A Poem by R. Goebel

I heard two poems recently from a challenge to "write about the muse," and I wanted to try. Then this happened, not nearly what I was expecting or aiming for, but here nonetheless. Still working.



You read something

one day that tipped the fulcrum sideways:

You spent your life shaping your mouth around phrases, 

building thought castles 

from news clippings and songs out of date, 

learning to dance around piles of found objects

where the bizarre art of sculpting yourself spilled over.

And now

in this great impossible webbing,

in this nest where everything's fragile and depending upon dream threads

in this half explored, creaking mansion 

anchored by tree roots and buried spires 

there's such a cataclysmic shift that everything 

trembles like odd wounded wreckage against the brink

(and you in the middle).

You don't even know what they mean,

these words that can tip the earth sideways,

persuade the poles to twitch in their sleep, 

trip gravity upwards for a beat, 

just long enough that nothing settles unchanged.

Your truths have become this jungle around you 

and you want, if not a guide, a sword:

A way to turn the words back on themselves,

make these sleek ink furies work for you,

build an order again. 

You want a muse. 

You want a singer with mercury eyes

And a voice half lightning, half unknowable 

turning every third word to fire.

You want someone to show you where the surface meets the silver lining,

Someone to tell you where the first phoenix bloomed and 

how giants hide their hearts in golden eggs,

A weaver to coax each thread of thought, 

now tangled"

a wasteland of iridescent netting"

Into something beautiful.

Something that, between nimble fingers,

can make sense of itself on a page.

You want a muse.

 Only instead 

You get some moon-faced changeling,

ribbon haired and fickle by degrees,

one half shadow and one unseen  

Leading necklaces of soap bubbles, 

catching on brambles and trailing pieces of that illusive understanding like torn cloth,

Salvageable only with careful stitching.


you piece these all together,

thinking you've found the secret, 


And then, between two strikes of the clock

 you find yourself selling it to a stranger

 for less than it's worth, to pay for

 magic beans, glass slippers, 

the dress that will convince that elusive 

weaver of words to dance with you,

just for the space 

of a song,

and maybe it does.

Maybe this twisting, lovely, shade 

takes you by the arm and the waste

and spins you as jewel tears leak from its eyes, 

maybe even the music fades as the two of you 

discover a brief alignment and 

it's only afterwards that you wake,

Fine clothes burnt,

Face grey with soot and sleep

(And the secret of)

the words glowing inside your mind like embers.

You write them with shaking hands,

Hoping the spell will last long enough

And when you finish, you are bereft 

in a place that once held music.

Maybe you are a poet.

Maybe you are merely a wanderer.

But still it stands  

that if you walk far enough,

((and you watch). carefully.)

and you catch each crumbling flag, 

that you can tempt even the most eerie and desolate of dreamers

to take your hand and,


steal the very music from the air 

© 2016 R. Goebel

Author's Note

R. Goebel
Any thoughts are welcome, I'm still cleaning it. This includes format. I tried some new things with the line breaks and I'm not sure they work quite yet.

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Not sure you can improve this much.
Why fiddle with perfection?
Somethings are better left raw.

Posted 3 Years Ago

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Added on December 5, 2016
Last Updated on December 5, 2016
Tags: writing, muse, poetry