The passion pouring through these poems comes from universes inside us. That passion has correlatives in the world, this we know. Do the beauteous beings around us notice what they elicit? From a look, a gesture, a spoken word to these songs the journey is mythic. The voice comes with total assurance and I’d be foolish not to embrace it.
The word “poet” derives from the Latin for “maker,” but I don’t make these poems. They need shaping, yes, but “making”? There’s nothing new under the sun, and neither are these songs. They draw on a modern and ancient energy that flows, sometimes hardly noticed, through the substrate of our lives. Their essence is made already. I simply find them.
I’m a swimmer. A wave overtakes me, or I fall into a turbulence. It’s a current, a tide, a loam, a moving forest, a magma, running hot and fast, rich in nutrients, a churning, swelling and sinking, with troubling and vivid stuff. Words spill through the chaos and I run into them and somehow grasp them. I throw the words back out into the ordinary world.
Those words are a jumble. My effort then becomes like that of a sculptor. The words contain a song, yes, and I must cull and arrange and whittle to find it. And many of the words are placeholders. I peer behind these and I’m sucked back into the current, grabbing at more words and throwing them up on the shore.
I’m blessed to have found this voice, or so I’ve thought. A character in one of my unfinished stories began writing these songs and that seemed a miracle. She insisted I become her scribe and this became my challenge. Chalcedony (Kal-SAID-’n-ee), the quartz family mineral, was her name, chosen for its sound. Later a friend revealed the mineral carries the meaning, mythologically, of “the pure, blue feminine light of truth.” The word “feminine” is a convention, of course, to indicate part of the psyche. Males know this blue light as well.
My life changes as I write these songs. Their clarity of vision brings the world into focus. When I look into another’s eyes, underneath the conversation I sense a tide, rising and falling, of all the passions humans have ever felt, all the passions we are capable of feeling. These poems connect us with our authentic selves.
It became the most ordinary thing, after a while, to write the unmapped territory of our passion. That’s what’s uppermost in several billion people’s hearts, maybe also for every animal, and for every plant and tree, and even for every rock.
Writing these songs is my proper, everyday role, as commonplace as washing my face or putting on shoes.
PREFACE from Clive’s upcoming book of poetry Your Hands Say Breathless Rose