the cell of fancy

Mine eyes he clos'd, but op'n left the Cell
Of Fancie my internal sight, by which
Abstract as in a transe methought I saw....           Milton, Paradise Lost

The pattern and the weaver intersect
in the cloth that makes a sturdy thing of threads
that would stretch and fray and snap alone, but bound
are strong enough to catch and ride the wind
beneath the mappable stars to imagined coasts
of rock and sand as hard as that from which
the ship set off.  As each new coast is tamed
to settlement and port, to city, resort
or battlefront, the patterns spread and swirl
like the cape upon the toreadorís bent arm,
brushing the bullís hot, furious hurricane
and setting it loose to come again and die.
That night, beneath the woven blanket, men
and women gasp and breed, spilling patterns,
future imagined and seized, the pattern of breath
defying inescapable death in a shape
familiar across the woven seas of space
and time, in waves that shatter on the shore
and gather and rush again, eternal rhythm
that minds can touch and measure, cut and sew
without scissors or needle, make a robe
to sweetly, lewdly cling to the shifting shape
of fancy as cloth or pattern.  Which it is,
is immaterial to the meaty dance.

J. B. Mulligan

If you have any comments on these poems, J. B. Mulligan would be pleased to hear from you.