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Robert Graves & The White Goddess

The Mystery of Death-in-Life & Life-in Death

When I was twenty years old and going to school in Berkeley, California, I found the strangest book by Robert engraves entitled: The White Goddess. Graves' book length essay sets forth a poetic argument that all true poetry is meant to be an invocation of the triple Goddess, Maiden-Mother-Crone/ Goddess of Birth, Life & Death. His test for a true poem was that it sent shivers up and down your spine because it actually called forth the presence of the Goddess. I was already ripe with feeling for the sacredness of the beauty of the Goddess who lived in the beauty and mystery of all women. In experiencing Kundalini Yoga in my early twenties, I became more intimately aware that the Goddess dwells in all men and women, as I felt the Goddess Kundalini come alive in my body, awakening the subtle senses of the Soul, transforming poetic thoughts of the Goddess into felt realities in my moment to moment awareness.

Here is a poem I wrote which owes much to the vision of the poetic mythology of Robert Graves and The White Goddess:

The Hunting of Wild Artemis

Dear Maud
The virgin becomes the whore
Wicked in her ways
Hunting love like wild Artemis
So then did Magdalen become Maud --
A virgin again
Repentant
Because she saw in the long suffering
Of her brother's blue eyes
A reflection of her own eyes
The suffering of the sailor
Lost in turning waves
Upon the edge of the infinite
Nightfall of stars
His eyes that met the pain
Of desire she felt in her body
Her slender hips
Her running thighs
Her tender breasts
Her softened lips
He looked right into the fullness
Of her need
She felt in the shimmer of her skin
That his body rose in burning too
And yet with eyes that cried out
Without weeping
He reached for something
Deep within her
Somehow beyond the grasp of her soft fingers
That tingled with the need to reach for him
Her eyes embraced his
And his eyes embraced hers
In that shared vision
They merged, making love
Desperate and pure
Without ever touching once
Skin to skin

Then he left her

Bewildered

Still desperate in her need

She saw him pulled away

With intrepid purpose

As if called by another lover . . .

How could there be another?

When they had touched just now

A place so sweet and terrible

That she knew had never been touched

In the whole history of the long suffering world

Not even by Eve with Adam

In the gardens of Paradise

Maud, you were born

On the first of May

As Beltane fires blazed

And the men & women

Danced together in skins

Some half naked

Bare breasted women

Leaping and turning

Fiery roses blushing

On their cheeks and shoulder

Their bellies and flanks;

Hairy chested men

Pounding their feet

Like drums upon the earth

Sweat flying in sprays

From curly locks of flowing hair

Orgasmic screams and howls

To make a wildcat start and gather

As the fires glow infernally

In an endless night of ecstasy

I am a bear of a man

Moving with a lumbering

And halting rhythm

Ugly and wild

Sly and reclusive

Bearded and hairy

The brotherly companion of Artemis

Upon her silver lit hunting

In the forest night

Though separated by form:

Her a naked Goddess

With a silver bow to slay

He who dares to hunt her:

I, a beast,

Ignorant of her angelic tongue

I am more a kinsman to her wild beauty

Than glorious Apollo

Lord of Light and sunlit day

Her brother

Forbidden by his own law

To know her pungent and intoxicating taste

Such a bear as I am

Like winged and lawless Eros

Whose lusty laughter

Echoes in the mountains with joy

To see the pain of men & women

He has made children again

Bewildered by the agonies

Of love in the labyrinth

Of forests & sacred groves

Of Rowan & Willow

Oak and Ivy and treacherous Yew

Of mountains and moonlight

And Beltane fires . . .

In frenzied ecstasy

The lovers dance

I, a bear, and you, a lover

Without her love

Come hunt with me

My beautiful beloved

Willowy hips

And Rowanberry lips

Blue eyes that sail

With sailor's ships

Upon the infinite nightfall of stars

The Beltane fires blaze eternally

Upon an endless night of ecstasy

For the companions

Of the wild Goddess

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