Magus, in flight by Seamus A. Patten with Review by Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas

photo by Don Zirilli

     

 

Magus, in flight

Sleepy worded worlds conjure
Neruda with my lips moving,
late evening, high over Peloponnesian foothills.

Nearby, a voice down under warm
salt water stalks
the poem’s next strophe.

She dogs me
through moon-spent nights.
Down by the knees, I’m taken, even before

her sky eyes lift
me across the sea, sand, aisle,
l   and me in 23A.

We have agreed
we will never touch
down else the hounds find me.

 

      Séamas Patrick Patten
 

 

 

 

 

 

Review by Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas

This poem’s appeal begins with its title; ‘Magus In Flight’, as a one-line prelude of enchantment. I love the phrase ‘In Flight’ because it makes me think of imagination and all things possible. From there we’re guided flawlessly into the theme of poetry. I suppose you could say this is a verse of ‘writing about writing’, or Ars Poetica. I like the way the author speaks of Neruda—

Sleepy worded worlds conjure
Neruda with my lips moving,
late evening, high over Peloponnesian foothills.

‘with my lips moving’, as though he’s experiencing a daydream or perhaps just a determined hallucination where he’s being channeled by Neruda himself. What an apropos reference Neruda becomes with his passionate writing style so wonderfully reflected here in a radiant ode to the poet’s muse. We begin to believe the speaker is merely a shadow-puppet for the brilliant bard living inside his soul.

Nearby, a voice down under warm
salt water stalks
the poem’s next strophe.

’The voice down under’ is a clever way to depict the speaker’s muse and it serves as an excellent segue into the subsequent stanza, especially since the theme is travel. The poem flows from the literal, moving smoothly into the poet’s inner-thoughts. This allows a connectedness between the muse and the author that is rather charming. I almost want to call it a symbiotic relationship but it’s a clearly one sided affair.

She dogs me
through moon-spent nights.
Down by the knees, I’m taken, even before

The use of the word ‘dogs’ in the third strophe gives us yet another glimpse into the casual liaison between these two; one that is familiar, one the narrator puts up with as the so called harassment of his muse brings him pleasure in the long run. By the fourth stanza the speaker mentions his seat number as point of reference where the poem’s experience becomes authentic to the reader, bringing us back from the fantastical into the factual world. We too, have been under the spell of his muse.

her sky eyes lift
me across the sea, sand, aisle,
land me in 23A.

We have agreed
we will never touch
down else the hounds find me.

I think this poem is endearing. It makes me want to know the author, it makes me want to read the poems he thinks about writing. His voice is thoughtful as well as considerate and his use of language, intriguing. The final stanza reveals his own truth with an epiphany or instinctive leap, where he admits it’s this unpredictable synchronization, or the ‘voice within the voice’ that enables him to share his gift, making life even more astonishing while viewing through his muse’s eyes.

 

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