the isle of apples

Do you chase that other Eden,
ruled by nine sisters, that dreaming place
that swims just past wave-kissed vision,
where women pose as mermaids
and stretch their arms over the Atlantic?

This is the heart of legend, spawning the ore
used to forge the sword in the stone:
the land of mist and promises,
where kings are made,
where all journeys end.

There are no more golden apples.
We know earth is earth, stone hard
and bone-breaking beautiful
if we take our eyes from the grail,
from the ideas that swallow us deeper
than any big fish and do not release us,
spat up on the shore
where we are called to be prophets,
gasping, wet, stinking of the sea;
but instead break us down,
acid eating even our bones.

The magic of all quests is the quest,
the things learned along the way,
not the won object winking and whispering
eternal salvation, immortal life, forever love;
lives wasted chasing fountains of youth
and fruit tasted once.

Seek for the sake of the search.
Leave the sword in the stone.
Legends are for kings
until they find the perfect places to die.
Leave life on the tree, and rather
savor the wild strawberries
grown dense over the roots of myth,
ripe and forgotten.

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About Susan L Daniels

I am a firm believer that politics are personal, that faith is expressed through action, and that life is something that must be loved and lived authentically--or why bother with any of it?
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76 Responses to the isle of apples

  1. deanabo says:

    This is really good writing!

  2. davidtrudel says:

    Susan, you are an extraordinarily gifted writer and this is an exemplary piece of work. Absolutely love it!

  3. Alice Keys says:

    Beautiful dreamy landscape of images. I love this one.

  4. Absolutely love this Susan — Possesses the kind of cohesive vision beginning to end that I strive for and rarely achieve. Truly Mytho-Poetic. We really are in charge of our own myth-making. This speaks strait to a lot of the non-fiction I’ve been reading of late — will post some quoty stuff soon…

    • Johnny, thank you! You made me blush…

      other than that blushing thing, would really enjoy reading any quotes you want to put out there. Sounds like you have been doing some interesting reading.

  5. mmmmmm … wild apples ~ but for me ‘lives wasted chasing fountains of youth
    and fruit of a tree tasted once; a price / we are still paying with ashes and bones’ ~ oooohhhh I love it …

  6. cfbrown (कवि) says:

    BEAUTIFUL, STUNNING, AMAZING. WOW SUSAN! WOW. I just had to pause from studying to exclaim over this, wow.
    “There are no more golden apples,
    and of the need to find heaven on earth,
    we know earth is earth, stone hard
    and bone-breaking beautiful”
    I mean philosophers spend lifetimes on this alone and

    “Seek for the sake of the search.
    Leave the sword in the stone.
    Legends are for kings
    until they find the perfect places to die.
    Leave the fruit on the tree, and rather
    savor the wild strawberries
    grown dense over the roots of myth,
    ripe and forgotten.”

    MASTERFUL. billions of applause and accolades

    • Chris, wow, thank you so much! This was something that insisted on being written today. Really appreciate the comment, and I am red as those strawberries I talk about here.

  7. unfetteredbs says:

    Such depth Susan. You really have “IT”

  8. cfbrown (कवि) says:

    lol :-) it is well deserved.

  9. I am amazed, nay stunned at the brilliant way you weave the words and ideas into this excellently done poem. From Eden and Eve to Jonah and the whale, to the holy grail quest. Susan, your talent is superb. God bless you :-)

  10. Miriam E. says:

    wow, Susan… what a beautiful piece!
    “we know earth is earth, stone hard
    and bone-breaking beautiful
    if we take our eyes from the grail,
    from the ideas that swallow us deeper
    than any big fish and do not release us”
    i so adore this – wonderfully worded. now, i am happy about this sleepless night – finally finding some time to read… and i am even more happy i stumbled upon this gem.
    beautiful.

  11. jmgoyder says:

    Absolutely wonderful!

