There were days that even Judy had the Blues.
But there are days when all lost souls do...

Friday, June 25, 2004

Old Millennium Dancing Shoes

(Saint Joan and Guinevere)

Don't let it be misunderstood
what it is to be alone with an overwhelming mood,
to be untaken once again, a savage wallflower at the waltz,
waiting for a chance to see eternity, not me, improve its stance—
but, how, dear distant Guinevere—how can I say that?

It is so seldom understood
why that which is chosen is most difficult in all the world,
why human hearts confused by doubts become enclosed by walls—
why did they not break out or dare to ask
that lonely brave young Joan of Arc to dance?

Don't try to tell it now to any woman or any man,
don't even try to understand, how this reality of lies
surrounds us like a phantom's spell too subtle to undo.
Love's pirouettes in new soft shoes are all as real, World News avows,
as this old-dancing-shoe world-weariness will allow.

If you think cold sober reason can defend us from such dizzy views,
attend with me this still interior spinning room,
recline with me and shine those coal-black eyes I love this way
till gloom comes up the sheets like flames and clings to me
like smoke and stings your lids and leaves your lips quite parched...

How many dazed and daunted fools here, Gwen,
have seen the undisguised device or tool
of endless time reveal itself
and stood their ground before it?
How many voices strangled in the middle of—

Whose given word unbroken will have the strength to cry aloud
when silent tears have drowned us in our pride, yet left us dry?
There's such a world of difference now between
Saint Joan's unfaded passion and what is left of mine.
Christ, be my new religion, Gwen, the wine on which I choke!

Well, why not laugh? Am I another priest or clerk
whose soul records this wide and syncopated concatenation of lies?
A cipher whose unsteady slate chalks up the works and warps
of clumsy possibilities, of cockeyed evolution? Who dances
minuets in mud-boots at the ball and mars the parquet floor?

Time again, time that's hung with festive variation,
time in fluid movement through the seasons,
through space arranged just-so for no apparent reason,
while celibates with beards hang fire in dominoes and masks,
limp puppets on taut strings with only one thing left to do...

When time and space put on their ballet shoes and spin,
whatever keeps us cheek-to-cheek will do for us, we grin,
within the raveled convolutions of this costume ball gone bad—
but, still, that which is constant amid our own inconstancy
in part becomes our God. So, can you imagine the paradox I'm in?

The puppet-master moves the puppet,
but man is moved by nothing, or, like that damned Cauchon,
by nothing but momentum and inertia,
forgetting every heedless, dark, and broken heart that watched
the clean white hem of Joan's unarmored muslin smock begin to burn,

while time moved forth, at first slowly, lately fast,
it never stops or pauses, but glides like wind through grass
beyond the reach of love's embrace and far beyond recall
as season follows fallow season disguised as Guinevere
and we invent new reasons to turn away from grace.

Despite it all, I am a worldly man—
neither hedonists nor ascetics have ever made
much sense to me; in truth or maya, both will bleed.
So, turning, I stumble one little step further
and pray that one step is what leads to another...

Alone again with an overwhelming mood,
I dream of Joan of Arc's undying, aching, fiery soul
and love's expiring old soft-shoe for Gwen
as if such strength and sweetness could be true,
as if I ever knew that dance—but how can I say that?


Note: Pierre Cauchon

Pierre Cauchon (kosho), 1371-1442, Bishop of Beauvais, Joan of Arc's tireless persecutor; the primary judge in her 1431 trial. He felt that her refusal to wear women's clothing was by itself proof of her disobedience to the church and of her heresy. At the same time, neither he nor any other official said or did anything to protect her when her brief effort to comply resulted in the English military guards being demonstrative about their sexual interest in her. In short, they attacked her, though she and God fought them off. Unfortunately, she and God did not have the same success with Cauchon's conduct of the trial.

Joan's "rehabilitation" trial took place in 1456. She was canonized in 1920.

10th draft: 06/26/04
©1975 Ronald C. Southern

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Judy Garland's Blues

Why was Judy Garland sad?
Did she have everything—but not love?
What drove Judy Garland mad,
Or do I give her too much credit?

Was she just privately unlucky, after all the public luck?
Did she have two armfuls of nothing in the worn valises
She dragged into another mansion of expenses, pills, and airs
Amid lost things never declared, forever beyond her reach?

Did she have everything—but not love?
Was she too often left behind as a child
Or was she poisoned in the vein
As by too many drinks or a rattlesnake...

Twisted by some familial demon spirit she became
That Voodoo spirit, the reel and spin, the deadly living blues,
Forever frightened—no matter her age or image or magic—
Of what to choose and what to lose, out of control to the end?

Did she, like you, like me, have everything—
But could not feel the love that others gave
Or stay as brave as needed every moment?


Current draft: 4/12/2010
3rd draft: 04/26/05
©2004 Ronald C. Southern br/>
[This is a separate and different title from the blog title.]

Colorful Judy

The Creature

Ron Southern,
Chigger, Texas, USA

Personal Labels:

Clean and easy-going. Dirty-minded, paranoic, catatonic, droll, drastic, dramatic, savage, uptight, dribbling, abstruse, and timid.

Not to even mention artful, artistic, abusive, misleading, abrasive, manipulative, dodgy, sneaky, and totally unforgiving!

How about poetic, pansified, petty, pornographic, always preening, and a little peculiar about what feels good!

The Poem With The Similar Title

©Ronald C. Southern

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