THE MUSE

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The Muse is usually a she
according to art history.
More than once I’ve
served in that capacity.

I’ve also known it as a he
a love, an ardent kind
of sustenance, a boon
to heart and mind.

In the end I think
it is a voice inside
wherever the best
part of me abides.

It is ancient, bardic,
will not be cajoled
or come when called
or do as it is told.

“Do the work,” it says,
“and leave the door ajar.
Do not worry.
I know where you are.”
.
.
THE MUSE

74 responses »

  1. I totally love this vision of the muse (as a little bit bullying). Thank you Cynthia ! I have to go, my muse is calling me (one does not want to upset one’s muse)

  2. Ah my muse – oh yes it was talking non-stop earlier this evening. I so wanted to stop what I was doing and my muse, well bless her heart, she gave me a good talking too and I continued until the job was done. My muse? Always finds me, waiting for its call. Happy weekend to you Cynthia ~

    • And I’ll bet she’s cooking up something beautiful…I hope it involves blue bonnets and indian paintbrushes!

      We don’t have the texas type lupines (blue bonnets) but we do have a lot of other lupines up in the nearby foothills. And I read that the indian paintbrush is only up in the mountains of Maine now, too….almost an endangered species. We need a Ladybird Johnson to appear and remedy that situation!

      • So true – Lady Bird wildflower project is an amazing place to see 60 acres of gorgeous flowers. She gave the State and Country a very special treat for generations to come.

    • I can’t imagine anyone–not even your muse—calling what you do “prevarication.” She of all creatures must know it’s procrastination for the purpose of incubation in order for something sensation-al to occur. 🙂

  3. The Muse (possibly a number of them) have come and gone, come and gone, since this poem was written. And we always want to look out into the darkness through the crack in the door! But the jolly Muse has already come into the room and we’re still looking through the crack in the door! (At least that’s what I reckon…)

    • And it’s likely you reckon rightly.

      I feel a one-act verse play coming on…

      a lone actor on the stage, and a voice, [the muse] offstage, that comes through a door held ajar…[stage left]

      maybe a chorus of great poets, musicians, painters [down, right] seated in pews,wearing gossamer robes, who chant/speak in unison mostly, though occasionally one who was very famous in his/her lifetime may rise and sing solo, briefly.

      I am definitely very a-mused, imagining this…

  4. For some reason I thought of the muse employed by a demanding King. That would be hard. Always the practical person, I thought one would have to have some work put aside or up a sleeve.
    Interesting to think of our personal muse as part but also separate. Definately something that defines us as hoomuns! 😀

    • I think you’ve picked up on the same dynamic Derrick mentioned, above. And now that you’ve mentioned it…it probably does define us as humans. But you’ve got me wondering if there isn’t also something like “musing” that goes on with our furry friends….cats making cat-egories and dogs creating dog-ma….when they just sit and silently observe the world, as they sometimes do.

  5. I muse about your skill and clarity when you write a poem. I love this line: “In the end I think
    it is a voice inside
    wherever the best
    part of me abides.”
    The question is, how to get the best that’s inside out and how to make it work.
    Thanks for the inspiration today.

    • Glad to inspire, my friend. Probably the greatest hurdle is to trust….do the work and leave the door ajar…the best that’s inside is not going anywhere, it’s yours. It will come out and play if you trust it, and don’t force it into too much preconception. Thanks for your lovely comment.

  6. It is unfortunate that the ‘muse’ has been personified as a woman since time immemorial.

    Here are some alternatives for your consideration:

    smoke
    the scent of a perfume
    leaden clouds
    foraminifera (and other benthic species)
    the dross that accumulates on copper

    Well, the possibilities are endless.

    • Of course I had to research foraminifera, which led me to all kinds of side trips until I had to shake myself out of the googolplex and come back here to reply to your comment.

      As you say, the possibilities are endless, when it comes to those occurrences that might pique one’s musing. The “muse” itself, however, (if it has a self) may be more like an ecology of ectoplasm and cytoplasm, a constant dynamic that is always liable to change.

  7. This is brilliant, thoughtful, rich, mystical, witty, and yet still accessibly down to earth. Love, love, love it! (Maybe that’s redundant, but that’s how my muse rolls… ) So well done here! Thank you. That you put to words such an often elusive thing is just wonderful.

  8. Cynthia, what with trips to the hospital to see the husband who has undergone a knee replacement operation, I have been irregular…..read the poem about the Wi-Fi and the Muse. Both brilliant, as always….oh how precious the internet is!!! And how I love it! As for the Muse, I can hear her voice but then why can’t I record it 🙂

    • Ah, the muse is fickle that way, “will not come when called or do as it is told…” 🙂
      I agree that the internet is a precious thing, though it is something addictive, too, and I only hope we don’t have to experience what happens when it is suddenly and violently taken away.
      Please give your husband my best wishes. I’ve never had a knee replacement, though I do suffer arthritis in the knees. I hope his operation is all for the better. Thanks, as always, for your visit, Shubha.

  9. May the muse fall as silver moonlight on a black lake at midnight. May the song of a Celtic bard whisper words into ocean waves sweeping on a sandy shore. May the muse turn into a trout, then a man, then a woman as eels spawn electricity into a river meandering to the sea. May Cynthia Jobin reach into the well of herself and pull out a mirror that reflects the nebulae of being into the birth of stars.

  10. I’m with you on this one, Cynthia.

    I find The Muse a fickle companion. Chase her, and she’ll run a mile. Forget her, simply get on with my daily round, mind humbly open to the universe, and maybe – just maybe – she’ll tap me on the shoulder.

    Nice poem.

