Copyright © 2008 by William R. Mistele. All rights reserved.
Introduction: I will update this section from time to time as I write more poems. For example, the second and third below I wrote a few days ago after a four day photography seminar with Bryce Denison (Midwest Photography Workshop, mpw.com) at the Michigan Dunes.
Another poem, Inner Undine, I wrote for Sarah the night before I did a shoot with her.
In effect, all of these poems constitute casting calls, that is, I am actively looking for models, actresses, mediums, psychics, magicians, initiates, etc. who can at least temporarily reflect through their personalities the extraordinary empathy, magnetic attraction, divine sensuality, and loving receptivity of the undines.
The four undines I interact with in my book, Undines, often mention that human women will learn to embody all that they are--all their qualities and magical powers of love. Consequently, to this end, I am putting together short video poems as a way of assembling a story board for a movie.
I wish to capture on film the difficulties and accomplishments of women in regard to mastering the water element and the magnetic fluid within it. The magnetic fluid is a magical description of the essence of the feminine spirit. Given the gifts I have been given and the tasks I seek to accomplish, I am not allowed to fail in this endeavor.
(Words from the story of Istiphul in the book, Undines)
The Undine Istiphul
He sensed her fragrance in the wind
Her touch in the spray and drops of water running down his skin
Her voice in the sounds of the breaking waves
No wonder then she appears to him
Speaking words woven from wind and water, out of sky and sea,
I have the skill and the will to create a sacred space
Where two separate souls may as one embrace.
On behalf of the human race, he responds,
This is not so easily done.
In this moment, by the rhythm of the waves
And their foamy crests, by the ocean’s vast depths,
I exist only to fulfill your needs;
I give of myself that your dreams may be complete,
For such is the power of love—
To fuse the deepest desires in one
With the deepest desires in the other.
Can’t you see that I have taken on form and shape
That you may taste the sea in its intimacy?
Though I sense you inside me, part of me, and one with me,
Though I taste what you taste—
That the essence of water is ecstasy,
When you leave me, your love like a spell
Will dissolve and the taste will fade away
Like the light of the setting sun.
This is not about me, about undines, or the sea.
You must search your heart till every barrier
Separating one from another is cast aside forever.
Perhaps if you teach me the magic of water
I might find in myself your receptive grace—
To freely embrace another without restrictions or limitations.
What do you sense in my presence?
I sense the open ocean—the sounds, scents, and sensations
Of waves stretching from horizon to horizon.
There is more, for in love there is no separation.
Relax, let go, flow
Feel at the core of your being the foam sailing free
From a thousand waves and the songs of release they are singing.
Let your body feel the vastness of the sea flowing through it.
Become the primordial sea—
Feel its heartbeat, its breath, its currents, its tides,
And myriads of life forms dwelling within it.
Let go and be as I am—the soul of the sea.
I can unite with the vast magnetic expanse that encircles the earth
But where in this is the power of love?
The sea contains an ancient dream—
To love and be loved in return.
I do what the sea does—
I give all of myself, my heart, soul, mind, and being
Completely, freely, whenever we meet.
In this way--let the essence of my femininity
Flow through every nerve in your body.
Come with me
Give me your mind and one hour of your time
And I will give you a life time
You as my king and I as your queen by your side
In a realm of magic and dream
Hidden in the depths of the sea.
She touches my skin and I feel the sea ringing within
And waves breaking on all the beaches of the world.
Her lips touch mine but for a moment
And I am freed of all human need
I see the lightning storm at sea
That gave birth to life one earth
I see as she sees—
That to love alone is given this key—
To see what has been and what shall be
Even as she speaks,
One day women will love
With all the power and the beauty the sea holds,
For they will discover that my touch, my sight, and my heart
Are hidden within their own.
I return to human form
Like a sailor returning from unknown lands
Bearing treasures of love
From realms of wonder and mystery
That have not yet entered mankind’s dreams.
She says to me,
It is both wonderful and terrible
The gift human beings possess—
To be so lonely and yet so proud
Because hidden within you is a will
That can recreate the world.
She kisses me on the lips, holds me close,
Then turns and departs into the depths of the ocean—
Like a wave colliding with the shore surges back and blends again
With the sea from which it arose,
Taking with her 10,000 treasures of love
No explorer has ever found.
St. Columba and the Undine
An Isle of dream and mystical being
St. Columba met an undine one day
As she appears crystal clear and then fading away
On and on as the spray of each wave
Breaks upon her form.
St. Columba says to her,
I know of angels
For many visit me
Whenever I meditate
But of beings such as your self
I have no learning, no education, no knowledge
Tell me then, spirit of water and sea,
What is your essence
And the nature of your innermost being?
