Partheoresin – a Dream
Long have men’s myths brought music to mine ears –
As if the wings of Hermes had belonged,
To poets, who would pen immortal song –
From flight of Fancy’s legend – many years –
Unaging verses since some silent seers,
Who were the scribes of the Olympian throng,
Brought forth, in papered rhymes, the fruit which wronged,
Both Right and writing; as, with knowledge, tears
That do discern between what’s good and not,
Make like a tide between their race and ours.
This yet was fathomed by the Mercury,
Whose metal held the walls of Camelot,
Within a literature whose many powers
Become that god’s in a mythology.
Thus was my heart in joy, when slumber came,
And took me to a land whose shape I knew –
Not in my breath – though the acquaintance grew,
Such in my throat I could but speak the name!
For yea that place long entertained Fame,
In banquered ballads, that the ancient few,
Survived of Babel, gave each language new:
That all might come confessing all the same –
Here is the throne upon whose mountain cloud,
Sit twelve whose power transcends our euphony –
That Norse and Greek and Romany are one:
For many names, by many tongues allowed,
Each culture to explore the mystery,
Which was unveiling as my dream begun:
A voice! At first, a voice – whose very tone,
Wrought awe into my soul, when silence ceased –
Resounding as a thunder from the East
Is heard yet in the West, by every one,
Who hath yet ears to hear – and then a moan
Came through to be where earth and heaven creased,
In the horizon, as some form, or beast,
Came into view, eclipsing moon and sun;
Much like a man he was, with whitest hair!
Such colour which outshone the purest robes,
Of they who sat outside the empty Tomb
And told the women that He was not there;
But black his cloak, and all his other clothes,
Were colourless, in my poor memory’s room.
Then did the scene, last change, because my fear,
Was greater than was useful to his charge,
Which I was patient yet to learn – for age
Had seasoned him a tired speech, unclear
To most, who would not lend a suffering ear,
But would instead, have writ on single page
A summary of passion and the rage,
Of which he told in verses that no seer
May yet have guessed, nor poet’s pen confessed –
For no imagination may have told,
What sacred secrets from his lips did blow;
As he sat still, like if all time were pressed ,
Into this moment –whence he would unfold,
Upon an English bench, what is below:
“I once was young”, said he, and noticed I his speech,
Was of some majesty that seemed most tangible;
And, thinking strangely, if I could but touch the sound,
I should be blessed – but found my soul was not in reach;
For higher things there are than those that may be felt,
By human hand, which is an instrument of Sense –
To senses touched, by which the mind may comprehend:
Some order of the universe –which is Experience –
Wherewith we shape acuity,
And our perceptions teach,
To they who would their own intelligence fulfil,
Their lack with science found.
“And in that youth I so enjoyed the legends told –
In song and verse, by poets and, oft simple folk,
Who would pass on a song – which came their testament
(Embellished winter nights to keep the soul from cold).
In time I came to write them too – I was not good –
In fact there was complaint my rhythm was not kind
To human ear, nor tongue – for all my syllable
Was not a phrasing, that I fear, their Euphony would find!
So did I wonder silently,
Until I now am old,
When I confess to you, young man, upon this oak
The reason I was sent”
(Twas all my ears could do to sit –
Arrested by this tale,
Which came not in an easy form,
That rhymers would avail
To tell some complex mystery; –
His rhythm – full of space –
A jarring joule his energy;
I gazed into his face.
And in that stare did comprehend,
The pattern he had used –
Truth can’t be guessed: his meter brought
“What mean thou, strange and wise old man?” I solemnly said,
“To speak of trumpets and confessions – hast thou sinned?
But who am I, who in a dream dare not absolve?”
“But hear my tale” he quoth, removing all my dread.
“You know the ancient literature – in part, that tell
Some legends of a race above all mortal men?”
I made my nod affirmative – and he then declared
“My son, it’s I who hold the key to all your questions then!
