I've fleshed out two poem fragments this week and like them both. One I'll be submitting to a favorite speculative poetry market this morning, but the other isn't really speculative, and it isn't really Pagan either. It's been years since I submitted anything to a muggle poetry journal, but more importantly, I just don't know whether or not I want to submit this one anywhere, and not because I don't think it's good enough.

I just want to give it away.

I've been building a writing career for years on the practice of crafting, submitting and publishing my work. That's the way it's done, but the old school bard in me longs for public recitation followed by gifts of wine and the singular pleasure of hearing my work recited by someone else later on, of knowing that what I've created has been added to a canon or cultural pool, of learning that I have inspired. Yes, these things can be achieved by the traditional publishing route, and the process of submission is a peer review of sorts. At the same time, that process imposes certain ideologies on the act of creation and transmission that sometimes interfere with the relationship between a poet and those who receive her poetry. For instance, poems published in X journal might be automatically viewed as 'good enough to be in it', but poems published in Y journal might not be 'as good' and self-published poems might not be 'good at all'. And while the review editors give to the poems they read is crucial to ensuring the publication of well-crafted poetry, and while I am a great fan of poetic excellence, I am also a bard who knows there are deeper relationships at work in the act of creation, and these transcend the places where poetry finds its home in the world.

Of course, I'm not saying that I plan to write for nothing now; the ancient Irish bardic houses were well-supported by their chieftains until the Flight of the Earls left them bereft (and I would add that the Aisling period of Irish poetry that followed produced some of the most haunting Irish verse in history without the financial support of these absent chieftains). I'm also not saying that I don't care about the traditional road to publishing success, because I do, and I want for my work to be widely read. But I've been taken by the urge to balance money and success with the deeper imbas in me, to write for the people who might read my work and not for the people who might publish it (there's a difference). I'm not sure what that means for me yet, but I want to find out, and I want to find out what that poetry (and fiction! and non-fiction!) might look like.

Anyway, here's the poem. I drafted it in my car on a foggy night after standing on the Lawrencetown beach while the waves beat at the rocks so powerfully they vibrated in my body. I hope you like it.

Mine Is the Night Ocean

Mine is the night ocean,
the fog ocean,
the wild ocean.

Here the implacable sea prays, herself to herself
in the stone-crushing crackle of undertow.
Here the brine foam sings of salted lungs
and the fish that pick flesh clean.

Lulled, leaning in, arms wide as a heron's wings,
tidal gravity luring me on to the water's edge,
the pitch of my body like ship tilting leeward,
the drum of the surf rumbling in my bones -

I know fear, and the conqering of it, and I am cleansed.

Mine is the night ocean,
the fog ocean,
the wild ocean.