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Light of the Makar

Now in spring the birds are active: preparing, building. As a poet or Makar (the old Scottish word) I'm searching for the space where light is equal to dark..At this point in spring the birds are particularly active: preparing, building, searching, weaving. As a poet or Makar (to use the old Scottish word) I’m also looking inside myself for the space where light is equal to darkness. I’m gathering the poems, like birds, in an intensified ether.

But several conditions present themselves to me. One is that the sky is like prayer, demanding and truthful – not just liberal with flight. The second is that poems, like birds, have the instincts that are best adapted to their purposes. In a sense they defy divinity: angels cannot build nests, birds can. And yet, thirdly, the instinct to do as it must – in poem and bird – is also part of a vocation. The Makar’s mind is the ether in which poems evolve; the air is the medium in which feathers can work. The Divine is already there in these conditions – the poet is the agent of the divine. Not to exercise the exacting standards of ether and air is to fall from grace: to drop out of vocation or fall from sky.

The inner space is therefore sacred and protected: the agent is free but the calling is divine. And here I would extend the word Makar to mean artist, creator, or human angel – in other words every person who is or would be a maker in life. All that is required at any stage is to honor the ether or air we create in – its integrity and demanding standards.

So here I am again working in the light of the inner or Mystic Spring. Another image presented itself to me. The birds I saw lined up on the rooftop are not just birds or poems – my previous image – but are human souls. I see them, feel them, warm to them in their encouraging presence. They are the souls of the dead and also the needs of living human souls. (In a way there’s no difference – a soul lives whether embodied or not.) They – we – all search in the same space for shared truths. So here again the space has to be sacred but simple – uncomplicated by theory. To be a true maker, Makar or poet your art has to be a limb for those birds to land on or nestle in. All the rest is dust.

This is my contribution to the Inner Spring.



A dozen poems sat on the rooftop
imitating birds. Such a simple thing
to dive headlong into the soft ether
which is the poet’s breadth of mind and song.
And yet the sky is like prayer, demanding
and truthful, not just liberal with flight.
But if by chance the birds should fly in here
they will find all the sights and sounds of spring,
with places to nest, enchantments to sip,
a maker who has prayed for their return.

And sometimes even angels aren’t enough
to make the nestings fair, but birds alone,
whose instinct for the rounded space is best:
a poem will resist divinity,
preferring brightness, air and woven thoughts.
But this is nature’s feathered deception,
as each creator climbs to the divine
surviving in his own first vocation -
to do less is a simple fall from grace:
no sky would let its birds drop out of flight.

The wonder of it is that human souls
have also made their image in the birds -
the dead, who’ve long since flown out of earth,
and the needs of the living, flying in,
search in the same space for the truths we share.
Only the maker whose art is a limb
for those birds to land on or nestle in
can go forward – the rest will be as dust.
Therefore let me pick poems from the sky -
souls of equal light, we’ll pass into spring.


Best wishes, today,
Jay Landar

©Jay Landar 2013. All rights reserved
You are welcome to quote from Light on the Page on the condition that you cite the author and the source: Author: Jay Landar. Source: For other permissions please contact the author.

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