I’ve Got You Now -June 21: Flash Fiction Challenge

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June 21, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about “not all is lost.” It can include recovery from disaster, an unexpected insight after a fall, or however the phrase moves you. Go where the prompt leads.

Respond by June 26, 2018.

Rules are here

Charli’s challenge gave me pause for thought and my offering touches on the issue of comfort that appears at a low point in life.  A cautionary tale with a twist…

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unclelkt, Pixabay

I’ve got you now, hold on tight. The fall hurt, you’re bleeding. I’m so sorry you decided to take this course of action. I didn’t realise you heard, damn me for being so selfish! I didn’t need help, just acting out like a spoilt child.

I can’t hear what you’re saying. Does your throat hurt? What you must think of me. Your eyes are so sad, I can’t bear to look at them. Hold still, I’ll wipe the blood off you. Sorry, so sorry! Your beautiful wings, torn and charred. Can you ever forgive me, my dear guardian angel?

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Con Amore (With Love)

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My posts of late have been infused with introspection and pathos, so a little “light relief” is in order. I jokingly call myself a ”non-poet’ (a label my Muse considers strange and wishes I would just ‘get on with it’). So, I’m getting on with it.

Con amore. With love do I brush the curve of your cheek and wicked smile.

Feel the crispness of your hair,

Beneath my fingers.

Con amore. With love do I savour the Feel of your neck on my shoulder, Breathe your scent in deeply,

And whisper words of unbecoming.

Con amore. With love do we enfold the other, each being elemental power,

Fire and Ice of worlds ancient.

Con amor. With love are we wedded,

To mysteries unveiling,

Of silent but potent yearnings.

Fire and Ice of worlds ancient.

Hunger

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947051, Pixabay

Preamble

I wasn’t sure how to proceed with this post. The word ”hunger’ kept ricocheting in my head, and as writers know the Muses in such cases are directing our attention to something of great importance. Or not.

My little tale started out as a love story (of sorts), then widened to gather in hunger of a different type. Hunger for power, which may be the most destructive of all. On the other hand, revenge, hate, envy, malice, and other self-destructive traits spring to mind.

Therein lie the makings of a dark little tale methinks, featuring a vampire and ‘fallen’ angel. I tend to use such devices in my posts to explore issues that may otherwise end up being dry and indigestible (for my new readers – you’ll get used to this). Instead they end up being impenetrable and indigestible, makes a change.

You may find the turn of phrase a little, old fashioned, and the names puzzling. They are very, very old Souls, bringing with them remnants of their culture. One that has to exist in the modern world and its ways.

At the heart of this tale lie the issues of love, sacred oaths, integrity, and right motivation. For those engaged in any form of esoteric and spiritual work these should be central to their work and existence. My opinion only dear readers.

Better get started then.

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darksouls1, Pixabay

Encounter of Powers

The story takes place in a café located down a side street in a city that shall remain nameless, and in a country that shall remain nameless. Dusk is approaching, being a time which is neither day nor night, but in-between. A time when the senses undergo an awakening, when the sensitive and empathic pick up ‘signals’ on their antennae. They feel the approach of inexplicable and awe-filled emotions and presences.

In the distance we see a huge Sun radiating rays of gold in varying hues. The setting Sun bathes the streets in a film of iridescence. It shimmers gloriously. A figure is silhouetted against this eye catching canvas.

The dazzling light recedes to reveal a woman with hair the colour of old gold and golden eyes. The lips are full and stained red, and manner calm and commanding. Her look is piercing, knowing, she can see through your masks and shields. There is no lie she can’t penetrate, no subterfuge that can’t be ripped apart.

The man standing outside the cafe watches her intently. He scrutinises every aspect of her figure with hooded eyes. His breath synchronizes with her steps. She glides towards him, offering a hand, which he kisses respectfully. He then holds the door open for her.  A gentleman as always.

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donterase, Pixabay

The interior is an eclectic mix of styles, eccentric even, and the reason why it’s located in the ‘bohemian’ quarter of the city. It has a relaxed atmosphere but allows for privacy if the clientele so require. They find a table at the back of the café and sit in silence. From time to time each glances at the other until the waiter approaches.

