Wednesday, May 14, 2008


The Sewer Raccoon News editor and his spouse recently took a trip to Evansville WI to visit and partake of a home-cooked dinner with our friends Shay Harris and Boye Nagle. Professional counselors and therapists, they have a charming old house in this brick-streeted town of 4000 residents near Madison. And they are the guardians of a compliment of four (4) four legged co-residents. At least one of their cats is possibly reincarnated from a predecessor, a multi-colored calico who liked to have his white patch rubbed for long periods of time. It is believed that he came back and into Shay's loving arms as a 100% white long hair.

The SR editor met Shay Harris at a drumming circle some years ago at the Elm Grove WI Unitarian West church. From the first moment that she smudged him with the incense via a large bird's wing, along with his friend Norman (they saw that and momentariy considered leaving), she has been a special and steadfast friend.

Boye is a poet. Below is a wonderful one that she gave permission to reprint in the SR News. It has been previously published in the magazine Matrifocus. (On the WWW) Here are a few previously-printed words from Boye ahead of the poem:

"As a working-class Irish girl, I didn't exactly grow up with a literary background. In our house we were never exposed to poetry, unless it was the words to one of my Father's favorite folk songs. In fact, a childhood brain injury made traditionally taught English Literature classes very difficult for me. However, one of the ways my brain compensates for the frontal lobe injury is to find the rhythms, feel the heartbeat in everyday life or a piece of writing. This gives me an innate ability to read and understand poetry. If you like, I'm wired to be a poet and to appreciate poetry.
I could write passable poems before I could successfully write prose. In my early twenties I started performing poetry in pubs and bars, and for a couple of years I was probably the most well-known dyke poet in London. It was my mission to seduce women who would never consider reading a poem or buying a book of poetry.
Since that time I have been published in international collections with poets like Judy Grahn, Pat Parker and Adrienne Rich. I have also had poetry published in women's journals around the country, in web-publications, and in a number of self-published chapbooks. In graduate school I discovered the Sufi poets and the mystical poet in myself. My serious study of poetry and the mystical aspects of poetry began. I took a doctoral class in mystical poetry, which ultimately became the basis of my graduate thesis, Mystical Poets Don't Have to Be Dead Poets. I edited a collection of mystical poetry, a poetic conversation between famous poets — most of them dead — and the poetic responses to their work from the members of the class, who were very much alive. The resulting book reveals the potential of reading and writing mystical poetry as a form of spiritual practice. Based on this, I have been negotiating with a publisher for a book based on the power of words in magic and the use of mystical poetry as a magical practice."


Crow Magic

We chant open our hearts and the Great Mother enters the room —I feel her round form emerge from the black clay of my chest—She is crying—Her tears are springs of new life washing over us—The truth she sings becomes the hue of our shadow—She speaks us into the circle of life—


is the beginning of life,

It contains the spark of creation


is "nigredo" matter unformed

Bursting with potential.


Is nothingness, the building block of all that matters

The foundation of all matter.


Is the night sky

Where the ancestors burn their fires and watch over us.


Is the canvas of our dreams,

The roadmap to health and wholeness.


Is the moment before dawn

Pregnant with morning.


Is the womb,

The mother's power and protection.


Is the coal she gave

To fuel the fire of my childhood winter evenings.


Is faith, the ability to walk forward

Without the comfort of vision.


Holds infinity,

Unknown possibility and the potential of magic.


Is the crow,

Cawing death, chance and prediction.

It is black we wrap around ourselves when we go inside, to the still, silent place where no one can harm us.

In black-ness everything mingles; it is where the spirits of the four legged and the two legged are one; it is where we learn to be shape shifters.

Without black, white cannot know itself as white, white cannot exist.

Black is the beginning. Black is the end.

Black is the mother. Black is home.

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