by Ruby Sara
& at once it struck me, what quality went to form a Man of Achievement especially in Literature & which Shakespeare possessed so enormously – I mean Negative Capability, that is when man is capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact & reason – Coleridge, for instace, would let go by a fine isolated verisimilitude caught from the Penetralium of mystery, from being incapable of remaining content with half-knowledge. This pursued through Volumes would perhaps take us no further than this, that with a great poet the sense of Beauty overcomes every other consideration, or rather obliterates all consideration.
-John Keats in a letter to his brothers Tom and George, December, 1817
The year grows dark, best beloveds. The moon greets me thin and clever in the early night and the Gingko trees have chosen to drop their golden leaves all in a single freezing blue day. I have been lost in a funny blissful nonbeing…passing demons and ghosts with no notice. Ruminating on the long dark, absorbing the lessons of Samhain, which are taking longer this year to soak into the organ of my skin and the meat of my heart. I have become a ravished lover of gravity. I am a mendicant in a world of bones and old leaves.
The fields that were flush with rustling at midsummer are flat and cut, stripped and swollen with dust. Exhausted, the soil gasps in huge breaths, weary from bearing the burden of greed and desperation. I am swaddled in guilt – feeling the season’s spirit blooming and germinating around me like a delicious moss and cradled in the rapture of chill while at the same time caught in the devastating point of loss and confusion – joy and beauty and despair. The Mama breaks me down and builds me back up every season, each time with a piece missing and a new piece added. An extra heart, a missing tongue.
I’ve wandered off into the imaginal barzakh of the Mama’s exquisite squeeze – the season of Beauty and Death. Beauty and candlelyte and darkness. Beauty and poetry. Beauty and the shattering of everything, everything made out of glass. I’m waiting for the darkness to break, and some kind of presence to come back to me. And in the moment, my beloved Keats sidles up to me on the devil’s side (Is there a poet on the angel side? Who on earth would that be? Has there ever been a poet unfamiliar with horns?) and whispers all this deep marvel into my ear, summoned from the crusty tectonics of his home.
This season strips me down and robs me of reason…an enormous season – the sky like a bowl of shining fruit, in which the mystic, the poet, the human, feels the stirrings of sugar in the inky pools of the soul, and the Mama shakes out winds and clouds pulsing with the Longing, the same Longing that kept Keats wrapt in the savage joy of a fast star, spending his 25 years shining like a million matches onto paper. Crying “IO!” on the hilltops, dancing in the Penetralium.
‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty’ — that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know
-from Ode on a Grecian Urn
Traveling into the inner Deep in search of Beauty – hunting the soulskin down into the infinite point between the last second of the long night and the breaking of the solstice dawn. This is the season of the hunt for the Self, and the organic place where the Self and Beauty that underlies all things become impossible to separate. It’s a season that digs deep, and speaks in a multitude of poems and rhymes and singing. Every time I surmise that I am finished my meditations, it worries my skin some more with its sticky teeth.
That is, the Penetralium is neither anima personified as Sophia, nor a temple. “The Penetralium of Mystery” is organic: it is the body, not just of Sophia, but of Sophia and her lover. When mouths meet in a kiss, there is both entering and being entered. The Penetralium is the place of being joined. – Brian Charles Clark, Puck
Words are just fingers pointing at the moon. But in a poet’s hands, there have been moments when words become the moon, and the moon becomes a silver dish of words, if only for a nanosecond. Reaching the place of being joined. Reaching relationship. Uncovering the place where the fact of Beauty leaves the mind and floods instead in a wash of bare branches.
Oh, I am still empty of concrete thoughts. I am on the hunt. Tossing and turning in the night. The season of Negative Capability. Cheers to that delicious boy John and his poems – ancestor to every dreamy heart that sobs in reaching and hunting towards It Knows Not What. Towards the Beloved, and the Home, and the Presence.
Hey. It’s a really really really fucking gorgeous everything, friends Pagani.
Slainte! Go forth and haunt the thickets and tidal pools. Dream of honeycomb communion and a thousand veils. Here’s a cup of spiced mead and a handful of hazelnuts. May your days be encrusted with mystery and your nights spent in the savage luxury of the hunt for the Mabon, the Penetralium, the infinite point and the Beauty that Moves Through All Things. May you find the place where all your weeping becomes all your laughing.
There is a seed of darkness that burns in the light.