Before any serious snow arrives, here is another of my Tarot poems, something of an autumn poem, focusing on one of the cards that speaks to me the most, the introspective Hermit, Card #9 of the Major Arcana.
IX THE HERMIT’S NIGHT
by Helen Iacovino
swirling, the first snow reclaims land from cottagers
who watch the jagged “V” of migrating geese
as they follow their leader, instinctively wise.
the ground is damp & cold, the wind & stinging leaves
lash the lake. bears prowl the high night meadows.
nothing is ours anymore: the waves are teeth of steel.
& on forbidding autumn nights
through swampy rushes, the hermit shines his way:
his hood peaks snugly on his head,
his lantern wavers in his hand,
an old old man he is, fearless of the elements.
the lantern, like a smooth & perfect stone
radiating spikes of light
is multiplied by darkness manifold:
across miles of marsh it flickers, strong.
& on such haunted autumn nights
when the fire jolts & sparks
& settling logs startle us from armchair sleep,
we may dare to steal a glance outside
& sometimes glimpse that moving cloak
gliding towards the forest’s dark,
& with a brief but mighty shudder may descry
the cloak as the tiger’s lightest stripe,
the lantern gleaming like the tiger’s eye
while to other windows the hermit’s steps remain
subliminal: rustling wind or unseen animal.
Published in Puerto Del Sol and also by North Wind Press