I Will Sleep Skyclad Tonight

Don’t look into the light at midday,
they’ve claimed to have poisoned the sun;

don’t smell the sounds of the night,
they’ve whispered of rotting the moon’s breath;

don’t touch your skin to fresh rain,
they’ve said clouds will burst with man-spew;

don’t listen to the chants in the wind,
they’ve infected the breeze with nightmares;

don’t look,
don’t smell,
don’t touch,
don’t listen,
don’t dream,
don’t be…
Witch child,
they’ve spoken of such—

Shhh, dear Love.
I will sleep skyclad tonight:
flesh and bones 
curled on the Mother’s soil,
soul cloaked 
in the ever-watching eye of my Dead,
will powered by the love of my Living.

I shall kiss the morning
with my heart open,
and wake the world with laughter
when Mawu-Lisa warms my lips with three rays of mirth.

But, they’ve—

Shhh, dear Love.
I placed my three words over her trembling mouth,
for silence and for peace…
Let them, I said,
for the forsaken, too, hunger for discourse.


Note:  this poem began to take shape after someone described the painting below as “too scary, too exposed… [and] is that a skull under her?” She said that it looked as if “dead people” were about to get the girl. I examined the piece for a long time, marveling at how our experiences and beliefs can affect our interpretations of the same work of art. Many people feel uneasy around anything that reminds them of mortality. But I find safety in thinking of those who have traveled to the Summerland. I mean, if the dead were interested enough in the affairs of the living to want to hurt us, wouldn’t this suggest that a whole line of those who loved us in life and are now gone would be setting protective spiritual perimeters around us? It only makes sense to me when both are true. How can anyone fear the possibility of the former without finding solace in the promise of the latter? Hm… unless every dead person we knew didn’t quite like us, and the living we know cant wait to die in order to pull our toes.

for Imaginary Garden with Real Toads ~ Open Link Monday
Possession, by SunshineShelle

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P.S. Fly over over to Shelle’s blog. She is giving away one of her paintings.

50 comments:

  1. ironical!! will dead really hurt or seek revenge which they couldn't;y when they were alive?

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    1. We better be nice to each other then. Not only to avoid vengeful spirits, but to make sure that many protective spirits (who loved us while alive) will stand between us a murderous gonner. ;-)

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    2. Um... let's pretend my "gonner" has an invisible "n", all right? *cough*

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  2. "I mean, if the dead were interested enough in the affairs of the living to want to hurt us, wouldn’t this suggest that a whole line of those who loved us in life and are now gone would be setting protective spiritual perimeters around us? It only makes sense to me when both are true. How can anyone fear the possibility of the former without finding solace in the promise of the latter?"

    In many ways, you've just perfectly articulated the reason I'm so drawn to the dark. I find an odd comfort in the idea of scary, malevolent, supernatural-y things because the logical inference to me is that there must then exist caring, benevolent, protective counterbalances.

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    1. Acknowledging that the universe is balance will take care of so many of our fears, methinks. So I double-agree; if there is dark, there must be light... in all places: on this and on the other side of the veil. "...protective counterbalances" rule! ♥

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  3. Do we respect or fear the dead? Excavations at burial temples in ancient Crete show that people danced on platforms just outside their bonehouses; but also the doors were shut in a manner that suggests they were meant for keeping the dead from getting back into their lives. There's a massive culture built up against preventing death (religion, but also sex & shopping & football imbue feelings of immortality), but that's counterbalanced by our growing down, of taking nourishment from the dark. Possession and rapture are two faces of the same dark spirit; I suppose it transforms when one grows from fear to love. Nicely done and put for the pumpkin Monday.

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    1. What a great question! I think the problem starts when for former turns into the later (or only the later). And how I delight in your last sentence. I shall share it, for it's way too awesome to keep just to myself. ;-)

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  4. fascinating piece. I am not a fan of the gothic. But I identify with the determination to nourish one's own beliefs in the face of clamouring disapproval.

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    1. I don't think Gothic describes the cultural worship (and respect) of dead ancestors and friends. For it would involved a kind of horror, which isn't (or at least shouldn't be) present when one is putting one's safety in the hands of a dear departed. But I understand your perspective, when taking into account what's currently going on in pop culture.

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  5. LOL, yes, this exactly! And I've used a similar line of reasoning to comfort my daughter at times (If there are any ghosts here it is of old farmers, and rather than scare you they'd probably prefer to go find a ghost cow to milk or a ghost sock to darn). They're just folks who have walked around here before, so nothing to worry too much over, especially when there are dead of your own who care.

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    1. And you tell our dear Rosie, um... I mean, Miss Rose, that farmers are highly allergic to nonsense. So if a mischievous ghost even thinks of mayhem, a good old farmer will probably smack him or her on the back of the head... and then find some chores for him or her to do. ;-D

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  6. OWWOOOO! Sweetness and life! This view of parent and child--to me it feels like mother and child--brings back memories and dreams from awhile back. But you enrich the story with repetition and meter so this feels like a lullaby. And the last line, I believe to be true in every place, faith, and time.

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    1. I love that you say that it "feels like a lullaby." I was swaying while I was writing this; feeling its music feed the words. And your, line rings particularly true to me. ;-)

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  7. The last line is my favorite. Which is the tricky part, not letting the forsaken suck one into them, so desperate they get to touch star-light.

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    1. Your responses rockeths very mucho.

      Yes, I don't only make up words. I conjugate them, too. :-D

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  8. What a beautiful poem! The girl looks so brave and wild to me, I bet she could dance with the dead and nobody would get hurt!