For in my very memory,
All sources I have read –
So shall I undertake to pour into your mind:
If this were less than but a dream – or maybe more,
I mayn’t have stayed to listen; but something held me back
There, mongst trees of Springly cloth; suddenly he asked,
“But do you mind, my son? I should have asked before!
To know is to be chained: true freedom is in Trust:
The currency of living’s Faith – and it’s coinage, Choice
For once you know your will is lost to Trust – and Hope
Remains in the black prison-box which silences Her voice!
This is the heart of all those myths –
The origin of war:
How freedom mourned in many myths – Pandora’s crack
When knowledge was unmasked!”
And as a caution sang he then this verse
As if his voice were like a carriage hearse:
“A warning soundeth for the wise
But reckoned not old Curio –
For it was ever man’s disease
If not his sin, to want to know.
And it was done. That dormant thing,
Which lay between this man and wife,
Now stirred – Pandora loosed the chains
Around the box and strangled life;
And like a tomb before its time
Reopened, every horror came
Out of her curiosity
And hope alone, enclosed, remains.”
But now, I fear, I was more curious, for he
Had given me such long preamble that I said,
“Good sir, I think you mean, most well indeed, but pray,
Tell me thy truth, and be ye not concerned for me!”
“I shall, but know, it is the freedom of this life –
You know in part and must decide which voice to trust!
For God’s best gift of love was e’er that central tree –
For if without you’d have no choice – but always do what must
Be done, according to command.
And never thence be free;
But Love is giving way to challenge what was said,
And if, chose, disobey.
Thus then, when came that fateful day in Paradise,
The Gardner and his wife made choice to want to know,
And broke from trust of God, preferring, yet, instead,
A path free from Existence: death the only price;
Not from a punishment, but rather from the Love,
That lets His Children turn away the source of Life,
And interferes, but once – upon a different Tree,
With freedom to believe – for truly, History’s the wife,
Of Trust in witnesses who swear,
To Truth, and, if it’s twice –
Tis took to be Account as records seem to show.
But now to what’s unsaid! –
“When war broke out in Heaven’s realm, division came.
The dragon fought and dragged his tail accusingly;
Satan, oh pernicious prince, tread you now the earth?
Hungry lion devouring souls you entice to Fame!
In the academy of rhyme where poets sleep;
How Homer knew thy subtle tongue, which told him well –
Like Eve was eve’ beguiled by softer sirens than,
Those which he wrote in poetry – who fan the flames of hell!”
And thought I then the ground should burst,
And swallow me by name,
And chew upon my soul and flesh eternally –
My destiny at birth!
He seemed to calm, for yet a fever swept his brow:
A hellish heat – the coal of sin-wrought suffering,
Which brought his age unto the fore – as I saw plain,
He was a work of creature who taught kings to bow.
Some sweat upon his forehead grew which seemed a pearl,
Refined by salted tears, upon the ocean bed,
That was a patience never found in mortal man –
But of a merchant who would sell his all, as someone said.
With trembling lips I dared to say,
“I bid thee, go on, now,”
And then the pearl all precious fell and kissed his ring;
He started up again:
“You know that Eros came, from out his mother’s womb?
Such doth the record show – for it is written down,
In libraries of many myths, which name her both
An Aphrodite – called in Greece, Venus yet in Rome.
Know you yet another tale long as it is old,
That Eros yet with Chaos were before the first?
So Love was but in everything that was ever made
And Cupid watched creation grow till poetry dispersed,
And made all legends of his birth,
Which heralded his doom,
To be a demi god, with no Olympic crown?
What think you?” he did quoth.
“I think,” I made my bold reply (for awe was come),
“I heard some remnant of that genesis you said.”
“Indeed, why which, for I spake two – did you one prefer?”
I thought unto the choosing, but suddenly was dumb.
“What sense or madness holds your tongue, I wonder, son?”
“But that I think both false – and that the lack of choice –”
“Yet you must learn to first discern the witness cloud –
That seeing, clear you know to trust the record of my voice”
And then he echoed forth a sound,
Which seemed celestial tone –
“For all this literature which Adam’s children read,
Is what poor souls infer.”
