Sunday, April 19, 2009

Science Indistinguishable from Magic

For Ann Elliott, on her 80th birthday. This poem references two other poems, written respectively for my mom and dad on their 75th birthdays; these can be found at: The title refers to one of the science fiction writer Arthur C. Clark’s Three Laws. There is a video of me reading the poem at the following link, although it may be necessary to sign up for my brother Joseph’s Kyte video/photo streaming service to view it: .

1. Breaking

Three years ago, the valley filled with white,
Science failed, the great oaks broke,
And with them our hearts, a veil torn in two.

The Shaman passed through that veil;
But your journey took a different path,
A winding way: great pain, many places.

Knees, back, foot: these had to be broken and restored,
These parts of us that must be strong and stand,
But whose real strength is bend and flex.

And you yourself were strong,
And like the willow you willed yourself
To bend and flex in new ways.

2. Rite of Passage

For your rite of passage, you became a pilgrim,
And wound your way among your children’s homes,
Until at last you came to Scotland.

There, you took up the Shaman’s mantle
To heal the Borders, where modern, dark plantations
Cover the land, smother ancient war wounds.

Instead of reiving, we rode from point to point
Of a great triangle, from a hill above Hawick,
To Wauchope Forest and Hermitage Castle.

In each place we made Kaddish, praying
In remembrance, and for healing, laying
A crystal, leaving a sign of the Labyrinth.

3. Reintegration

I Ching knows, all things return:
Polarities shift, your science and his magic;
Old Yin becomes Yang.

You’ve turned another corner on your
Winding way, had your house rebuilt,
Made the Shaman part of you.

In daily dialog with him, you’ve found
Your voice, rebalanced yourself,
And grown to become the Shaman-Crone.

And as you’ve journeyed these last three years,
You’ve found your Science has advanced enough
And is now indistinguishable from his Magic.

-10 April 2009, Good Friday

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