The TOWER

From my evolving collection of Tarot Poems:

Tower Marseille Tarot

from the Marseille Tarot

illustrated by Jean Dodal

Tower Rider-Waite Tarot

from the Rider-Waite Tarot

illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith

To climb this is to reach out and to be repulsed.
We know the history : Babel being the prime case,
A step too near The House of God and down it comes:
Jupiter’s bolt of lightning, Zeus’ thunderclap, Jehova’s
Jealous guarding of the gateway to his sanctuary.
Our hubris or divine paranoia? One God’s defence

Against the many who throng the common world.
There are otherworlds around us too, islands
Over the sea, under the waves, below the earth
And right alongside us, a half-step away from here.
So why ascend? True, the ways are perilous, paths
May wind endlessly and then turn back nearly
To where they began; but never end in disillusion.
Never tip us like this tower through empty air.


 

The reflections leading to the poems begin from my past studies of the ‘esoteric’ decks, represented here by the Rider-Waite card, but primarily arise from my current historical study of the older Italian and French decks – represented here by Jean Dodal’s ‘Marseille’ card – and direct responses to the imagery. 

WINDOWS

Early morning landscape at Mynydd Bach
Mists in many hollows;
Some would find it magical
Others not notice at all.

There are many mysteries revealed in the everyday world if we care to be receptive to them and if we can be still long enough to experience them. A stillness of the spirit as well as of the body brings real presences in the world into touch with perception : two things moving into relationship to become one as they weave together what has been torn apart. So for a fleeting moment (which is forever) we are attuned to mysteries. This is to perceive the depths of things. But sometimes a reflection from a surface brings a sudden epiphany:

A WINDOW BURNS BRIGHT
ON A HILLSIDE FACING
THE GLASSY STILLNESS
OF THE WESTERN SEA
AT SUNSET

An ordinary window in the world for someone else to look through mirrors a splendour from far off sharpening the senses to ways in which windows both reflect and suggest ways of seeing through to otherness, glimpsing an otherworld, opening ways into it and paths along which gods may reveal their ways out of it, should our eyes be open to seeing them. Eyes, too, are windows which may be clear or clouded to different views:

EYEN

Even such obscure windows as these, filtering light and vision can enable a view for the seeing eye within as much as the clear glass onto a garden where the shade of leaves may hold deeper mysteries:

Through this window
a small corner of
Paradise glimpsed
momentarily as light
touched by shade under
buds breaking to
blossom on boughs
of a green apple tree

Such views are available to anyone who allows them to clear from the busyness of this and that. Cultivate deeper ways of seeing and whole landscapes of otherness may open up through windows which widen to gateways to travel through. Be open to promptings from within and what is without will open too as

The
N
A
R
R
O
W

ARROW
slit as in a castle wall

W – I – D – E – N – S

out to a FAR HORIZON

Or, like The Birds of Rhiannon, singing out on that horizon over the sea, come as close as a whisper in the ear to encircle and enclose you so that you might feel

Woven into the
stuff of the Universe.

Like a cat
purring
as the waves
of life
wash silkily
over skin
and the Earth
purrs too.

At dusk
something else
breathes mystery
into the
evening air,
silent with birdsong.

Night brings stars
and distances
in the closeness
of darkness
and otherness
deepens.

The Earth
is an anchor
holding the spirit firm
to sail to the stars.

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