(And, last, as if of Heaven’s cue
He finally made resolve,
To speak in plain unriddled verse,
And thus to finally solve,
What he had set as mystery –
Which hitherto had seemed,
All but a fancying for myth,
And poetry I gleaned
From tongues, which spake to ancient men,
More eloquent than mine –
Orating legends of renowned,
In speeches and in rhyme).
“Thence in that War, wherein, a third took up their arms,
Saint Michael fought with blade upon a thousand nights;
(Though Heaven knows no Time, but hosts Eternity,)
Still holy halls held no obsequious blaze, that claimed
To make an haste return to the forgiving Lamb;
But of those many were made mad within the Fight –
And so to hell were cast – for know no fellowship
Lies twixt Untruth and Honesty, nor likewise, dark and light.
So Lucifer, who even was the Morning Sun,
Found not his place in Heav’n again –
For he had held his charms,
Which were created, did excel the source of Right!
Thus proved his falsity.
Thence, even as a light shone in a darkened room,
Disperses night to exile – but by the accord –
The properties of light – which necessary are;
Thus in the face of Truth all lying finds its tomb”.
“Good, kind and wisest sir” I made my patient plea,
“All this is known – an ancient legend –often said;
But pray, if thou have news, I bid thy lips to say’t –
For I should hate to wake with only knowledge I have read!”
And thus it was epiphany:
I saw my sleeping room,
And my body resting: my mind and spirit bored,
Dreamed up this journey far!
But before my consciousness could yet make protest,
My mindful eye caught sight of yet the very words,
Which seemed echo from his throat, not invisible –
But of a fire to form the scene, which now impressed
My being to a whisper, hushed, I realised,
That e’en this bench were fashioned with a matter true,
That made all former seats seem shadow in my dream.
I looked about, and as I did, the meter came to view:
His scheme, which made this place! I waited for his tone.
“Yes, child, you see the matter now,
Which is more picturesque –
For it is formed of talk, and all the legends heard;
Words were creation’s Call!”
“And as your supplication, do you think you wise?
Wisdom’s not new knowledge but thinking what you know:
Great teachers make repeat of what you yet have learnt –
Only by reflection comes the image to your eyes!
So too your mind, asleeping, as I think you know
Is even now revisiting what’s already there!
Now meditate on tales your conscious had forgot
For I am but a phantom guide and cannot number hair.”
This merit put me at my ease;
My spirit did surmise,
That it was reasonable to listen to him so
And Good, I made relent.
“Now in the aftermath of war, there was a peace
Which Heav’n enjoyed, until the day Creation fell –
When those who, undecided, made their side with God,
Looked down upon the earth; then came this new disease:
For while they first were fashioned from the Ancient’s Hands
A race more beautiful became, begot of men;
And thus as it is written – some of the sons of God,
Made marriage with men’s daughters, and since the Flood, again!
So there were giants in those days,
As angels did increase,
In lust of mortal women – history doth tell –
The mighty men of old!”
I was about to interrupt, for yet again,
I’d heard report of this – though charged my tongue to hold;
And then methought I knew, what he was wont to say.
“Yes, friend, tis no small secret, that all mortal pen
Which wrote of heathen gods, mistook their origin,
Or, least, ontology – for they were Heaven born!
These ancient ones, who became the Olympians,
Were but the Nephilim – so called, whose fathers were the dawn,
Of creatures who, from freedom’s will,
Desired and Became
Zeus, Mars, Athena, Thor…the pantheon of old!
Who lost old Heaven’s way.
Yea even so, did may angels, who were once,
The Mercurys of God – His messengers to Earth ,
Put off their Hermes wings to take more gloried form
On Earth, where feet that had enjoyed celestial dance,
Now trod on grass, made love, and quarrelled after power.
Thus as some of Adam’s loins thought to worship them,
They took identities as gods, who knew His Name,
And ruled in great mythologies – upon a poet’s dream,
Which each new generation held,
With greater reverence.