The drinks are ordered and then silence settles over the two figures like a welcome Summer downpour. It stretches into minutes as both contemplate the significance of this meeting.

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fietzfotos, Pixabay

They begin to converse in the original tongue, a habit both are often inclined to do:

She Who Is Silence Before The Storm:

Magic of an accursed kind, filled with envy and spite has been loosed. Its attentions have been directed towards individuals under my care. Initiates are involved, highlighting the seriousness of the act. I am, displeased.

He Who Is Clothed In Shadow And Strength:

With good reason my lady. Oath breaking and mischief are serious in themselves, but, the hunger for power brings with it serious implications for the perpetrators. Many Mystery Schools, esoteric and mystical orders have been prey to betrayals enacted by those they’ve trained and taken under their wings. I have seen much of this over the millennia. I know you have strong views on this.

She Who Is Silence Before The Storm:

Strong views? Your words surely do injustice to the depths of my feelings. Cracks present in the souls of those particular individuals can widen like fissures; where worldly ambitions and desires can take root. Perhaps the most heinous crime is that of seeking to elevate the Self above all others and gather together acolytes to enact their dark deeds. Knowledge of the human condition is put to detrimental and unethical use. Thus are Powers of a Higher Plane disrespected and the sanctity of the Higher Self torn to shreds. They are doomed by their own actions.

He Who Is Clothed In Shadow And Strength:

Doomed? A certainty. Such deeds have seen the light of day throughout history my lady. The material world is rife with individuals who are instruments of the forces of chaos and evil. I am not without blemish of character, and have perpetrated much upon legions of humanity before reigning in my baser instincts. Your attentions have been my salvation, as has your, love. I dare mention it as my soulless body yearns to see the light, your light again. You remain silent my lady. Have I offended you?

She Who Is Silence Before The Storm:

Not at all Shadow Walker. It was leading to this point, I could see the fire gather in your eyes. Please give me your hand. Such an elegant and strong instrument, clothed in silk and as deadly as a dagger. As is your mouth. What havoc you have caused with both Shadow Walker, taken us to the depths and then raised to the heavens. We have known love and desolation, and I could have destroyed you with fire and turned your bones to ashes. Yet my hand was stilled by what was glimpsed in your eyes and heart. You have never taken advantage of our relationship, why?

He Who Is Clothed In Shadow And Strength:

Do you need me to answer that my lady? My trust, faith and love are pledged to you and only you. We may walk different paths but there is honour between us. It was so in the beginning of all things when life issued forth from Nothingness, before I, transformed into what I am now…You chose to fall my lady, the enormity of your sacrifice overwhelms me at times.

She Who Is Silence Before The Storm:

It is an act never regretted, for I have been the hand that has guided and protected the lost, vulnerable and Seekers through the darkness. I have been the destroyer of armies of darkness swarming out of the gates of the Abyss, and I have served justice upon the breakers of sacred oaths. I guard the Temple gates. I gift you the fire and my love Shadow Walker, do what needs to be done and I shall do my part. The fire of the Sun behind the Sun shall purge the insidious growth of betrayal.

He Who Is Clothed In Shadow And Strength:

I serve as you wish.

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SplitShire, Pixabay

Withdrawal Behind The Veils

The two figures remain seated, with hands clasped together and deep in thought. They savour this moment, one of many to come. They are the epitome of the Sun and Moon, invested with their respective powers. They are the balance of forces flowing through the Universes, the arbiters of justice and guardians of the Path. The minutes tick by, eternity passes and then the Powers withdraw behind the Veils to do what is necessary.

Here ends my tale, an exploration of an issue that has been troubling me for a while. On the nature of initiates (or otherwise) who choose to seek the path of power for reasons of status and gain. Surely negating the very reason they chose to seek evolution and growth, in the end such actions only bringing down hubris upon their heads. FIN.

 

Dark Night Of The Soul – Conflagration #writephoto

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Image: Sue Vincent

My offering for Sue’s Thursday Photo Prompt has taken form due to long meditations on Mary Magdalene. There is no such thing as coincidence, an inner urging had brought me to this point for a reason.  I looked at the photo and thought “write it.”

