magic

The Spaces between Words

Migratory Words by Su Blackwell

"This is the art and alchemy of poetry: through the spaces between the words, borne along on a wave of rhythm and sound, the life breath of the reader joins that of the poet. In this union of forces, an awakening can happen that is not only new from reader to reader, but in a great poem, from reading to reading."

~ Roger Housden, from Ten Poems to Open Your Heart

After the Birth of the Simple Light

My good friend, Kit, read her favorite poem and chatted about it on Read Me Something You Love

Fern Hill
by Dylan Thomas, from The Poems of Dylan Thomas 

Kit Spahr reading Fern Hill by Dylan ThomasNow as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
     The night above the dingle starry,
          Time let me hail and climb
     Golden in the heydays of his eyes,
And honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns
And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves
          Trail with daisies and barley
     Down the rivers of the windfall light.

And as I was green and carefree, famous among the barns
About the happy yard and singing as the farm was home,
     In the sun that is young once only,
          Time let me play and be 
     Golden in the mercy of his means,
And green and golden I was huntsman and herdsman, the calves
Sang to my horn, the foxes on the hills barked clear and cold,
          And the sabbath rang slowly
     In the pebbles of the holy streams.

All the sun long it was running, it was lovely, the hay
Fields high as the house, the tunes from the chimneys, it was air
     And playing, lovely and watery
          And fire green as grass.
     And nightly under the simple stars
As I rode to sleep the owls were bearing the farm away,
All the moon long I heard, blessed among stables, the nightjars
     Flying with the ricks, and the horses
          Flashing into the dark.

And then to awake, and the farm, like a wanderer white
With the dew, come back, the cock on his shoulder: it was all
     Shining, it was Adam and maiden,
          The sky gathered again
     And the sun grew round that very day.
So it must have been after the birth of the simple light
In the first, spinning place, the spellbound horses walking warm
     Out of the whinnying green stable
          On to the fields of praise.

And honoured among foxes and pheasants by the gay house
Under the new made clouds and happy as the heart was long,
     In the sun born over and over,
          I ran my heedless ways,
     My wishes raced through the house high hay
And nothing I cared, at my sky blue trades, that time allows
In all his tuneful turning so few and such morning songs
     Before the children green and golden
          Follow him out of grace,

Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would take me
Up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand,
     In the moon that is always rising,
          Nor that riding to sleep
     I should hear him fly with the high fields
And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land.
Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,
          Time held me green and dying
     Though I sang in my chains like the sea.

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Unknowing Transformers of Things

“I love your silence. It is so wise. It listens. It invites warmth. I love your loneliness. It is brave. It makes the universe want to protect you. You have the loneliness that all true heroes have, a loneliness that is a deep sea, within which the fishes of mystery dwell. I love your quest. It is noble. It has greatness in it. Only one who is born under a blessed star would set sail across the billowing waves and the wild squalls, because of a dream. I love your dream. It is magical. Only those who truly love and who are truly strong can sustain their lives as a dream. You dwell in your own enchantment. Life throws stones at you, but your love and your dream change those stones into the flowers of discovery. Even if you lose, or are defeated by things, your triumph will always be exemplary. And if no one knows it, then there are places that do. People like you enrich the dreams of the world, and it is dreams that create history. People like you are the unknowing transformers of things, protected by your own fairy-tale, by love.”

~ Ben Okri, from Astonishing the Gods

[Thanks, Deborah!]

Mystery is the Catalyst for Imagination

"One of the things that I bought at the magic store was this: Tannen's Mystery Magic Box. The premise behind the mystery magic box was the following: 15 dollars buys you 50 dollars worth of magic. Which is a savings. Now, I bought this decades ago...I don't keep everything, but for some reason I haven't opened this box...And I started thinking, why haven't I opened it?

The price of mystery has risen a bit since 1976.And I realized that I haven't opened it because it represents something important -- to me. It represents my grandfather...[and] it represents infinite possibility. It represents hope. It represents potential. And what I love about this box, and what I realize I sort of do in whatever it is that I do, is I find myself drawn to infinite possibility, that sense of potential. And I realize that mystery is the catalyst for imagination. Now, it's not the most ground-breaking idea, but when I started to think that maybe there are times where mystery is more important than knowledge, I started getting interested in this."

~ J.J. Abrams, from "Mystery Box," TED, March 2007

See also:

Enchanted by the Trick and the Story

How the Puppets from Fantastic Mr. Fox Were Made [Slide Show] by Julian Sancton, Vanity Fair, 11.23.2009

Wes Anderson discussing the appeal of stop-motion animation with Michael Specter from The Making of Fantastic Mr. Fox: A Film by Wes Anderson Based on the Book by Roald Dahl:

The thing I’ve always loved with stop-motion, more than anything else, is puppets that have fur, and actually not only that. I also like the fighting skeletons in, maybe it’s Jason and the Argonauts, or maybe it’s one of the Sinbad movies where they have the fighting skeletons. But I have always like — I love the way King Kong, the old King Kong, looked, with his fur – the animators call it “boiling.” And for some reason, the whole magical aspect of stop-motion was one of those things where you can see the trick — I mean, you know the Cocteau movies? The visual effects in Beauty and the Beast, for instance, are things where you can really see that a person is behind this wall sticking their arm through it, holding a torch, and the film is running backwards, and so that is how this light is coming on, or the mirror is actually water. You know, those kinds of effects, where you can see what it is, have always been the most fascinating and mesmerizing and moving to me. And with stop-motion, the whole film is that sort of thing in a way, to my mind. So I guess, to the degree that that makes any sense, that’s more or less where it comes from for me. That magical effect where you can see how it is accomplished — where at one and the same time you are enchanted by the trick to the effect and by the story itself. I have no idea why this concept means so much to me.