Nine of Hearts


*Image by Lodewijk Toeput, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons


Nine of Hearts

I shall sing to thee of conquest,
of horses who galloped wildly, in tears,
of heroes gripping their mares
for bread.
My tune will be crimson,
a magpie’s litany.

I will remind you of your forefathers,
I will roll your body like a scroll;
court my smile and be
a fairy’s tale for your children
and not a monument or an unmarked grave.

When all is gone,
my Aulos will remember,
you will be the lyrics,
you will be the atom recited to the clouds,
we will be givers of delight!

Summon me,
and we will be star – crossed;
Call my name
and we will be immortal,
like poets are.

I shall sing to thee of lovers lost
to river currents,
I shall whisper tales of jealous sisters
wielding knives –
we can be Eros behind the curtains,
we shall be an ode!
We shall be the water in the chalice.

If your hands cannot bend
into totems,
if your lips cannot be twisted
into scepters,
hush on my breast
and listen
as the circles ripple.

I shall conjure thee an envoy of ballerinas,
I shall set your heart on fire –
we will chant of love,
we will chant until our feet are tangled
into one.

I shall kneed for you a wreath of ivy,
I will gift you pearls instead of teeth,
you will waltz into chastity
your soul mate in one hand,
me in the other –
a dark companion,
an honest mother;
the joy of what’s to be.

I shall be envied by the gods,
I shall sing to thee of heaven’s meadows;
I, who makes the mortal life
last forever.

*From The Deck of Cards series

~ by Oloriel on March 24, 2015.

14 Responses to “Nine of Hearts”

  1. wow – such powerful and strong words and message!

  2. Excelente publicación, saludos

  3. I love this.. with the deep ties to mythology, like balancing on a tightrope above the abysses of jealousy and lust…

  4. Wonderful meshing of themes and the muses, Oloriel! I am tired before I read, but this woke me up some! The “dark companion” and the mother references, and behind the curtain line reminded me of my favorite of Rainer Maria Rilke’s Duino Elegies, the third, because of this stanza from one of the translations:

    It was not you, alas, not his mother
    that bent the arc of his brow into such expectation.
    Not for you, girl, feeling his presence, not for you,
    did his lips curve into a more fruitful expression.
    Do you truly think that your light entrance
    rocked him so, you who wander like winds at dawn?
    You terrified his heart, that’s so: but more ancient terrors
    plunged into him with the impetus of touching.
    Call him…you can’t quite call him away from that dark companion.
    Of course he wants to, and does, escape: relieved, winning
    his way into your secret heart, and takes on, and begins himself.
    Did he ever begin himself, though?
    Mother you made his littleness: you were the one who began him:
    to you he was new, you hung the friendly world
    over new eyes, and defended him from what was strange.
    Oh where are the years when you simply repelled
    the surging void for him, with your slight form?
    You hid so much from him then: you made the suspect room
    harmless at night, from your heart filled with refuge
    mixed a more human space with his spaces of night.
    Not in the darkness, no, in your nearer being
    you placed the light, and it shone as if out of friendship.
    There wasn’t a single creaking you couldn’t explain with a smile,
    as if you had long known when the floor would do so….
    And he heard you and was soothed. Your being
    was so tenderly potent: his fate there stepped,
    tall and cloaked, behind the wardrobe, and his restless future,
    so easily delayed, fitted the folds of the curtain.

    • Thank you very much for reading, Ryan! I wish I had half of your wisdom and etheral magic to craft these poignant verses!
      Coincidentally, I have just been rereading Rilke the other day, the poem you shared was a very nice touch, thank you! It does scare me to read and see, a little bit, how the emotions in his and mine are alike, especially the curtains part. It makes me wonder: Did this man know me, even before I Was?, and how unfair it is that I for sure can know him.

      • I have recurring dreams of being Rilke in a past life. His wife’s name was Clara, which means clear, and in my poem “21 Shades Of Blue”, the Hush-Hush, and the poem as a whole, played on the idea of Clarity. My name in German is Rein, which means “Clear” and the woman who I was waiting for in my dream, also had a name that means “Clear”. Clear, being the opposite of something that is “Hush-Hush”, or obscured.

        Rilke wrote some of the Duino Elegies at Duino Castle, overlooking the Adriatic Sea. The Etymology of Adriatic, being “Black”, and the name “Adrienne” meaning “The Dark One” and “From The Adriatic”.