    Fond regards,

    Paul

    • It takes a while for some of us to discover this, doesn’t it, especially with the temptation to chase fame and fortune, to try to force production of work. Steady at the wheel, and good things happen in their own good time…eh? Thanks, Paul. 🙂

  11. Oh yes …. the muse is that voice within us who often echos the words of wisdom each of us have compiled through time from a variety of encounters. Challenging and guiding, but not devilish.

  12. I needed this poem as I’ve been shutting the muse out for some time. I keep getting involved in other things and not even blogging. I shall read this poem several more times and try to reopen the door. For me that muse is asexual but like all loved ones takes much work; now I’ll have to obey and attempt to comply Thank you, this was needed and I !Love it.

    • It always does seem a contest between what the muse asks and all those things that draw our attention more immediately. Sometimes I am actually grateful for a necessary mundane concern that takes me away from writing, for a while….because service to the muse is indeed work, and in the making of things that come from one’s own hands, mind, or spirit, one sometimes needs to avoid, and simply rest. You’ll be back to your writing when the moment is right, I’m sure. Meanwhile, thank you for coming to read, and for this comment, Jane.

  13. Well, I do the best I can, but being so ancient, I have little choice but to let others do the work. So, when you leave the door ajar, I can but send what I wish upon a star. 🙂

  14. I have a real life muse. She’s inspired me to do all sorts of things (write songs, run half-marathons). In fact, her muse powers are so strong, I sent her a message one day and she told me she couldn’t stop because she was cleaning her windows and then I got an overwhelming urge to clean mine. And I did. It’s almost frightening.

    • Now that’s one cotton-pickin’, chicken pluckin’, capital M, bad-ass muse! If I were you, I would be frightened, too! (No way no muse is gonna make me do windows…) Nice to see you here, MoSy; thanks for the comment!

  15. Your lines, “will not be cajoled
    or come when called”,
    aptly capture my frustration when I sit down to write but the words just don’t come. I suppose it would be even more true in case of poetry.

    • It’s a case of running hot and cold, I guess….the ideas gather and impel, but the right words and sentences take time. Time is really important, in poetry, I think; letting things gel. And even in prose….when you write in the heat of the moment, then let it all cool and return to it later, there is much that you see that is new, in your own words!

    • Well…howdy doody Betty! It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Thank you so much for coming by to read and comment. (I’m going to have to check my “blogs I follow”, and make sure you haven’t dropped off, there.) I hope all is well with you….

      • Howdy doo back to you, Cynthia! I’ve missed you – and just being here on WP. Always enjoy your well-crafted writing – clever, often humorous, yet also powerful and serious beneath the surface… meaningful on many layers. Will hopefully be back soon to get caught up – with you and others. (I’m needing to get to a pain clinic to see if there are some new treatments available for the lower back pain. ANYthing to be the boss of me again. 🙂 ) Hope you are doing well!

        • I’m so sorry to hear about the chronic pain, Betty. Brother Pain is also my constant companion, and lack of mobility is a problem I never expected to encounter so “meaningfully”, having been a competitive swimmer and skier. I hope the pain clinic can help you; it really is good to find you back in blogsville. and as my French-speaking ancestors would say: Bon courage!

          • Cynthia, I’m really sorry to hear you also deal with “Brother Pain”. It doesn’t seem fair when we reach the age where we know who we are and exactly what we want to do – and we finally have the time – and then pain (or some other malady) stops us in our tracks. Augh!! You take care – and “Bon Courage” to you also. It’s good to be in touch with you again.

  16. I do not know why I don’t seem to receive notices telling me when you’ve posted your latest.

    They always get me thinking, then thinking more. And it is such a smorgasbord reading through all the commentary your friends/readers post!

    The fascination is how delicate the dance is between the inspired and inspiree, especially for poets, as told us here by you. Does she visit when reading another’s verse–when suddenly this springs forth an emergent budding of your own? Maybe it’s the meter which stirs her voice inside–landing on a rhythm at once forgotten and newly-found–a visual image (the photograph at the bottom of the drawer)–a sound (the dripping from melting eaves)–that feeling which cannot be identified except in iambs, trochees, spondees—-the way in which she ambushes, succunders you, if only for that tightly-held few moments which, if not seized on, finds her flitting away in fickle dismissal as you pay more attention to the whistling kettle than to her.

    I gave up waiting.
    Now I know I must begin first and only then find her over my shoulder, telling me where the cracks in the mountain’s boulders should come. If I wait for her to provide the feeling of wanting to create, I can wait forever. It is almost as though my starting something makes her jealous, making her want to control how the rest should go and prevent me from becoming my own muse, thus depriving her of her place (smile).

    • What a dear you are, Lance. I don’t know why you aren’t getting notices of my postings….but I do know that I often have trouble commenting on your blog. Ah..well..we get through in the end; there may be some influence of kindred-soul telepathy at work.

      i’m glad you enjoy the smorgasbord, because it usually delights me, myself and I. And your “take” on how the muse operates is spot-on. Egads what a great word is “succunders” ! Like any true artist–at least in my book–you understand the meaning of “do the work…and leave the door ajar.” I love your image of the muse as showing up because she’s jealous and wants to be in control. It is just perfect.
      Thank you so much, as usual, my friend.

    • Neither have I…but there’s a whole tradition of the female muse among noted artists (male, of course) in art history. I really don’t even think of the muse as a person, but more as a force of nature…

  17. Reblogged this on and commented:
    I’m just learning this morning of Cynthia’s passing. She was immensely talented and I’m so grateful for her support over the years. She was kind, and lovely, and I will miss her little corner of the ‘net most terribly.

    Rest well, dear Cynthia!

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