Sunday, December 18, 2011

Rose Gate among the stars

There’s a garden among the stars
where flowers are gates to other worlds.

I see a Lady stepping from a constellation of stars into a boat in the sky. I want to meet her. This will be a far journey, and I want the drum to give me fuel and to help me to return safely. My friend is a good drummer,and she is ready to provide what I need.
     When I get my body settled on the sofa in order to slip out of it, the Lady has vanished. I search for her in the field of stars. I see something like a pink rose, out there in the wild blue. Is this her sign?
     The rose calls me, unfurling its soft petals, revealing a portal. I slip into the heart of the rose. Now I am sliding down a chute that might be its stem. I make a soft landing in a gentle scene, a Victorian garden where a table is set for high tea. A handsome, very properly dressed Victorian lady is pouring.
      I roam the garden, wanting tounderstand why I was drawn here. Young children are playing here, including agirl on a swing. A pleasant clergyman in country tweeds is playing with them. I know at once that this is the Rev. Charles Dodgson, known to countless readersas “Lewis Carroll”.
    As I observe him among the children, I realize I am present at the inception of some of Lewis Carroll’s best ideas. He looks at a rabbit burrow and the roots of a tree with the eyes of one of the children. With this borrowed sight, he can picture Alice dropping down the rabbit-hole into another world. As a child smiles at ginger cat in the garden, he sees the smile on the face of the Cheshire Cat. As he contemplates the pretty young girl swinging high into the air, he gets the idea– not actually used in the Alice books, as far as I can recall – for another way of entering another dimension. The swing goes up above the bar…and you’re off into another world.
    I borrow from where his imagination will lead. I think about the “Drink Me” bottles Alice found, and decide to see what will happen now if I drink from the one that makes you very much smaller. 
    Quick as thought,I am shrinking so fast I don’t even have time to see how that blade of grass grew as big as a royal palm, or how that ant became a black six-legged elephant.
    Dropping between the smallest of particles, I enter a universe as big as the one I came from, a cosmos contained within a speck of a speck of a speck, something you couldn’t find even with an electron microscope. This revelation is as simple as cracking your head open. It’s about finding the infinite in a grain of sand, as the poet did. It’s about universe hopping, pearl by pearl, on the necklace of Indra.    
   I am eager to explore this fresh universe, full of promise. And to find the Lady.
      But something falls across my path. It moves jerkily, an armored, jointed, mechanical thing. Its shape reminds me a little of cardboard periscopes I played with as a boy –the kind with joints that enabled you to peek around a corner. But this metallic thing is taller than a skyscraper. At its end is a rectangular hollow or “mouth” that might be an immense suction cup.
     Guard yourself, says an inner voice I have learned to trust. With this, an impermeable, transparent shield goes up, and I know I am safe, and invisible to whatever intruded.
   Steer for the Light Ship.
   I see it again now, in the distance. It looks like a kind of space station. I understand that it is a place of transit and communication with higher intelligences as they move in and out of range of human thought bands.
   I will go there on another journey.
   For now, I am content to come back to the body on the couch, settle in, and stretch and wiggle around to make sure I did not leave too much of myself out there in the field of stars..

The fragrance of the pink rose is still with me. I sip a glass of wine and write with its beauty within and around me:

There’s a garden among the stars
where flowers are gates to other worlds.
Try the pink rosebud that opens shyly.
plunge through its smooth and fragrant folds
into the Victorian garden where tea is laid
and sweet girls play and show a blushing priest
a bunnyhole that leads to Wonderland
and a ginger cat issues opaque directions.

Take the dare of the “Drink Me” bottle
and you’ll become inconceivably small
even faster than Alice,so fast you won’t see
a grass blade rear into a royal palm
and ants turn into six-legged horses.

You’ll grow, by diminishing, into a world
vaster than the one you knew before,
you’ll swim among stars no telescope has seen,
you’ll find light-ships among the galaxies,
immensity held in the iota of a speck
that eludes the electron microscope
but not the home-drawn voyager.

As I enter another Northern winter, I am doing what I often do in this inward time: mining my old journals. I have previously published the Rose Gate poem, but not the narrative of the journey that inspired it. Yes: I have made (and guided) many other journeys to universes within the inconceivably small.

Homage to the Pink Rose. Photos by Kirsten Love Lauzon.


nina said...
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Patricia said...

So lovely

Diana said...

Hi Robert,
Of life rhyming...
Just recently myself discovered flowers as portals upon an unexpected journey through a yellow rose in which the small point of concentration, the smallest particle, opened up to infinite space. Wonders upon wonders! Fortunately, our collective and individually defined boundaries aren't sustainable.

Thank you for sharing.