The undine replies as she gazes into his eyes,
The essence of my race
Is a love that flows without ever being lost
And gives all of itself in every moment.
St. Columba says,
I do not know
If undines have souls
But the words you speak
Are ever so sweet
If such love flowed through me
I would be beyond human need,
My loneliness and anguish would dissolve.
On my journey to seek God’s face
I see there is a place
For your words and beauty
To dissolve the dark within my heart.
And from that day
St. Columba saw that the sea
Contains a great mystery
And that nature itself
Is part of God’s teachings.
A Mermaid’s Secret Desire
A man met a mermaid one day
Within the sea where she does play
He says to her,
Share with me your secret desires
And your innermost dreams
For I am most keen
To explore the invisible and the unseen.
If I assume the form of a woman
To become your lover
Renouncing all others
I would a human soul acquire.
In return, you shall see
The inner light shining in all things,
Hear the songs the stars sing
And feel the love
That called the universe into being.
But if our love is betrayed
I will cease and be no more than the foam on the waves.
And you will die like me
But the greater loss will be to humanity:
Were my soul a human being to embrace
There would be a dawning of a new age,
Peace would fill the earth
The broken heart would mend
And your race would retain
Youth and beauty into old age.
The man replies as he looks into her eyes,
I can not say if you speak truth or lies
But this I know:
I fear what I can not control;
Perhaps in another age
When men love beauty far more than me
These mysteries shall unfold.
Woe to humanity!
For these words were spoken
Ten thousand years ago.
And so we still await the day
When men are no longer afraid
To taste the beauty hidden in their lover’s eyes,
Hidden from the beginning
When the stars first began to shine.
Love is a pilgrim
(words from the undine Osipeh)
Love is a pilgrim
Journeying through a land of ancient shame
And yet never-ending wonder
Because it will never be satisfied
Until it is one with another.
All the waters of the earth vibrate with the songs I sing.
Can you hear this ancient wonder denied to humanity?
I sing of an absolute contentment
In which the inner self
Is at peace with the universe.
The Form of a Woman (Osipeh)
The form of a woman embodies a way of thinking that men can not imagine.
It is receptive, open, nurturing, offering and giving of itself.
Affection extends everywhere and into everything.
Unless you unite with the feminine spirit, all the gifts of the undines will only leave you feeling empty.
Inner Undine (for Sarah)
It was a beautiful day,
Other than that
I don’t know why I walked this way.
I lay down and fell asleep
Just as I heard a woman weep.
I dreamed she rose from the sea,
That she was part of me.
She left me a magic ring
That I might hear the songs the sea sings.
I awoke and found the ring
But if I put it on this day
Will my soul be carried away?
Or will I see what no one has ever seen—
The soul of the sea sharing with me her dreams.
Note: the following is a work in process. I will be able to write it better when I see it performed.
The poem describes an undine whose soul is the sea and who wakes up in the form of a woman on a beach half in and half out of the water. I can describe to a model a sequence of movements—I can see it in my mind--but it requires method acting to make it happen. (Do not try this on a cold day!)
The Sea Dreams She is a Woman
The sea dreams she is a woman,
Do you see what I see?
In her thighs the union of earth and sky,
Where dawn sets sail for new harbors
Where twilight finds rest from all desire
To you hear what I hear?
From the depths
The ocean’s own breath
The wave’s crest curling, breaking
Releasing in sighs and cries
Do you feel what I feel?
As air and water her breasts caress
The sounding sea anointing me
With her heart’s blood of love.
Ancient image of the feminine,
If I imagine I were you
That I could feel the things that you do—
The oceans my soul
Rivers my bloodstream
Rain my moist fluids
Lightning my heartbeat
Thunder my voice
In my hands the power to give life
But your movement, your form
As you turn, arising and descending
A sea of subtle curves
Every sense enchanting
The mind can only dream of such freedom
The heart strives to imagine such passion.
The Undine and the Mage
In a waking dream
I become an undine Queen
Summoned by a mage.
He says to me,
I need your sensual beauty
To perfect my magical art
For there is no greater power
In all the world
Than two joined in love.
I reply, I know what is on your mind
But what is your desire to me?
I am already in my self complete!
I have jewelry of profound design
And I possess the wealth
Of all the sunken ships in the sea,
And the sparks that drive the hearts
Of every fish
Dance on my fingertips,
The spray from a million waves
That roar as they break on the shore
Are my fragrance.
Your virility and magical will
For me have no appeal,
But I will make you a deal
If you can answer my question:
What purpose justifies this union?
