For NaPoWriMo Day 28
The Mentor Speaks
Once upon a time, in a time
long, long ago, poets were believed
to be magicians. Believed to hold
and wield a certain power. And
on some level, to a certain degree,
they were and they did.
But, as often happens in human
affairs, those who actually held
power became jealous of anyone
who might, other than themselves,
have or hold even the smallest
ounce of that particular substance.
It has been said, and truly so,
“Beware of the lesser god, for he
will do whatever he needs to gain
the power he seeks with single
And so there came a darkness
across the land, at first slowly
in shades and shadows. Unsatisfied,
these lesser gods came to discern
that poets shared a similar energy
with anyone who created anything.
At first, it was only poets who were
punished, but soon it was also
anyone who read poetry or dared
to own it. In no time at all, that same
mindset was turned against painters,
sculptors, carvers and so on.
Laws were enacted, narrow guidelines
of what could or could not be created.
And darkness covered the land that
once flourished, but now withered,
locked into a life of utter subsistence.
The darkness went on for several
centuries, until those lesser gods
found Nature herself to be unclean.
Mostly, it was poets who were blamed
for they often spoke and wrote about
the beauty and wisdom to be found
in the natural world.
Finally, the people of the land, began
to rebel. Having been slowly forced
to only menial labor, a subsistent life
of digging in the dirt day after day,
they were aware that even that little
would soon be taken away as well.
And so a dawn of enlightenment came
to struggle against the darkness. Slowly,
in small increments of time, creativity
was once again allowed to flourish. But,
there are always consequences for such
an imbalance, when allowed to occur.
Poets were never completely trusted
again. Most often seen as day dreamers,
foolish in their ways of foolish thinking,
unwilling to labor honestly, most often
spouting meaningless words that seldom
sprouted anything more than empty
promises of useless platitudes.
And so it was that the Counsel of Bards
was created. Always numbering twelve,
each year, those twelve set out on a
journey, each looking to find one young person,
to guide and teach in the way of words
and the magic they can and do wield.
I am one of those twelve Bards, but I have
failed to take the journey for many years.
Blocked, unable to write, I felt I had little
or nothing to offer. Yet, this year, propelled
by music, dreams, and a myth, I find myself
here, listening to Maliah read her Boomerang
poem, perhaps unaware of the true magic
in which she has invested.
Enough for now, I’ll return you to your
teacher. This afternoon, I’ll speak to you
of the ribbon of words that becomes
a skein of poetry.
Elizabeth Crawford 4/28/15
Notes: This is a myth created from my study of History. We have a period of time called The Dark Ages in our past. It was a time of subsistence living, where little or no art was created because the people were living day to day, merely surviving. I have taken the liberty of honing in on poets and the making of poetry. No one can actually pin-point the cause of The Dark Ages, but there is a possibility that my conjecture might not be far from the reality. If you doubt that, read Allen Ginsberg’s Howl. In it, he speaks of another Dark Age in which poets are limited to writing within a certain canon of rules, dictated by a mindset that refuses to allow anything new, or different to darken its self-created definition of what might be considered Art. He also speaks of a lesser god, named Moloch, who accepts child sacrifice in the form of burnt offerings.
The image is a photo of a bonfire put through a kaleidoscope app.