Psalm 41

shudder by daily shudder, the fissures spread across the ever-loosening
blocks of my failing house, yet not house but swan, the royal white swan

descending in awkward dignity, to settle tranquil on the dark pool of my days –
it is the swan, the white swan, who brings me to my knees; as if she & I, pen & cob

are one swan, one primordial swan, present before time began, before humanity’s
startled hand could lift trowel to block; concealing… soul’s imperial light


Kevin Moran, 22/10/10

Whakapapa: I centred this psalm around two interwoven images: the zigzagging cracks down one side of our concrete block house, caused by the ongoing earthquakes, and a recent dream of a white swan. A female swan is called a pen; a male swan, a cob.

Part of the dream: “Suddenly the climax of the creative event happened. It was like an artistic religious ritual. A living white swan was lifted onto the tips of the gathered feminine hands; instantly a white dove flew from my hands toward it. I was stunned & filled with a sense of awe.”

The symbolism of the white swan includes the white swan as a manifestation of Light. Sometimes the white swan symbolises a synthesis of both the light of the sun & light of the moon & becomes hermaphroditic & is even more charged with mystery and holiness. In alchemy, the white swan is a symbol of the marriage of opposites, fire & water, & is connected with hermaphroditism. The swan also symbolises the power of the poet & of poetry itself.
While writing this poem I reflected on Hexagram 32 of the I Ching: ‘Fixing the Omen/Persevering’ In Stephen Karcher’s commentary On the I Ching, he writes: ‘Persevering’ refers to creating rituals and symbols that ‘fix’ the spirit’s influence so that it endures in your life. This symbolic activity is similar to writing down a dream, perceiving its message and making a symbol that recalls the influence and acts as a guide to action.’1) Much of my poetry is motivated by a desire to ‘fix’ the omen of a dream, or an insight given to me by the Self, so its influence can endure.

1) The Total I Ching, Myths for Change, Stephen Karcher, Pg. 259

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