        I’m no expert, and I’ve never read a professional interpretation of the poem, or anyone’s interpretation of it for that matter, but I believe that Rilke’s “Dark Companion” was a dreamed of woman “From The Adriatic” because he wrote the poem by the Adriatic Sea and because of the stanza before the one I already shared with you, saying “before the girl soothed him, often, as if she did not exist, held up, dripping, from what unknowable depths”:

        “To sing the beloved is one thing, another, oh,
        that hidden guilty river-god of the blood.
        What does he know, himself, of that lord of desire, her young lover,
        whom she knows distantly, who often out of his solitariness,
        before the girl soothed him, often, as if she did not exist,
        held up, dripping, from what unknowable depths,
        his godhead, oh, rousing the night to endless uproar?
        O Neptune of the blood, O his trident of terrors.
        O the dark storm-wind from his chest, out of the twisted conch.
        Hear, how the night becomes thinned-out and hollow. You, stars,
        is it not from you that the lover’s joy in the beloved’s
        face rises? Does he not gain his innermost insight,
        into her face’s purity, from the pure stars?”

        I once wrote this:

        “Elizabeth, or was it Eleanor of Aquitaine? Is there any difference if all you are is a dream stitched in memory — a wish, my favorite cup of tea I never got to drink with open eyes, imagining a relic of summertime recollected when a child was the taste of love, sunshine swallowed swimming that July… Such a sentimental smuck, I approached Adrienne, ’cause she changed her pseudonym from what it was, to Sunspot, but convinced myself, was more than I could hope to understand — I just needed a muse, and she seemed elusive too, sad… such beautiful things seen and sought for harvesting outside EverEve… Appearances can deceive and sweetness be worth nothing. Elizabeth, or was it Adrienne, carbon-copied? Is there any difference if all you are is a dream stitched in memory — a wish, my favorite cup of tea I never got to drink with open eyes, imagining like the Adriatic Sea, her name sounding like “A dream”, I could settle, stop searching, give make-believe love meaning, romanticizing the past, pretending that presents last, moments can be frozen and I did it knowing, perhaps believing if I didn’t, my closed eyes would keep the lids on the secrets that I’ve lived fearing love does not exist…”

        I focus on paradoxes a lot, and my recurring Rilkean Dream that inspired “21 Shades Of Blue”, involves writing in Duino Castle so fast, the paper catches fires and turns black, like an dark ink sea on fire that I’m sucked into, to find myself under a willow tree near the sea in the snow, waiting. The hush that I am in the snow, means clear, waiting for my dark companion, to become clear, as in joined with me. I die under the tree waiting, and become a part of the willow tree, a Wicker Statue. I had this dream, and wrote “21 Shades of Blue”, years before I ever heard of Rilke.

        by Rainer Maria Rilke

        Who so loveth me that he
        Will give his precious life for me?
        I shall be set free from the stone
        If some one drowns for me in the sea,
        I shall have life, life of my own,—
        For life I ache.

        I long for the singing blood,
        The stone is so still and cold.
        I dream of life, life is good.
        Will no one love me and be bold
        And me awake?

        I weep and weep alone,
        Weep always for my stone.
        What joy is my blood to me
        If it ripens like red wine?
        It cannot call back from the sea
        The life that was given for mine,
        Given for Love’s sake.


        “I have put too fine a point on infinitesimals — painstaking, heartbreaking toil in nuancing decibels, knowing no one notices… Baroque‘s for naught, and I know these mnemonic devices cannot call blood from a stone

        Lot fällen, Gott hat The pleasant lot has fallen to intersection, statutes issued to statues, to cry the truth out to you through the pitter-patter sounds of the rain breaking your heart — Surrounded by thunderclouds, found out, the rain drops your guard…

        Ms. Elly Elizabeth, you wear a burial shroud invisibly (I’ve seen it), when allowed a bridal gown…”
        — Ry Hakari, “Manifesto of Residue 3-12: Blood From A Stone” (June 10, 2014)

        Rilke wrote the “Sonnets To Orpheus” series at Duino Castle, and called the series a “Savage Creative Storm”…

        “Sonnets to Orpheus Part 6”
        by Rainer Maria Rilke (translated by Edward Snow)

        Is he native to this realm? No,
        his wide nature grew out of both worlds.
        They more adeptly bend the willow’s branches
        who have experience of the willow’s roots.

        When you go to bed, don’t leave bread or milk
        on the table: it attracts the dead—.
        But may he, this quiet conjurer, may he
        beneath the mildness of the eyelid

        mix their bright traces into every seen thing;
        and may the magic of earthsmoke and rue
        be as real for him as the clearest connection.

        Nothing can mar for him the authentic image;
        whether he wanders through houses or graves,
        let him praise signet ring, gold necklace, jar.


        I don’t know what I believe about past lives, but if they are a real thing, then it’s possible he knew you before you were. Who knows, I could have even been Rilke, and we could have both known each other in a past life lol

  5. Exquisite poetry. The final verse was my favorite.

  6. You always manage to surprise me with your deck…I would never think of it in that way…

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