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    1. I believe you are correct! ♥

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  9. They precede us! For that they might leave certain guides beneficial to us. Not reinventing the wheels should ensure progress and savings in resources! Great lines Magaly!

    Hank

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    1. Right on, Hank. We don't have to start everything from scratch again...

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  10. Are we really scared of the dead, or is it our mortality that scares the most.? Might be why a skull would be so scary... I love the word skyclad by the way...

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    1. I believe you're correct, señor mio. And ditto on the skyclad bit... ;-)

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  11. Saw this image on Shelleis blog... can't think they wee looking at the same image. I see a sensual and totally "at ease" figure, basking in the glow of some inner knowledge. Maybe the person was to focused their own inhibitions to recognise "serenity" when they see it :D XXX

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    1. I asked a few people since. And I've noticed that depending on certain factors (religion seems to be a really strong one), most people from "beautiful" and "erotic" to "sinfully" and "disturbing". It's quite curious...

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  12. There are so many ways to be "dead"

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  13. The painting is affecting but I find your words tap into to the psyche to a far deeper degree, examining both the fear and the acceptance of life in its entirety. Ultimately, it allows for upliftment of self.

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    1. I've always thought that a healthy dose of fear isn't such a bad thing; particularly when we recognize that we don't have to allow it to rule our behavior. Reaching this balance should certainly lead us towards "upliftment," methinks.

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  14. I loved your poem! It has been a long time since i read a poem that i found this enchanting and mesmerizing!
    As for the painting i thought it was more sexual than anything else!!!!

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  15. A chilling and captivating poem here Magaly. The double edged sword of the experiences of life.

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  16. This poem is dark yet hopeful at the same time. I like it. And thanks for the link to Mawu-Lisa; a bit of African mythology lesson for me.

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    1. I'm glad you found the link helpful!

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  17. I love how you make me look at things. Death is scary to us, because we fear the unknown. But mystery is such an important part of life, and the more we can honor all aspects of the spiral, the more we will find our balance in the center.

    Beautiful poem.

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    1. "...the more we can honor all aspects of the spiral, the more we will find our balance in the center." I like this very much.

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  18. A balance makes sense to me - a healthy respect for the balance of life - which IS death .. and fear of the darker side of death - which most want to avoid. All Hallows Eve (if one separates the cultural "thing" it is now) is really an embracing of the souls who go on to the next realm - or something like that. I know Mexico has quite a celebration … I really like your last stanza.

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    1. Indeed... Like blueoran suggests in his comment (see above), ancient civilizations celebrated (and protected themselves from) their dead, way before The Church adopted some of the practices and gave them labels that fitted their worldview. I think that one of the things that continues to cycle, when it comes to this issue, is the going from fear to reverence to rejection to fear... and so on.

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  19. "I shall kiss the morning
    with my heart open,
    and wake the world with laughter
    when Mawu-Lisa warms my lips with three rays of mirth."
    I love this! This painting called to me when I saw it on Shelles blog, and your words really give voice to its soul, I think.

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    1. My Piano Man and you, my Sexy Sister Sarah, have similar tastes. He, too, loved those lines, especially the last.

      And about Shelle, that colorful woman has a thing for painting the words out of my skull. ;-D

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  20. I love your poem, Magaly. ^_^

    The woman looks so strong to me. Strong enough to dance and writhe in ecstasy, to look her abyss full in the face, take its hand, walk with it a ways and then let it fade back when she's ready to move back into lighter places... with a kiss and promise that she'll be back someday again.

    A difficult and strange dance, to be sure, but one that stitches our Shadow-Self back to the rest of our Self and makes us whole again.

    XOXO

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    1. Ah, just imagine the things this dance could teach the dancing partners! Love it. ♥

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  21. I just love that painting and the words that it inspired! I suppose us Pagans don't get spooked or weirded out as easily as many other folks, only inspired!

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    1. I supposed you are correct. I would even add that we might be some of the things that get the others all weirded out, lol!

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  22. The painting and your words make a powerful statement. I love sleeping "skyclad." Amazing piece!

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  23. OK FIRST.... THANK YOU, man I have had a ball reading interpretations of 'Possession' and for all of us who hunger for your words, my smile just ate my face, so thrilled that you were inspired to write 'Skyclad' in response... Love love LOVE!!! Now I have to tell you, Big F & I have changed internet providers, and somehow, our old provider cut us off 3 days (early) before the new providers contract kicked in (I'm thinking spite or just after so much bad service, a case of 'who gives a shit?')... one does not realise their internet addiction until they sit watching TV and realise they are also playing 'Cookie Crunch' in their head!!
    BTW, Nailed it!! Your reply to Gina... seeing this artwork from "beautiful" and "erotic" to "sinfully" and "disturbing" an image depending on background is so true, I think those words aren't exclusive of each other, they can be ALL of these ;) Thank You Magaly and to all the wonderful insights that were posted by your followers :D

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    1. I think one of the most powerful comments we can receive about our art, my dear Shelle, is that it inspires so many different (wonderful, scary, exciting...) things. And your does all of that. Thank you for sharing it with us. ♥

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    2. Oh, and your former internet providers sucketh very mucho. What bastards!

      I agree with your, um... agreement *cough*. Beautiful can be disturbing, and some erotic things can be sinfully beautiful. And loud; they can be rather loud, too.

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  24. give the dawn a kiss is a sweet gesture.
    animated writing.
    loving it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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