The treatment for the effects of birth trauma involves months and years of therapy, and even then may not be totally effective. A change in birth practices, however, involves far less time and is far more effective. In my opinion it is the most important action we can take in the field of mental health. [Arthur Janov, Imprints.]
Go, ruined heart, torn and shredded
wounded beyond soft Egyptian balm
Go, prosaic heart,
the flat horizon never was your home,
your home is the deserted temple.
Go, listless thing, pale creature,
the life bolt has been numbed,
Go, little heart, to where the water spirits
paint in cardinal green
Go there and eat an ivy leaf ... the world will sing,
Go to the house of madness
and praise the clawing moon, demand her favours.
Slip from the plain of grace,
and by the dusky earth be swallowed -
pay your ancient dues
and there before the Capricornian surge
you will be born,
spat upon the earth
naked in the rosy dawn
black and blue -
bruised from life's first struggle.
Imperfect, folding under gravity
the whispers of your heart
have yellowed and smudged.
I suppose it is a kind of silence
that these words and their blue
have come too late to save the
I suppose is a kind of dying
That I have no skills of translation
that allow me to read between the lines
and give a form to all your sighs
for such skills have died the more
since letters are all that's left.
And I have no will to
search those well spaced lines
of your labyrinth
And seek out the Bull-God
of your undoing.
For it would be a paper war
and a paper victory,
the word is all that remains
dried a royal-bloody
mapping out a silence that was our
conspiracy in pain.
DIBBUK AND MAN
... we seek rest by overcoming certain obstacles and once they are overcome, rest proves intolerable because of the boredom it produces .... we think either of present or of threatened miseries, and even if we felt quite safe on every side, boredom on its own account would not fail to emerge from the depths of our hearts, where it is naturally rooted, and poisons our whole mind. [Pascal]
In grey fields diluted by
uneasy reds and patches of
Universal black, we have made
We are prey to some dibbuk or other
and with our illness and our
blind numbed sensorium
we scratch out a life among mountains of
garbage and hope,
we press our groins against numb
and our dibbuks feed us images
of unreal delight,
we are predator and prey
victor and victim
dibbuk and man.
Yes, we have bought all manner
of illusions with our currency of pain
and no matter the hollowed shells
or the feeble groans of lovers
we will spend and spend
the scarlet notes to buy relief -
to purchase our reprieve from truth
The girl with seaweed hair
and strawberry lips
will one day strike you down
- if you are lucky.
She will kiss away the dibbuk's
sweating greed, the urges
that tangle and fascinate
and draw you toward a shadow
court ... she will animate
your thick and leathered skin
she will activate the Elan Vitale ...
* These three poems copyright Ian Irvine, 1998 all rights reserved.