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Spy, thief, beggar, and the merchants of
grief meet in the halls of great relief,
to receive instruction from above.

The poet we’ve tested for belief
has vanished into a thorny wood,
but the trees protect her with their leaf

and root. Pursuing her now, no good
would come. She knows your scent and taste too
well. It’s time you all removed your hoods.


The sunny god watched his shadowed crew
disrobe, disarm their twilight disguise,
while his tidal mate cold ashes blew

into a flame, revealing high shelves
where all the selves of one book of life
lay scrolled in a chrysalis of cells.

Instructions we will leave, good wife,
in the purveying of great relief,
joyful and wealthy, absent of strife.


In every endeavour, three is chief.
Ask with trust. Relax, allow. Receive.
A looping pair, delight and mischief

are the cursive pen of Logos, word,
the poet’s ink, the poet’s gold, met
halfway if not more by our great lord

of commerce, quick-silvered, wings of jet;
his flash outruns, outshines the copper
coins and bits of markets that don’t let.


Though mulish still, she is well trained. Her
ear is glued to all we’re saying. She’ll
steal us blind; we’ll come around to better

sight and so on, both deeply and well
the poet is heard. She knows that we
never left nor ceased to toll her bell.

Here ends our treatise, friends, that will free
any poet who wishes to see
abundance wed with infinity.

The priestess gathers her I / you / we
and sails off to meet her destiny.



Post Script: A Recap on Poetic Form

If you’ve been reading Oceantics for a while, you’ll know that I enjoy playing with the fixed verse forms handed down to us from medieval troubadours. Those fabulous men and women were not only composers of music and verse, they were storytellers. They developed wit and wisdom that informed, entertained, and, no doubt, inflamed. The best of them, I suspect, held no expectations of a long life span.

For this narrative series, I employed four forms beginning with the sestina. Part II is a septime, for which I can provide no Wiki link, as I developed the form myself. It’s basically the seven version of the six-based sestina, with a more chaotic end word sequence.

In Part III, the 8-syllable, 8-line ottava rima (octave) gave me the dramatic tightening I wanted for that most unhappy setting.The concluding episode I’m calling an ennead, the Greek term for a set of nine. 9-syllable, 9-line poems, apparently, are rare. Research brings up the word nonet, which sounds to me like a hair stiffening product for the food industry.

An ennead, on the other hand, will navigate you through the 3-tiered deities of ancient Egypt, as perceived by the Greeks. I used the terza rima rhyme scheme for its delightful tractor-like pull.

So, in brief, my form choices were 6, 7, 8, 9. If you’re an aficionado of Near East mysticism, you’ll have no trouble identifying the thorny tree. Thank you for reading!

© Elaine Stirling, 2014