To a Madonna

 To a Madonna
 Votive Offering in the Spanish Style

 I want to build for you, Madonna, my mistress, 
 An underground altar in the depths of my grief 
 And carve out in the darkest corner of my heart, 
 Far from worldly desires and mocking looks, 
 A niche, all enameled with azure and with gold, 
 Where you shall stand, amazed Statue; 
 With my polished Verses as a trellis of pure metal 
 Studded cunningly with rhymes of crystal, 
 I shall make for your head an immense Crown, 
 And from my Jealousy, O mortal Madonna, 
 I shall know how to cut a cloak in a fashion, 
 Barbaric, heavy, and stiff, lined with suspicion, 
 Which, like a sentry-box, will enclose your charms; 
 Embroidered not with Pearls, but with all of my Tears! 
 Your Gown will be my Desire, quivering, 
 Undulant, my Desire which rises and which falls, 
 Balances on the crests, reposes in the troughs, 
 And clothes with a kiss your white and rose body. 
 Of my Self-respect I shall make you Slippers 
 Of satin which, humbled by your divine feet, 
 Will imprison them in a gentle embrace, 

 And assume their form like a faithful mold;
 If I can't, in spite of all my painstaking art,
 Carve a Moon of silver for your Pedestal, 
 I shall put the Serpent which is eating my heart 
 Under your heels, so that you may trample and mock, 
 Triumphant queen, fecund in redemptions, 
 That monster all swollen with hatred and spittle. 
 You will see my Thoughts like Candles in rows 
 Before the flower-decked altar of the Queen of Virgins, 
 Starring with their reflections the azure ceiling, 
 And watching you always with eyes of fire. 
 And since my whole being admires and loves you, 
 All will become Storax, Benzoin, Frankincense, Myrrh, 
 And ceaselessly toward you, white, snowy pinnacle, 
 My turbulent spirit will rise like a vapor.

 Finally, to complete your role of Mary,
 And to mix love with inhumanity,
 Infamous pleasure! of the seven deadly sins,
 I, torturer full of remorse, shall make seven
 Well sharpened Daggers and, like a callous juggler,
 Taking your deepest love for a target,
 I shall plant them all in your panting Heart,
 In your sobbing Heart, in your bleeding Heart!
Wonderful bit of theology here!

Cadair Idris

The Rock of Cader Idris
by Felicia Hemans

It is an old tradition of the Welsh bards, that on the summit of the mountain Cader Idris is an excavation resembling a couch; and that whoever should pass a night in that hollow, would be found in the morning either dead, in a state of frenzy, or endowed with the highest poetical inspiration.

I lay on that rock where the storms have their dwelling,
The birthplace of phantoms, the home of the cloud;
Around it for ever deep music is swelling,
The voice of the mountain-wind, solemn and loud.
‘Twas a midnight of shadows all fitfully streaming,
Of wild waves and breezes, that mingled their moan;
Of dim shrouded stars, as from gulfs faintly gleaming;
And I met the dread gloom of its grandeur alone.

I lay there in silence — a spirit came o’er me;
Man’s tongue hath no language to speak what I saw:
Things glorious, unearthly, pass’d floating before me,
And my heart almost fainted with rapture and awe.
I view’d the dread beings around us that hover,
Though veil’d by the mists of mortality’s breath;
And I call’d upon darkness the vision to cover,
For a strife was within me of madness and death.

I saw them — the powers of the wind and the ocean,
The rush of whose pinion bears onward the storms;
Like the sweep of the white-rolling wave was their motion,
I felt their dim presence, — but knew not their forms!
I saw them — the mighty of ages departed —
The dead were around me that night on the hill:
From their eyes, as they pass’d, a cold radiance they darted, —
There was light on my soul, but my heart’s blood was chill.

I saw what man looks on, and dies — but my spirit
Was strong, and triumphantly lived through that hour;
And, as from the grave, I awoke to inherit
A flame all immortal, a voice, and a power!
Day burst on that rock with the purple cloud crested,
And high Cader Idris rejoiced in the sun; —
But O! what new glory all nature invested,
When the sense which gives soul to her beauty was won!
Cadair Idris by Richard Wilson – lived next door to a descendant of his


by Edvard Munch
See how in their veins all becomes spirit:
into each other they mature and grow.
Like axles, their forms tremblingly orbit,
round which it whirls, bewitching and aglow.
Thirsters, and they receive drink,
watchers, and see: they receive sight.
Let them into one another sink
so as to endure each other outright.

(Rilke 'The Lovers')

My intention is …

My intention is to tell of bodies changed To different forms; the gods, (sorry Ovid, but I must add 'goddesses') who made the changes, Will help me—or I hope so—with a poem That runs from the world's beginning to our own days.
Goddesses, please keep breathing your breath into my story of changes! The epic tale of The Fugitive Stag ...