Time has been spent in endless speculation regarding the level of vitriol thrown at the one they called the Magdalene. What motivated her detractors to shred her reputation and worth? Fear? Their insecurities? The need to diminish the power of the Feminine to an image that’s less threatening is quite telling. “Whore” is a label too easily used to demean don’t you think?

The character in this tale is undergoing an experience called the “Dark Night of the “Soul.” It’s something that’s accompanied humanity for a very long time. This state of being has been generous in its favours and spreads them widely amongst all paths, traditions and faiths, or those of no faith.

The Soul (and Ego) at such times may confront difficult truths and the death of the old way of life. They may struggle deeply at the darkest point before the rays of the Sun emerge over the horizon. These experiences also herald a transformation of importance. Each person’s encounter is different.

Many of us have been overshadowed by it, and will continue to throughout life. These are pivotal moments, confronting us with soul shattering despair and bleakness. Of hope being but a distant vision. Abject inertia and past memories may infuse every cell and tear shed. The one suffering may wonder why they’ve been abandoned, why Love and Compassion have hidden themselves.

Unconditional Love and Compassion. So often missing from this world and human interaction. It needn’t be the case.

I wonder if the Magdalene felt this utter shattering of her being at the point of no return, for it has to be remembered she was one of the disciples. Therefore had access to the inner (esoteric) teachings, gnosis would not have been an unfamiliar concept to her. Dear reader, is this idea distasteful to you? I don’t wish to offend, but remind you that Mystics come from many paths and traditions, and seek the One ultimately, seek completion and wholeness.

Now, what of this suffering Mystic who waits, praying for the Dawn to come and Light to appear? Dear reader, I may write these words but the sentiments are gathered from legions of Seekers who have travelled this road.

The shadows wait patiently as they can see I have no avenue of escape. The hand of time moves slowly, agonizingly slowly, until my Soul is ripped apart. How the blood spatters and enshrouds what’s left of my humanity and dignity. My eyes see but not truly see the road ahead. They have all left, the Cup has been veiled and waits on the Light to return. I am bereft, bereft of purpose and meaning. There is an emptiness that waits at my core, it waits to be filled, but neither food not drink appear.

The stars have been torn from their home and languish in the depths of a slate blue sea. I stare into its waters with unseeing eyes. My throat is parched, it seems a conflagration resides there. What will quench its fire? Who will utter the words of release, is it to be me or you? Who will wipe my brow and offer arms of comfort? I ask the questions but only silence answers, it echoes endlessly. Yet, I know the One waits, hears my prayers of anguish.

O Great Sun who gives us life, warms our blood and gives forth food from the Earth,

Free us from the tomb filled with death and decay in the midst of life.

 Give us words of comfort and lift us up when our bloodied feet can no longer walk,

When our hearts are weighed down with thoughts of despair and alienation,

Unleash the waters of Life to cleanse and purify.

 We seek Love that has abandoned its home, call its name but hear nothing.

We stretch out hand in the darkness, urge the Wayshowers to guide us,

But our eyes cannot see for they are blinded by fear and hopelessness.

 My words fall like stones in a pool, ripple outwards, how far will their message travel?

Will the One hear my pleas and gather up my torn and tattered Soul? I wait for the dawn, watch the hand of time move slowly, agonizingly slowly. My ears hear nothing, my voice utters silence and my eyes are sightless.

 Then, a voice murmurs from the heart of the darkness veiling the Light, it cries “the Dawn approaches!”

A conflagration arises, sets the world alight. Hail the rising of the Sun! Hail the rebirth of my Soul!

So dear reader, hear ends my little tale, one that begun in symbolic death and achieved rebirth at the coming of Dawn’s fire. Our Mystic lives, regenerates in the Light that comes from the East, in more ways than one. Perhaps you can take away any insights her experience has offered, if it helps…

Bring Me To Love

Quite busy at the moment with other things, and there are also a few posts waiting to be worked on, but here’s my offering for the goddess Hathor’s altar. The poem is my own and the song from the late Donny Hathaway, who’s missed very much. This song prompted me to pen my little “off the cuff response” to the gent’s passionate entreaties. Why not? The sleeping heart responds well to the ministrations of Music and Love, on the mundane and spiritual levels. Does it work? You tell me…

 You sing of love my dream awakened,

Offer me sublime visions,

What else can I do but cup your heart in my hands?

