Sunday, February 3, 2013

Things Unexplainable Incite Fear

In the Discoverie of Witchcraft,
Reginald Scot illuminated the
shadows of the craft-exposing
the heretical inanity that mania

Brightly dimming glimmer raised
upon the dais

Fostering contempt to those that
supposedly lived under Christian skies, yet
still cast many upon the throes of
persecution in what was a case of premature reactions
to thing unexplainable.

It is also entirely likely, that some of these knees jerked quickly in what was seen as the necessary immediacy to quell the flames of embarrassment from spreading any further.

Powerful officials do not enjoy egg or pie

how wonderful an art
Rabbits in hats
birds fluttering across the proscenium arch
beautiful assistants cut in two

how it's elevation has been altered,
focusing on illusion more and more
as the days have pushed forward, until today,
where we have, some of the most outstanding
magician's ever displayed,

No disrespect of course,
to those that paved the way, for without, the shadow
of the craft, will never have burned so brightly as it does today

Yet still,
it is sad that many of these pioneers of craft,
found just as many accusations of conspiring with evil, as they did
the awes from those enamored by their act, one that was, as is today, not so easily explained.

Over at D'Verse, Karin(aka Manicdaily) is hosting Poetics and has written a pretty neat article regarding Groundhog's Day, no not the classic comedy, but the one about Phil, the lovable shadow seeing rodent of lore.  In the article she hones in on a theme for this week's poetics.  That being, the bright shadow.  Thinking upon this seeming incongruity, my thoughts somehow were pushed to thinking about how we as a society are quick to chastise and condemn those considered different.

My original intent was to cover sort of a sweeping timelines of such instances. I was going to being with some examples from Foucault's wonderful History of Madness and move forward through the ages, winding up with something of current relevance.  However, in the simmering process, I quickly recalled an old text referred to in one of the magic books I have and eventually found it.  This text of course being the Discoverie of Witchcraft, which is more a condemnation against the premature and inane persecutions of those considered witches by the Church of that day.  In addition, it offers what is perhaps one of the first clarifications about Magic, not the dark arts magic, but the hocus pocus, rabbit in a hat magic.  Without actually reading the book, I do hope the references I came across in my books and the quick search I did on the book are accurately portrayed in how I used it here, and in result, I am intrigued enough to try and find a copy.

So, after I settled on this one facet of the theme I chose, I thought it encompassing enough not to go further into other examples, which, as I said, was my original game plan, which of course would of been possible to do, yet also seemingly unnecessary.

I urge you all to promptly hop on over to D'Verse, read Karin's article, compose your own piece on this idea of Bright Shadows.  Once you do, share it on the site, and check out all the wonderful responses from the other poets of D'Verse.  Cheers.


  1. yeah..we're really are quick to chastise and condemn those considered different... made me think about the burning of women with red hair that they accused to be witches and you can find thousands of examples during history and in the everyday as well.. and somehow, in our rationalized world, the hunger for magic and art seems to grow and grow and grow..

  2. I always enjoy a good magician and am awed with what one can accomplish. What a shame that at one time a magician was persecuted for being able to practice the craft. I grew up in Harry Houdini's hometown; and, in fact, in one school I went to as a child my classroom looked right out AT Harry Houdini's childhood home, which is now the Houdini Museum. Every Halloween a group meets there now to try to summon a message from him back from the grave. So message!

  3. Thanks for the intro to Scot -- that he wrote about hops and debunked witchcraft puts him high on my chart of 16th century fellows, right along with the brave Galileo and the shyless Machiavelli.

    I am unclear if you are pointing at possible negative consequences of the impact of "Discoverie of Witchcraft" but the wiki article on it says:

    His aim was to prevent the persecution of poor, aged, and simple persons, who were popularly credited with being witches. The maintenance of the superstition he blamed largely on the Roman Catholic Church, and he attacked writers including Jean Bodin (1530–1596), author of Démonomie des Sorciers (Paris, 1580), and Jacobus Sprenger, supposed joint-author of Malleus Maleficarum (Nuremberg, 1494).

    Which sounds very noble -- he sounds ahead of his time. Apparently even Shakespeare used this book.

    I too love magic and do many tricks -- but like the Amazing Randi, I also like to use it to show people the silliness of their own minds -- OUR own minds.

    Thanx for the think -- fun read. Magic is a wonderful art -- once debunked.

  4. Hi Fred, what an interesting topic and approach. I've not connected witches and how they were treated with modern magic--being a woman, I focus on the mistreatment of women side of it - but of course, there were also men accused of being witches, and also there is a lineage. Maybe we have so much "magic" in our lives today what with electricity etc. we are not so threatened.

    At any rate, I especially liked the beginning of this. The mania part, the egg on the faces of the officials. I honestly think it could end on the egg line and be a very complete poem. I like the other magic part too, but the focus on the witches is so compelling - and that egg and pie line is so strong. Anyway, thanks - much enjoyed. k.

  5. we often condemn that which we can not understand you know...none worse about it than the church either i guess...all those that died of witchery back in salem and such, sad...i like the egg and pie line...made me laugh...nice fred...

  6. Intriguing, Fred... the magic and witchcraft a wonderful example of shadows.

  7. The title post says it all Fred ~ Which we can't understand and explain brings out fear and to an extent, persecution to those who are fascinated with the darker side of life ~ Thanks for sharing your thoughts ~

  8. Yeah they always did seem to find some turn about to make it work in their favor either way, like the rock and if you sink one. Great trip down the magical history lane.

  9. i like how you give the sense that Magic was real, but now, it's all illusion

    hades gate

  10. Very interesting theme, in centuries past, those in power as you say did not like egg on their faces and magicians, like the old satirists walked the fine line that could end up with them permanently in the shadows... strange times indeed. A great take on the prompt...very intriguing. Enjoyed!

  11. Thank God I am not a powerful official -- I do like my pie! :)

    Or maybe we poets are the most powerful officials of all? Yes, now that I think of it that way. Love being the supreme being, and we the purveyors of the endless facets of beauty in it. Love -- the way to react to all things unexplainable. Yes, that'll be my story and I'm sticking to it! :)

    And this poem makes me think of the time Samantha went back to old Salem with the ball point pen. On Bewitched that was, of course. Another sticky widget of a plot, but she got out of it with Endorra's help, of course! I think that was her mom's name, right? :)


  12. clear perspective and interesting discussion
    it is a good prompt =)