Until there came a greater myth –in Virgin Birth,
Which saw Salvation’s dawn.”
“But this is ancient history –
At least, so by Trust’s choice.”
And so he broke his rhythm,
And then from out his voice,
There came a sort of violence –
A passion that had lain,
As dormant as a vulcany
Erupts, leaves many slain.
For some stark word he made announce,
Which seemed to be a name
My ear was not well to translate,
And to the Matter came
- although quite differently:
“There was an angel, who in heaven’s tower,
Paced forth upon his wings through day and night,
Though neither did intrude into that realm,
Which is beyond the even reign of time.
It was this host who had a special power,
Bestowed from birth from God upon his sight:
He would look out to Earth and see a Form,
As on probation from the cell of Time –
Which traps in temporal prisons, mortal flesh,
That waits upon the marriage at the end –
Unto the Groom who waits in Heaven’s court,
As Judge, to sentence Mercy to His Bride.
Thus once, when Spring was on the Earth afresh,
From winter who in latter months did tend,
To draw a veil – as like a virgin ought,
To meet her husband, who hitherto denied,
Himself to look upon his wife to be,”
(Which I thought some strange custom, naturally).
“Partheoresin, with angelic eye,
Then saw a wondrous sight upon the ground:
Which was not like the shadows that surround
The interrupted mortal scenery.
“What was this sight?” I ventured, for my guide,
Had seemed to falter, as if Memory
Had made arrest and bound him for the skies;
As summer swept the copse, wherein we met,
All buds now open – I had never spied,
A Nature riper than this revelry –
Which were the earthen spirits who gave rise
To sit as audience. A breeze then swept
The aisled pews, where some young sparrows sat,
As if at church, who had just sung a hymn.
I wondered if their god be of their race,
And if he would be found upon a tree?
Some others too, which seemed to wear a hat,
And by the brook, some golden fish did swim –
Which I had not, ’fore noticed, for the face
Of he who told this tale took hold of me.
“A woman was’t – beyond superlative –
In beauty and in truth as thou dos’t live!”
And all at once there came into my mind,
A sort of Form words could not qualify
With some description, for it seemed to me,
No language was so perfectly designed.
“Not long a look did Partheoresin
Enjoy, before he summoned Mercury,
(Who was unfallen then and went between
Those still in Heaven and her fallen sons).
‘Speed thee to Earth my friend and ask therein,
Who is’t that maiden which I now espy;
For never in this Court have I yet seen,
A being perfect as that mortal one!
Bring me her name, O Hermes – make it soon!
For I have all my spirit fixed upon
Her frame – to be a map to guide your wings
And tell me too her Time, kind Mercury.’
Thus with a bow the messenger made swoon
To the Earth and returned, not after long;
‘Such Beauty brings great tribute to the King!
Here’s time and name, Partheoresin – see!’
And hearing Hermes speak that precious tone,
Partheoresin wished to be alone.
For how his heart did as a mortal beat
For she who’s Form he’d seen from Heaven’s pane!
And knowing he should never look again,
From out that view, he left his ’eternal seat.
Out of that Heaven fell he with last flight –
His wings became a burning and his heart
Took to beat blood – which was not mortal yet,
Although was less than the Angelic vein.
Through unstarred voids he sped and lost his height –
His will still bent on Earth – no longer part
Of Heaven, as he struggled with regret –
And as the planets passed, grief overcame.
‘Now never shall I look again through time,
And see the hope of man which is to be.
Nor shall I live to once again enjoy,
The throne of Light where sits the Beauteous King.
My worship now may best be put in rhyme,
And with two mortal eyes I must now see;
But for the sake of she – and in her name,
I give to God this last praise offering.’
So sped he all to Earth through Heaven’s spheres
And all the way he watered them with tears.
Repeating to himself a mortal’s name;
Meanwhile in Heaven good Saint Michael found
Hermes had lied! and cast him to the ground.