Your look of fire burns my soul,

And sets the Universe alight.

Bring me to Love,

Let me hear your voice soar.

 

The taste of honey from your lips can never be erased,

Why try to forget what we have?

I sink into an ocean of Love,

Sink into its embrace and whispered entreaties,

Bring me to Love,

Let me hear your voice soar.

 

Feel my smile against your cheek.

Come, take my hand and let’s give in to the music,

Feel its heartbeat,

Answer with one of our own.

Bring me to Love,

Let me hear your voice soar.

 

There can never be another match like this,

So forget the past and,

Bring me to Love,

Let me hear your voice soar.

 

Rare Moments

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noellagiftshop, Pixabay

Seeing rare moments crystallised in beauty,

Silence of the ages descending.

Eyes glimpse reflections in obsidian mirrors,

Mouths murmur secrets never to be revealed.

The Lotus rises from depths murk filled,

Hides knowledge most profound,

Yet unveiled it must be,

Offered as sacrifice to Souls asleep.

Sacred breath touches,

Gently unveils passion within.

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PixxlTeufel, Pixabay

We hover for a moment in time,

Seeking Love in plain sight,

Seeing rare moments crystallised in beauty.

Azure Horizons

Penmon Point, Anglesey, Jan Malique

They say you can hear the songs of ancient mariners drift in from azure horizons. Surprisingly melodic, even angelic, voices of brawny and sinewy men of adventure. Their eyes filled with visions of home and kaleidoscope of colour, scent and danger.

Or is this our perception of lives spent in toil and souls answerable only to the vast embrace of a lover with no equal? She whose taste is of salt and blood, whose voice lulls in times of quiet and roars in times of anger. Yet, your fidelity is unshaken and your liaison unbroken.

What say you ancient mariner of the journeys you’ve undertaken, of your calloused hands gripping rope and sail? Tell me more of your half whispered secrets, of things that can’t be uttered without fear of retribution and words that cut.  Are you blessed ones of Poseidon? What fealty do you give to one that offers safe passage across the boiling oceans of the Soul?

How deep your eyes are ancient mariner, they shimmer like azure horizons. As for your crows feet, what stories they could tell! My fingers itch to touch your wide smile, question the mystery, and its teasing. Speak once more of your journeys, sit awhile and share this wine of remembrance. Sit awhile and share this peace, of like-minded souls, of strangers that smile in comradeship. Salut!

Following a Dream

Love Leading the Pilgrim, Edward Burne-Jones, Wikiart

The works of Edward Burne-Jones touch the heart deeply, as only beauty can. Yes, it is in the eye of the beholder, but it is within the gift of the heart to open the vision to sublime sights. The painter is a favourite of mine and his works have been a source of inspiration on many occasions.

This work was the last major piece completed by Burne-Jones. It was dedicated to his friend the poet, Algernon Swinburne. The painting depicts the God of Love (in the guises of Cupid and a Christian angel) guiding a Pilgrim on his quest to find Love. Much of the work produced in collaboration with William Morris was influenced by Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Romaunt of the Rose, including this one.

So is the scene set. This post has been languishing for a while, waiting to see the light, hoping for a glance from me. I’ve given it apologetic looks, guilty more like! Anyway, the time has come for it to say what’s been on its mind. The pursuit of Love is an honourable and worthy endeavour. Many walk in its footsteps, yearning to get a glimpse of something unattainable and intangible.

Many become blinded by the glamour of the thought of being in love, never rising beyond the quagmire of false perceptions and narcissism. Who do they call upon to release them from the barrier of sharp, thorn infested rose bushes?

