Please note that the poems and essays on this site are copyright and may not be reproduced without the author's permission.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Shadow Play



The thumping you hear -- if you can picture it --
Is the footfall of Beauty as she goes
Her morning rounds. A sound may be a picture
Of reality as we imagine it,
Or should I say desire it, dear.
And then, blink, we are our grandparents
Physically, yet estranged in our minds
From all but this, now. North wind, power goes out.
A candle's lit creating shadow play.


Click Memory, unwanted, unexpected
Images Display; pasts come flooding in, slow,
Flicking yellow glow on endarkened wall. Hello
Interior landscape we've always
Traveled, Dear One, by a Lake of Dreams -- looking
For that light-in-window fleeting house
Now a cottage haunted by passing strangers
Who were never there. The night's cold,
Bells do not toll here at midnight any more.

File:El Greco - Allegory, Boy Lighting Candle in Company of Ape and Fool (Fábula).JPG

Cottage window: photo by Jackie Ohlsen, 2009
Candle wick burning: photo by Matthew Bowden, 2004
Allegory with Boy Lighting Candle in the Company of an Ape and a Fool (Fábula): El Greco, 1589-92 (National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh)


. said...

Makes me think of all those interiors: of our histories,our minds,those moments wrapped in lengths of time,yet at one exact moment also. Almost like when reality is equally unreal. Wonderful.


TC said...

Yes. I suppose it is indeed a rather isolated and interior life that is reflected here, as one grows away from the world toward... what, another world? How many are we allowed?

. said...

maybe limitless.

Dale said...

This is a nice compliment to the Wallace Stevens candle poem you posted at Vanitas....

Anonymous said...

I do enjoy the images you always seem to conjure up in my mind's eye. I take them with me long after I have read your words. Know that!

TC said...

Mind's eye is the place where this happens.

I see that candlelit window in the fleeting house from two perspectives in my mind's eye, first from the perspective of a lonely night traveller through unknown country whose heart is lifted, even from far off, by the sight of a light in a window, welcoming and consoling; and second from the interior perspective of the one waiting by the fragile light inside the fleeting house.

(It is in the context of the unpredictable and uncontrollable shiftings and reversals of those basic points of perspective that I would gratefully see such communications as these.)

TC said...

(Huh? Come again? Speak English?)

This might help:

I lit my purest candle close to my
Window, hoping it would catch the eye
Of any vagabond who passed it by
And I waited in my fleeting house

(Tim Buckley, "Morning Glory")

TC said...

And here's where the kid sings it, back in prehistory: Morning Glory

TC said...

And in fact, to be fair, here's the whole song: is it just me, or is this message meant for us, now?

I lit my purest candle close to my
Window, hoping it would catch the eye
Of any vagabond who passed it by,
And I waited in my fleeting house

Before he came I felt him drawing near;
As he neared I felt the ancient fear
That he had come to wound my door and jeer,
And I waited in my fleeting house

"Tell me stories," I called to the Hobo;
"Stories of cold," I smiled at the Hobo;
"Stories of old," I knelt to the Hobo;
And he stood before my fleeting house

"No," said the Hobo, "No more tales of time;
Don't ask me now to wash away the grime;
I can't come in 'cause it's too high a climb,"
And he walked away from my fleeting house

"Then you be damned!" I screamed to the Hobo;
"Leave me alone," I wept to the Hobo;
"Turn into stone," I knelt to the Hobo;
And he walked away from my fleeting house

Anonymous said...

You know I CAN hear the words in my head.I can image. And I am liking such because I can.

Jackie said...

So nice of you to use my Photo. The day was ebbing and it was so hot it was like a portal in time to be in the cool of that room and watch the light move, flash then fade into the evening which was gently infused with the cricket's song.

TC said...


Yes, imagination is everything.


How lovely to slip through these portals in time and space... thank you so much for your beautiful photo!

Andrew Bowie Hagan said...


I quoted your book
John's Heart also on a Facebook site.
The only copy I have
I send to a girl,
in Charleston.

what's funny- the text is dutifully
recorded on Facebook (save Aram)
(is a real person) on a website
-wants a grove- (I changed it )
yet in pasting it to your site, the text changed, mercifully, I think, quite unbeknownst to my design. Thanks for your friendship.

human being said...

again you left a map for me to start a treasure hunt... and i'm here reading this stunning work... taking in the beauty shared... a life lives in a moment...
the theme of light and shadow and the way they play with each other (:D) is one of my favorites...

really impressive work

this part just killed me:

"... Or should I say desire it, dear."

human being said...

*... a life lived in a moment...

TC said...


Thanks for coming. (That's why a light was left in the window.)

It's after midnight now, no more bells, or candles, or books.

Not much time left to return the sky to its mother...