Not too long ago I wrote that Janis Ian is my muse
and to be sure, she is one of them; often
the great Leonard Cohen fits the bill as well.
But I know my ephemeral flibberty-gibbet can
just as easily be found in an accident you cannot drive by
or a stand of old growth paper-white birch trees.
I have also found her stuffed in worn-out comfortable slippers
more than once, but also in slinky red-leather stilettos
with bows tied at the ankles; she likes to dance, she does.
There have been times when I haven’t been paying
her proper attention and she sneaks away into thoughts
so hidden, I fear they will never be revealed,
or into a race-car speeding down the Autobahn.
My muse frequents weather of all extremes
and is especially fond of forked lightning
and pewter rain pouring down in sheets.
She has been found on the wing,
flying with thousands
of migrating monarch butterflies,
arch-angels, or swallows in Italy;
or curled in the tail of a cerulean dragon.
She lives with Schrodinger’s cat briefly
from time to time,(as you might well imagine,
it’s the only way that can work)…
And she often comes fresh from sparkling,
ancient stained glass windows.
My muse likes to linger near unborn children,
passionate indignation,flag-draped coffins,
enigmas and wolves–alone, and in packs.
And sometimes–more often than not–
she flits around test-tubes filled with grief;
asylums, lunatics, chains, and other sordid prompts.
My muse is reflected in most of what I write
and she returns there sometimes
to remind herself of what sparks her alive.
But not infrequently, she helps me to write
from a place of regret, or intolerance,
or rage at indifference or injustice.
She encourages me to remember, I am writing
to try and stay sane in an insane world;
and she leads me to gentler places where
there are horses, my grandsons, sobbing cellos,
mountains,and the love of my life
who both permeates my life and frames it.
My muse can be a fierce warrior or the kindest
most sympathetic ear in my life.
I have recently learned she is a shape-shifter,
ready to become whatever it is I need;
and I am finally grasping the fact that I am better off
with her in my life than out of it.