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Cupid finding Psyche: winged cupid standing over body of Psyche asleep below a fountain, roses on a trellis behind, Wikiart

Who hears their cries for help and plaintive emotions, hidden deep in the heart? A heart feeling bereft, wanting so desperately to feel the arms of a loved one around them. Do the Gods hear their petitions and entreaties? Beware what you wish for sweet human! Yet, following a dream yields many rewards, elicits the blessings of divine beings, indeed brings you to the attentions of Love itself.

Pilgrims are to be found in many places, not always associated with religion and spiritual paths. Their goals are many and pursued with differing degrees of fervour. I’m not sure whether I can adequately express the strength and depth of this noble endeavour. My characters Amunet and the angelic being, Seraph, had tasted of the waters of Love in its intensity. They’d been left marked by its kiss and declarations of eternal fidelity.

Is this what Pygmalion was hoping for when he shaped Galatea out of a seemingly lifeless material. He prayed and offered to Aphrodite for his creation to be given life and breath. She answered and thus was love consummated, made real. What dreams are we following in the pursuit of Love?

This is a Love that transcends mere emotion and physical needs. You could say it was a yearning of the Soul to follow this path, to know truly the intensity of living.

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Pygmalion and the Image I: The Heart Desires, Wikiart

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Pygmalion and the Image II: The Hand Refrains, Wikiart

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Pygmalion and the Image III: The Godhead Fires, Wikiart

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Pygmalion and the Image IV: The Soul Attains, Wikiart

 

Betrayed: The Priestess Retreats

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Engin_Akyurt, Pixabay

Love and betrayal have left deep wounds in Amunet’s heart and I was moved to unveil this part of her life. For readers unfamiliar with the character, she’s become an important part of this blog, and started life in a flash fiction challenge.

This mysterious woman, who is part Alchemist, Magician, Mystic and Priestess, joined the ranks of Anubis, Thoth, Odin, the White Hare, and Lightbearer as a core part of the Shed. I’m quite fond of Amunet and consider her to be an outlet for many unanswered questions relating to the Universe and my spiritual path.

She’s divinity encapsulated in human form, and trying to understand what it means to be human. I have trouble trying to understand what it means to be human, so you can imagine how problematic the issue is for her. The priesthood of Ancient Egypt are of particular interest to me, for important reasons, and this is a chance to explore difficult issues facing the individual behind position and title.

As for love and betrayal, many of us have moved between those twin poles and lived to tell our tales. This story has emerged in a stream of consciousness, it’s hovered behind my eyelids and haunted the outer reaches of my imagination. Rather dramatic you may think, but the most emotive and significant stories arise from experiences that strongly shape who we are and are yet to become.

This post was also triggered by a picture someone had created for me, of an ancient Egyptian High Priest. That much I can tell you. Gazing at it stirred deeply buried memories and called Amunet from her place of retreat.

Amunet steps forward to face Anubis and us, trying to avoid speaking of this part of her past but unable to avert her gaze from the pages of the Book of Life. Onwards!

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Deedee86, Pixabay

Amunet:

I’ve tried not to open this book but he called to me, after all this time the man appears to “right the wrongs” he committed against me. What do I do? I feel nothing, what is past is in the past, yet he emerges from the depths of Time to explain his actions and help me with the fruits of his knowledge. He betrayed his calling and the love we shared, all for glory and power. The Gods weren’t served either in humility or with integrity. Yet, this situation isn’t unique, those who serve have often succumbed to the lure of false promises and overwhelming desires, for wealth, power and position. These are the tests thrown across our path.

As for “my” High Priest, “false gods” from the far west promised so much, manipulated him, twisted his mind and body, enhanced his capabilities, turned him away from the path that’s bathed in Light and Wisdom. We were mated in the sacred marriage, Hieros Gamos, as you well know. This sacred bond was broken.

Anubis:

I know all this and more. Yet, step back from your emotions and take an objective view of this issue. He has gained many insights from his experiences. Sometimes the harshest experiences serve to strip away ossified aspects of our personalities, expose the rawness in order for the poisons to be cleansed. So it is with the Soul and Ego. Forgiveness is neither easy nor always appropriate. Choose which option to take, you know what I think, but will always stand by you regardless of the decision.

