentic religious drama where, in the manner of the Mass, adoration and sacrifice are rendered a God.

It would seem that all the duende of the classical world is crowded into this matchless festival, epitomizing the culture and the noble sensibility of a people who discover in man his greatest rages, his greatest melancholies, his greatest lamentations. No one, I think, is amused by the dances or the bulls in Spain; the Duende has taken it on himself to make them suffer through the medium of drama, in living forms, and prepares the ladders for flight from encompassing reality.

The Duende works on the body of the dancer like the wind works on sand. With magical force, it converts a young girl into a lunar paralytic; or fills with adolescent blushes a ragged old man begging handouts in the wineshops; or suddenly discovers the smell of nocturnal ports in a head of hair, and moment for moment, works on the arms with an expressiveness which is the mother of the dance of all ages.

But it is impossible for him ever to repeat himself - this is interesting and must be underscored. The Duende never repeats himself, any more than the forms of the sea repeat themselves in a storm.

In the bullfight, the Duende achieves his most impressive advantage, for he must fight then with death who can destroy him, on one hand, and with geometry, with measure, the fundamental basis of the bullfight, on the other.

The Bull has his orbit, and the bullfighter has his, and between orbit and orbit is the point of risk where falls the vertex of the terrible byplay.

It is possible to hold a Muse with a muletta and an Angel with banderillas, and pass for a good bullfighter; but for the faena de capa, with the bull still unscarred by a wound, the help of the Duende is necessary at the moment of the kill, to drive home the blow of artistic truth.

The bullfighter who moves the public to terror in the plaza by his audacity does not fight the bull - that would be ludicrous in such a case - but, within the reach of each man, puts his life at stake; on the contrary, the fighter bitten by the Duende gives a lesson in Pythagorian music and induces all to forget how he constantly hurls his heart against the horns.

Lagartigo with his Roman duende, Joselito with his Jewish duende, Belmonte with his baroque duende, and Cagancho with his gypsy duende, from the twilight of the ring, teach poets, painters, and musicians four great ways of the Spanish tradition.

Spain is the only country where death is the national spectacle, where death blows long fanfares at the coming of each Spring, and its art is always governed by a shrewd duende that has given it its distinctive character and its quality of invention.

The Duende that, for the first time in sculpture, fills the cheeks of the saints of the master Mateo de Compostela with blood, is the same spirit that evokes the lamentations of St. John of the Cross or burns naked nymphs on the religious sonnets of Lope.

The Duende who raises the tower of Sahagun or tesselates hot brick in Calatayud or Teruel, is the same spirit that breaks open the clouds of El Greco and sends the constables of Quevedo and the chimaeras of Goya sprawling with a kick.

When it rains, he secretly brings out a duende-minded Velasquez, behind his monarchical grays; when it snows he sends Herrera out naked to prove that cold need not kill; when it burns, he casts Berruguette into the flames and lets him invent a new space for sculpture.

The music of Góngora and the Angel of Garcilaso must yield up the laurel wreath when the Duende of St. John of the Cross passes by, when

The wounded stag
peers over the hill.

The Muse of Góngora de Berceo and the Angel of the Archpriest of Hita must give way to the approaching Jorge Manrique when he comes, wounded to death, to the gates of the Castle of Belmonte. The Muse of Gregorio Hernandez and the Angel of José de Mora must retire, so that the Duende weeping blood-tears of Mena, and the Duende of Matinez Montañes with a head like an Assyrian bull's, may pass over, just as the melancholy Muse of Cataluña and the humid Angel of Galicia must watch, with loving terror, the Duende of Castile, far from the hot bread and the cow grazing mildly among forms of swept sky and parched earth.

The Duende of Quevedo and the Duende of Cervantes, one bearing phosphorescent green anemones and the other the plaster flowers of Ruidera, crown the alter-piece of the Duende of Spain.

Each art has, by nature, its distinctive Duende of style and form, but all roots join at the point where the black sounds of Manuel Torres issue forth - the ultimate stuff and the common basis, uncontrollable and tremulous, of wood and sound and canvas and word.

Black sounds: behind which there abide, in tenderest intimacy, the volcanoes, the ants, the zephyrs, and the enormous night straining its waist against the Milky Way.

Ladies and gentlemen: I have raised three arches, and with clumsy hand I have placed in them the Muse, the Angel and the Duende.

The Muse keeps silent; she may wear the tunic of little folds, or great cow-eyes gazing towards Pompeii, or the monstrous, four-featured nose with which her great painter, Picasso, has painted her. The Angel may be stirring the hair of Antonello da Messina, the tunic of Lippi, and the violin of Masolino or Rousseau.

But the Duende - where is the Duende ? Through the empty arch enters a mental air blowing insistently over the heads of the dead, seeking new landscapes and unfamiliar accents; an air bearing the odor of child's spittle, crushed grass, and the veil of Medusa announcing the unending baptism of all newly-created things.

Lorca 1930