I wrote this poem on a prompt of the word midnight and wanted to share some insights on the word choices. Without getting too deeply into it at this time (though I wish this was my job), I’d like to share a short key.
the witches gather
and abdicate their veils,
revel by the sconce
of fearless perception
on the winged misdivision
of the adder and the newt;
sing basilisk elegies and play,
then fly away when lore
gives way to darker hours.
The Witching Hour is from midnight to 1am, and the Devil’s Hour, the darker lore, is from 3am to first light. The 3am time is thought to be an inversion of the 3pm time that Christ was crucified.
Veil refers to both veiled feminine insight, personified by the goddess, and the veil of perception between worlds, most notably the mortal world and the preternatural world. Veil of perception also refers to mystical insight, studied and learned on the quest for transmutation. Females were long kept from study, science, sacral roles, healer roles; and the female alchemist was moreoften referred to as a witch. They don’t explain this well on the CW channel. Popular culture puts a lot of more work to put into fetishizing the feminine and nurturing generations to assume gender roles.
[I hope this explains to a certain friend of mine why I trailed off when he referred to my work as “witchy shit.” I study all kinds of things and have been writing a long time, so it is annoying to hear my efforts dismissed as being some kind of misunderstood mystical lunacy. Many have hemmed me into self-doubt over the years, by implying or directly saying that my work is too opaque–Dense! Confusing! Baffling! Weird for the sake of being weird! Perplexing! Cryptic! A word spell striptease! You have to slooowly arrive at a plain, relatable idea: the arrival!]
It took me many years to realize the gift of outer critics and how their energy frees up my inner critic.
Okay, it feels like a weight is lifted every time I post about the slights that have chipped away at my energy, enthusiasm, and motivation. I will get back to the short & sweet key. … And not go on about how gender is weaponized, consciously or unconsciously (please do wake the fock up), to reduce competition. The gloves fit differently but they are on.
Sconce refers to light, illumination, discovery, revelation. From Abscondere! Abracadabra!
Regarding nadder and ewt, the misdivision reference is about bracketing, or metanalysis. Nadder lost the ‘n’ from spoken ref to ‘an adder’ and ewt gained an ‘n’ from ref to “an ewt.” Spelling mistakenly recorded. I liked how the imagery conjures the idea of treacherous witches stirring their cauldrons and adding eye of newt or tongue of asp. There’s more on why misdivision is winged, but it is work to clarify, and basilisk is next.
Basilisk, adjective, means spellbinding, and as a noun is a lizard; and as noun in lore, a lizard known for its lethal stare.
Kinda cool, right? Cool to reflect and consider language and poetic reference. I do understand the need to give some context and always read the Norton Anthology notes, etc, especially with James Joyce. How cool! But I don’t have a whipsmart publisher. Yet. I’m standing between critics and breakthroughs to new levels. And I am hungry to spill gold.
Time still for gold to spill: the fleece, the bough, and the ratio
All those mysteries alive at your fingertips
Above as so below
(from a song I lyricized and sang years ago with a talented artist who hasn’t released it yet, probably due to the pandemic. It refers to the golden fleece, the golden bough, and the golden ratio. Did I need to say that? We’ll never know.)