Amunet:

I’m not sure how to forgive.

Anubis:

(Laughs) Is that so? Yes, I understand the dilemma facing you.

Amunet:

His eyes entreat me, ask for redemption, whatever that means, is it relevant to our situation? It’s an alien concept to me. Where has he been and what has he seen? I feel his hands on my face, so gentle, as for his lips, they kiss deeply and whisper such beauty, and also such perfidy. They knew I could not be manipulated and forced me into the wilderness. Mighty Anpu, you plucked me out of danger and sent me into the world outside Khem, into a world that was deeply unfamiliar. A necessary act, yet my heart bled for millennia to be exiled from home. I lost love as well as all that nourished my very being.

Anubis:

You were never out of my sight, I would not let harm befall you. This may not have been evident at times, but you have free will and could have avoided certain situations. I had to stand back and let you learn my Priestess. It’s time now to regain the power you gave up so willingly, time to face your true Self, believe that all is possible.

He was hem-netjer-tepi (first servant of god), entrusted with political and religious authority and abused it. That is the truth, we all know it. Many have walked that path, succumbed to forces, within and without, compromised principles and sacred oaths. They have served their own desires and ambitions rather than serve the Gods. His weaknesses were found and taken advantage of. It happened to you but you overcame these challenges, stayed true to your heart and Gods. You both loved each other once, do not abandon that experience.

StockSnap, Pixabay

Amunet:

Yes, you’re right. My dear Seraph found love to be a mixture of ambrosia and bitterness, yet never regretted being consumed by it. The High Priest and I need time together to talk and regain trust. Yet, I want to retreat to a place of peace and quiet, because my time is best spent in contemplation mighty Anpu. Suddenly I feel lighter, as if oppression of the past year has dissolved like mist in the rays of Ra.

Anubis:

That can only be of benefit my Priestess. I watched you from the shadows, fretting and yearning, desperate for change. It is coming, be prepared and rejoice. Decide on the direction of the path, what your next step will be. Be always true to your heart, cherish it, for it will either serve you or betray. Go now to the man rather than the High Priest. Learn what he has to teach and prepare yourself.

(Kisses Amunet on the forehead).

Amunet walks towards the waiting man and looks at him with a half-smile. He shakes his head ruefully and takes her hand in his. A butterfly settles on her hand and all is silent. This is a time for reflection and decision-making.

 

Love in Monochrome

StockSnap, Pixabay

My ode to the beauty of Shadow and Light, joined in eternal embrace, seeking meaning in the other and the Void in which they reside. Does it work? Does it really matter I say. Each one of us perceives something different, depending on where we are standing, and whether we are the Yin or the Yang.

She sits gazing at old photos, sees images in light and dark.

Scraps of mutable shades and emotions, creating moods most potent.

Eyes of deepest night gaze intently, speak of yearning beyond fulfilment.

Love in Monochrome, it speaks in volumes,

Invites answers and begs many questions.

***

She feels his fingers lightly brush, spell out deeds of intent.

Electric shocks cascade,

As memories press at doors closed shut.

They demand urgent entry, seek forgiveness all but lost.

How the heart weeps,

Searches in the dark for things best left slumbering.

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photo credit: Napafloma-Photographe Pierres Bretonnes via photopin (license)

The window of the Soul gazes outwards,

Eyes spy paradise aloft on seas of sensation,

Feels the passage of feet long trodden.

How far should each travel?

As long as eternal substance exists,

Yet leave no mark of its coming,

Just a featherlight touch,

A remembrance of things in waiting.

***

Soon the night falls,

Wakens them to possibilities manifesting,

Of Knowledge reignited.

His breath brushes softly, whispers declarations of Love and Sorrow,

Of times spent in Silence.

***

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photo credit: Catherine Reznitchenko Fragile via photopin (license)

Both contemplate the Void of Becoming,

Of possibilities unmanifesting,

And Yin and Yang reuniting.

Of two embracing, of two loving.

Love in Monochrome, it speaks in volumes,

Invites answers and begs many questions.

*** 

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SergiosInc, Pixabay