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Arriving in Magic – Revised

Arriving in Magic – Revised


Below is the revised version of a poem that formed the title of my last collection.

Given what I have learnt over the past few months, I now realise that we don’t in any way own the wonderful magic of our existence with all its dark and light, no, rather we serve it and graciously have it on loan.

I wrote the original during my sabbatical, during which I meditated on this great poem by Goethe.

The Holy Longing

Tell a wise person, or else keep silent,
because the mass man will mock it right away.
I praise what is truly alive,
what longs to be burned to death.

In the calm water of the love-nights,
where you were begotten, where you have begotten,
a strange feeling comes over you,
when you see the silent candle burning.

Now you are no longer caught in the obsession with darkness,
and a desire for higher love-making sweeps you upward.

Distance does not make you falter.
Now, arriving in magic, flying,
and finally, insane for the light,
you are the butterfly and you are gone.
And so long as you haven’t experienced this: to die and so to grow,
you are only a troubled guest on the dark earth.

by Wolfgang von Goethe Translated from the German by Robert Bly

Here is the new version my poem:-

Arriving in Magic

Why do I always turn to the stone
to try again for a king’s sword,
when wizards wait out in the wood
set to take me into their service?
Again and again I am snatched
by flattery to step up and lead,
be on the team, sit on the board,
ignore the space that incubates.

No more can I pass the gap that gates
the path unnoticed, stepping through
towards mossy trees and fish’s glimmer,
novice to the green flame in the bud.
Magic is the fierce acceptance
of all that makes up this life’s course,
uttered bold in faith to the deep
unsleeping witness of the dark.

That unyielding and steady gaze lays
bare the me I really am and
not the me I would have you see.
Finding the dragon’s shadow dancing
vast on my small room’s wall and see
how often I’ve pinned its tail on you,
and as his scales form bright on my skin
I breathe deeply from his secret fire.

An old skin sheds no longer needed,
a way of good belonging now
outdated, letting go its grip I
find my orbit round a greater force.
No more am I a hub for hubris
to build its castle on, no longer
a beggar for attention but an
owl-eyed hunter for the untamed space.

The ring you place upon my finger
is a vow to serve the magic
in which gladly I now arrive.
Knowing too it was always there
waiting quietly in the trees beyond
with the wizard that is the forest
and inside the shadow I now own
with the magic graced to me on loan.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The last verse used to read:
The ring you place upon my finger
is a vow to grasp the magic
in which gladly I now arrive.
Knowing too it was always there
waiting quietly in the trees beyond
with the wizard that is the forest
and inside, the dragon who is me,
the magician I have come to be.

I have realised that my life in this magical world is about serving not grasping , about apprenticeship not mastery, about owning my own shadow and accepting the gracious loan of my creative faculties. Anything more is inflating and removes me from the extraordinary ordinariness of the green flame in the bud.

The book with this revision is available from adriangrscott.com