Psalm 9

By slow descent
By ladder lost
I make my way
No matter cost

To river mouth
To primal shore
Gather runes
A poet’s door

To ride upon
The impossible wave
The burning Word
My heart obeys

Till balance I
In grotto still
A weave of words
The soul to fill

Then wander on
My teachers three
This breathing ground
This ancient tree

Kevin Moran 11/2/11

Whakapapa: This psalm rose out of a dream. I was playing a game (like golf) with 3 other men. It was held in a riverbed full of small stones, near a lagoon at the mouth of the Grey River. There was a sense I was called to ride the impossible wave, do something that was utterly impossible; yet somehow I could do it. The older men were more experienced than I. I was just learning the game. They were teaching me. They would find rare stones & hit them with sticks into shrine-like areas. It didn’t seem to matter how many strokes they took to get there as long as they got there. The shrine/grotto areas were each unique & sacred. They were natural works of art. Sometimes the men hit the sacred stones many times through water on the way to the shrine. When the shrine was complete, they would move on to the next rune, hitting it toward the next grotto/shrine. I bent down & found a rune myself. It seemed alive. One of the men gave me a sacred rune & I put it in my pocket. I left the course temporarily to get the men food. I could see the direction the men were heading & would return & intercept them. I went into a type of station that sold food. I was served by a woman. I got food, including bacon for the men, then headed back toward the golf course. I was intent on rejoining &participating in this new game. This dream spoke to me about writing poetry: depth poetry. The writing process gathers runes into shrines, each unique & sacred. These distinctive gatherings become shrines of luminous poetry. Runes are primordial words & images. They rise numinous & unbidden from silence, meditation & dreams. The poet Paul Celan wrote, ‘If we can capture these words & images in their freshness, newly arisen from the unconscious, and use them in poetry, then these images, now words, feel numinous within the poem’s landscape. Primordial language then is felt, heard & seen. It is emotive in quality with weight as its predominant quality.* I was aware as I wrote the poem of a steady beat that rose with it, like a shaman’s drum. I trusted this beat & allowed the poem to form around it. It rose to be spoken. When I think of ‘my teachers three’ I think of William Blake, W. B. Yeats & Kathleen Raine & the connection I feel with ‘Tradition.’ Poetry that springs out of ‘Tradition’ is poetry that connects with the wellsprings of ‘Inspiration’. It is poetry which connects with the soul, & orientates toward the eternal Self & the primordial images that arise out of Anima Mundi (the World Soul). The poem has many symbolic allusions including the last line, ‘this ancient tree’: in Tradition, ‘the tree of life.’ *‘Thoughts on Primordial Words, while reading Celan’; posted by KWH on the internet site: Literature, Art, and Poetry.

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