  12. archcardinal says:

    nine sisters – The Muses…
    the land of mist and promises: Avalon and Hy Brasil

    The Major imagery drawn here especially to Avalon and the muses are awestriking. Mnemosyne’s (Memory) Clio (History) and Melpomene (Singing) quite interest me as well as one can deduce a marriage between History and song here all inspired by memory of events, both legendary and mythical. A journey again through the theogony and theosophy of the British Isles is quite remarkable as it also attempt to explore a measure of cosmogony (or not) especially in the Arthurian Legend mentioned and the allusion to the real origins of the metal that forged the sword. In the Isle of Apple, the poet undergoes the ‘toiling’ and still walks into a place of wild strawberries; of unrestricted freedom, even at the expense of exploring the Legend of the Excalibur and possibly living in the high court life in the times of Merlin and Arthur himself(Leave the sword in the stone…) but rather chose a simpler rustic life. I will suspend my critique here and reply in poetry….

    Beautiful and powerful. touches every conceivable utopia and field of nature to express freedom. Am glad I inspired this…

  13. One word suffices to describe this – BEAUTIFUL! Every line is a winner, full, heaving, breathing but these two got me –

    “Legends are for kings
    until they find the perfect places to die”
    Well done< Susan. what a voice!.

  14. I am reblogging this! This is poetry, this is music, this is life as a song – a song about a futile search for the elusive when what really matters is right by us, in us and with us.

  15. Reblogged this on visionvoiceandviews and commented:
    The quest for the elusive

  16. I think my dear you have outdone yourself :-) I love the new site to :-)

  17. Bruce Ruston says:

    really loving the imagery in this

  18. Martin says:

    Nicely done – this is lovely. Have you read The Wanderer? Just stumbled upon it before stumbling here. It seems to resonate with you poem.

  19. claudia says:

    nice…what a journey… esp. loved the …Leave the fruit on the tree, and rather
    savor the wild strawberries….and…Still, we gamble,
    place our lives on the table like so many chips….parts..

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  21. Ruth says:

    beautifully elegant, this is – and with a great ring of truth

    “The magic of the quest is the quest,
    the things learned along the way,
    not the won object winking and whispering
    eternal salvation, immortal life, forever love;
    lives wasted chasing fountains of youth
    and fruit of a tree tasted once; a price
    we still pay with ashes and bones.”

    just so…

  22. Mary says:

    I like the idea of seeking for the sake of the search…..and also of leaving the apples on the tree! Sometimes it is good to reframe the old stories.

  23. brian miller says:

    savor the strawberries grown dense over the roots of myth…smiles…i like that…looking more to where they came from than the story themselves…at least that is the meaning i found in that bit…smiles.

  24. Laurie Kolp says:

    So true, Susan… and beautifully expressed. I especially like stanza 4.

  25. myrthryn says:

    Very nice indeed! I’d probably take the apple anyway, but not lack for the strawberries .

    All too often, we can’t seem to leave well enough alone.

  26. There’s so much to say about this brilliant poem, Susan. I love your weaving of myths that underlie our human quest, no matter the road we follow.

    • Thank you, Victoria! You so got this. It is not so much which myth you pick, but our pursuit that makes our stories worth telling.

      Blushing now, too–thanks, Victoria! …

  27. WabiSabi says:

    Love how you led the reader with each beautifully rendered verse to the admonition to ‘savor the wild strawberries….’ Lovely1

  28. kelly says:

    I love love love this…. Such truth in your words…. The magic of all quests is the quest…. Yes!

  29. Leave life on the trees… savor the strawberries… wise advice!

  30. Lovely share ~ The quest is in the quest, the journey ~ Thank you for your gift of words ~

    Grace

  31. So much wisdom here. I could live by this alone,
    “The magic of all quests is the quest,
    the things learned along the way”.

  32. nelle says:

    I really like this, particularly the conclusion. Worthy advice, framed in worded artwork.

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