Inward Journey

None can decipher the riddle lain
concentrically on Merlin's plain...
and now it glows --reborn this night,
when stones are cast in Beltane's light.

"Ah, there you are, my Light Adept...
eager to journey upon this Web?
Be careful what you carry in,
for that will name the labyrinth.

Still, I have hope that I've taught well...
go now; think deep; unweave this spell."
Thus saying, Merlin disappeared,
and left me standing in awe and fear...

First step within the glowing stones
and all else vanished, except this gnome
who smiled kind of impishly
and pointed at a new-grown tree;

"Go with you now, this is your task;
as you perceive, so, too, you mask-
each step reveals your inner voice;
each vision will reflect your choice."

And he, too, left; but on the ground,
a pouch remained, soft leather-bound;
and there within, three moonlit stones
glowed like the silver eyes of crones.

The path led in, beyond the tree;
there was no room to pass by free
and so I pondered this event
and how it matched my pure intent

"Good Tree", I ventured, "what can I do
that I might pass, and journey through?"
"Ask the Owl - she is my guest;
I am here by her request."

"Good Owl", I called, "By your leave,
can you grant me passage this Beltane eve?"
"None can grant what isn't claimed;
none can take what isn't chained;

none can find the center's door
without the key beneath the floor."
"Fair lady, then, by what you say,
I claim my right to pass this way."

And saying thus, the vision cleared:
Owl and Tree had disappeared.
The path lay quiet in expectation
of my next step and revelation.

For several turns of left and right,
for several lengths of dark and light,
I wandered solemn through the lanes
so deftly spun upon the plain.

And then, between two taken breaths,
the ground was water - unknown depths -
lapping at my puzzled feet,
and whispering of an elf to meet

I looked to see how far it flowed;
twas strange that no horizon showed -
and two moons shining down on me;
I sat and waited patiently...

And soon she sailed into view
upon a raft of ash and yew,
and asked if I would like a lift
"Just consider it a gift"

"Nay, fair lady, not for me
a loan, perhaps, or some small fee;
tell me what has brought you here;
tis no mere mortal bends your ear"

"You are the wise one, this I see,
traversing Merlin's tapestry;
tis naught but curiosity
that led my light to talk to thee."

"And that, fair lady, is my gain;
your company is like the rain
whose laughter lights upon the flower
and bids it drink to feel such power;

I wish to listen and to speak;
I wish to know the truth you seek;
to share some tea and honey cake
to share, to give, but not to take"

She lightly laughed, and pointed west,
"Through that forest lies your quest
upon a tightly wooded trail
that passes through our mystic veil;

if you would dare, it saves you days,
but gives you wisdom for this maze.
Who do you trust? Where is your call?
What is the truth, then, after all?

I offer only what you've said
your heart is wiser than your head -
tea and cakes and stories shared
are quite enough your life to spare;

climb aboard and we shall land
upon a beach of turquoise sand;
do follow close that none may see
your presence as some treachery."

And as the mist just fell away,
I saw the beach as clear as day,
and forests stretching far beyond
and wondered just where I had gone.

No matter that, the Web was here;
I felt the touch of Merlin near,
and though I couldn't know for sure,
I kept my own intentions pure

and followed quickly by her side --
and kept misgivings deep inside;
I watched the path and then the trees,
and soon saw shelters built in these

careful not to hurt the wood -
a partnership I understood;
they crafted houses, ramps and swings,
and many more amazing things.

She took me to the nearest one-
"This is my home, and you may come;
but only can you stay an hour
beyond that you will lose your power

and never find the Elven door
that leads you back to your own shore.
So come for now have cake and tea,
and spin your shaman tales for me."

And so I did, and so it was,
and in an hour I quickly paused,
and bid her thanks, and found the trail
that led me through that mystic veil.

And there before me was the light
of glowing stones to left and right
that marked the maze of Merlin's heart-
a pyroglyphic piece of art.

A few turns later, I stood amazed
for there the Center calmly lay
like melted rainbows in a pond
drawing me to step beyond:

A mist was rising of rainbow hue -
"Tell me, Adept, is your heart true?"
The voice came soft from deep within...
the mist took form, like some lost djinn,

"Silly woman, why feed your fear?
Can you not see the Grail here?
Tis yours to drink, to heal yourself,
to bridge the worlds of Man and Elf;

believe your heart, and not your eyes,
know the Truth and not the lies;
you walked the Path that led this far
following your Inner Star.

Trust, and drink, and stay a while."
And then she gave a little smile.
"You've done quite well; so sit and rest;
I guard you still, as ever, my Guest."

And so I drank of My Lady's Grail...
but going back is another Tale.

Beltane 2002