Straw Flowers

Straw Flowers
"Straw Flowers" by L. Folk

Monday, May 2, 2016

Est Deus in Nobis (Upon Waking)


What are you reaching for?

What are you yearning for?
You, craving this beauty or that truth
stirring like the vixen at three
in the morning her haunt wailing
under a hollowed out moon.
I cracked open the door
and cold early May stepped inside
while two stars sat like birds on
the horizon.

I went back to sleep.


In a dream, I walked to a shrine
in the woods where men
were learning to genuflect
and women ceremoniously disrobed
displaying each middle-aged body,
each forgotten hip and lacy breast.
In a vestibule, Asian scholars
translated texts that had recently been
unearthed; young people
with wide brows
reached out their hands to me.

I went out the side door

and worried I would not get back in.
Outside the shrine, beyond
the wing-backed stones,
beyond the fat, loose vines
and rusted gate were artists
peddling their wares.
I wanted to stop, I could have stopped

but this wayward beggar of thoughts--
yours, his, hers--this wayward beggar
of thoughts that I am,
I rambled on.

3 comments:

  1. First few lines here really spoke to me. It is THAT feeling that urges me to create, yet also makes me feel like I might go crazy....

    "What are you reaching for?

    What are you yearning for?
    You, craving this beauty or that truth
    stirring like the vixen at three
    in the morning her haunt wailing"

    A feeling that begs me to be creative yet also, when ignored, easily turns into depression. It is like a question hanging in the air that stops me in my tracks, wakes me up, "At three in the morning her haunt wailing."

    This is something I wrote when depressed:

    "Something about the situation made me feel absolutely stripped bare. I feel like I'm standing before a great gaping void naked as can be, a tree without its bark, a tooth without its enamel. Asking "what?" And feeling crushed by enormity."

    The above, to me, parallels what you wrote...which began with a series of questions.

    I remember hearing about indigenous people somewhere saying that depression is actually spirits trying to warn society by communicating through an individual. Depression can certainly have an intuitive feel about it.

    A muse that, when ignored, does not invite but actually haunts... Not a whisper but a, "Wail." It turns into Creativity Perverse, as described in your book.

    It is interesting that many artists also suffer from depression. As you have written about.

    Where does the muse come from, and could it somehow be linked to depression? As if a spirit, trying to communicate through a messenger, urges the artist to take what hangs in the air and nail it down into a two-dimensional sign post. If the artist refuses, does the muse give up or urge a bit louder, a bit stronger? Could it lead some into depression?

    Terrance Mccenna said:

    "The artist’s task is to save the soul of mankind; and anything less is a dithering while Rome burns. Because of the artists, who are self-selected, for being able to journey into the Other, if the artists cannot find the way, then the way cannot be found."

    How could the artist know the way into the Other if not for a calling, a soft whisper or a haunting, a
    "Wail," from that Other place? If not for a question hanging in the air that demands to be asked. A "Reaching...yearning....craving," for,
    "Beauty," or, "Truth." Like a spirit trying to communicate from beyond.

    Depression feels like a, "Dithering while Rome burns."

    I know that depression is an illness... I just want to talk about how it feels... The odd connection between creativity and depression...

    For me, it feels like a tap on the shoulder. I am forever turning around, asking, "What? Who's there? Tell me what you want and be on your way." At three in the morning.

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  2. This is fantastic, Anonymous, and I might use it somewhere (I'll let you know where). What you wrote here is key "if the artist refuses, does the muse give up or urge a bit louder, a bit stronger? Could it lead some into depression?" The answer is a resounding yes. The depression not only comes from the illnesses of the world, it comes from one's own incapability to handle/process those illnesses, to handle Rome burning. So we internally harbor Hell, without regurgitating it in some form or another, back out, without turning it into insight. Part of the reason we do this is that we believe we don't have the power to transform Rome burning. Depression is rooted in an acute lack of faith, particularly in oneself. So the answer is be fearless. CREATE AT ALL COSTS or it just might kill you. Easier said than done, I know. That's why an artist needs a village; that's why an artist needs compassion, a safety zone in which to process it all. Mentors to balance the muse, if you will.

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  3. Also, the name of the poem "Est Deus in Nobis" means the god within us, which indicates power. How we use that power is the question.

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