Partheoresin sought out Psyche’s frame.
“How had he lied?” I asked – for I had been
Most silent through his speech, but was confused.
“You see the maid Partheoresin saw,
Was not that Psyche as his friend had named –
But yet another who had not yet seen,
Earth’s light – for wicked Mercury had used,
The angel’s sight to place him well before,
The time when she would enter mortal frame!
But worry not, all shall become most clear.
I shall not dull your ear with common tale;
Thou know how Partheoresin had made
Poor Psyche swear she’d never look upon
His face, but then one night from out of fear,
This Psyche hid a light under a pail,
And shone it on her lover, who, afraid,
She’d sense his disappointment, had it done.
For Psyche, found he, was a shadow yet,
Of that best woman which his eyes had met.
Thence from the time that Psyche saw, he vowed,
To never look again –until that girl was born;
And put a fold around his eyes to warn,
That love is blind and took a name to which Romans bowed.”
And then I saw a mystery:
I did perceive his eye,
Was covered with a darkened glass,
And this did terrify!
For this great apocalypse:
Here was no mortal seer,
But e’en the voice which spoke to me,
(My sight becoming clear),
I reckoned even was the same –
Who was now Cupid, and still blind,
And in some suffering.
“Yea, son”, he spake as grave as e’er he had before,
“I’m even he – the god of many myths you know,
Blinded for many years; today I am set free,
From that accursed oath I long ago had swore”.
“How mean, you – what is she that was then to be born –
Whose form thou saw from Heav’n and fell unto this earth?”
“Why one you know most well – even she – your wife!
Five thousand years or more I’ve waited for her birth!”
And took he off his glasses then,
And with vision poor,
Looked to my soul, then stood, as if he was to go –
I spake commandingly:
“Return to Psyche, o great god”, quoth I:
“My mortal love, though better than her frame shall die –
As I too shall, and yet in death, I think that even we,
Shall rise but even higher than the mount you once enjoyed –
Which was of Hermon called, before Olympus dubbed:
For gods who stand upon a hill
Are made to die by human will!”
But seeing how his eyes were sad,
And tears were in those pools,
I gave a simple smile,
And marvelled at the fools
Who worshipped him as Cupid –
Though Eros be adored –
I gave Love thanks for She-I-Love,
Who of her own accord,
Before she gave herself to me,
Was seen by Heaven’s pane;
But yet twas I, unworthily,
Who first had kissed her frame!
“No myth are we to change in time,
Which shan’t remember us by name;”
I said, for comfort to this thing,
Which sadness sat upon.
“Although a thousand score of words may even yet be writ:
The canon of my race, which were not ever gods,
For when we’ve finished breath, we shall retire, to the sod,
Which bore us whence – when thou wert still in Heaven:
Before thou saw her face and fell to Earth –”
Oh how my speaking failed!
He took my hand and then these final words quoth he:
“For this it was not told why Cupid fled from Rome,
And bore on broken wings such unaccomplished fear –
For now thou hath the key to all mythology.
Look now upon the tales of thy youth, and find,
How well it is to Autumn – trees are in the fall!
All literature foreshadows she – the One-you-love,
For I was oft men’s muse – and soon the Bridegroom makes His call!
And caught to Heav’n you both shall find,
In an eschatology,
He makes His House to mansion many’a coupled room!
And as a sparrow doth appear –
Yes, to their kind.”
And all with that, the copse did seem to fade,
And all the sparrows, whowere joined in song –
All in a row, upon a branch displayed
Before the brook – no longer did belong;
But in my sensual ear, which heard outside
The sounds that came from a more conscious sphere.
My eyes now opening – my soul denied
The vision I had dreamed, which was still clear.
My Reason came to dull, with an account –
‘I had before my dreams, myths on my brain
And looked at pictures of Olympian mount.’
It mattered not – my Trust was e’er the same:
My wife still was in sleep; the hour not yet Eleven:
And so I knelt and kissed the pride – and jealousy – of Heav’n.