The mage replies,
I know the sea gave birth to life
And in its ebb and flow and letting go
Is the absolute destruction of loneliness and isolation:
Through the love in water
We flow in and through and give birth to each other.
Were our two hearts to join as one
There would be a new creation--
The power to establish peace between the nations,
For in this love of ours there can be no separation.
I reply with dry humor,
Your intent is most fine, even divine
Your ideal might even become real
But you must understand how I feel—
Persuade me with words so sweet
That willingly in your arms
I would fall asleep,
Offer a gift
So I can make the shift--
To see through your eyes what you see
And dream through your heart what you dream.
The mage replies,
I give to you the sea of stars on fire
I give to you a heart that loves forever
And the power to make the world new—
All of these are my gifts to you.
And now I awake from my waking dream
And realize I am a human being
And not the undine queen
And so I wonder:
Will love ever be joined with power?
Will beauty and wisdom
Ever be held in the arms of each other?
St. Patrick and the Undine Queen
St. Patrick met a bard one day
And hearing him play
St. Patrick exclaimed:
"The notes of your harp
Are the same as heaven's own art
Except for one thing--
They are a little too much elvin."
And so St. Patrick took the bard's harp away
And put it in the corner of his room.
But late that night when St. Patrick fell asleep and dreamed
The cold wind from the sea swept into his room
And when the wind touched the harp's strings
Little elfin men came out of the harp
And filled up his room.
Then St. Patrick woke with a start
And cried aloud: "I know not the bard's art
How to send you back home
To the fairy realms from where you belong.
What am I to do with you?"
And they replied:
"Only a saint can see us.
To all others we are invisible.
Let us go free so we can play:
In your world by the light of day
The rainbow sparkles in delight
And by night the sounding sea
And the breeze in the tree
Sing as sweet as any bard's enchanting melody."
And St. Patrick, with so many elves cluttering up his room,
Said in reply:
"I would be willing to give it a try
If you will serve the church for me.
You see, we on earth are not idle or carefree
Instead, we do work for God's glory.
You there, yes you, with the pale hands and long fingers
What useful thing for the church will you do?"
And the little elf said:
"I can take a heart broke in two
And mend it again
So that it shines like the moon."
And St. Patrick said:
"And you there with the pointed red cap
How about you?"
"I can take a little boy and show him
How to fly a kite in the sky
With stands from a vine and leaves from a tree
Carefully entwined, for this is a toy I have designed.
And not only that, I can teach a child to tie his shoe
Or to find his way home again when he is lost in the wood;
All of this I will do for you."
And St. Patrick said:
"And you there standing behind my table with your eyes so shy?
Do you also make toys that fly?"
"No, but I can teach your scribes
To draw bright colored letters of red, gold, and blue
With dragons and unicorns dancing through
So that learning to read and write
Will be a pleasure and a delight."
"And you with your head leaning against my wall
What is your where with all?"
"I will show monks and men
To ferment hops and honey
So that beer and mead
Teach the tongue to let go of dark secrets--
Then the sadness in men's souls will be banished."
And St. Patrick, who could tell right from wrong,
Was also a practical man.
He knew as well as me or you
That some things you just have to do.
So he let the elves go
And the people in that land
Were more happy and holy.
But a month later when the moon was dark
The harp did spark
Its strings flared with fierce flames emerald and green
And in the room stepped an undine queen
Elegant, radiant, and gorgeous.
Her eyes were full of starlight
And her hair was blazing red.
And when St. Patrick saw this sight
"You are so lovely the sky and the sea
Can not compete with your beauty.
Your face and grace outshine the sun and the moon.
But I can not let you go free.
You would haunt my people in their dreams.
They would return to worshiping trees in groves
And to pray among standing stones."
The undine queen replied:
"St. Patrick, you know as well as I do,
You can not keep me here with you.
My beauty is too great
Even you would lose your faith
And no longer desire to see God's face.
Let me go free and I promise you
I will take from the shores of your land
All the snakes of Ireland.
You see, every creature of sea, wind, and land
Obeys my command.
The snakes will follow me home
To the Blessed Realms where I will go.
For only a saint as great as you is free to choose
To remain on earth to do God's will
And not fall into my enchantments.
But in another age men will find a way
To sing God's praise and capture Beauty in one song
And this they will do both to honor God's glory
And for the sake of Love."
Now St. Patrick was not only a practical man,
He was also wise and so he said:
"Go in peace my child.
Do this work for the sake of the church
And I will search my heart
To see if your prophecies are true or not.
And when St. Patrick awoke the next day
All the snakes from Ireland had gone away
But his heart informed him he had made a mistake
To let the maiden of Beauty depart.
Though he tried to call her back
St. Patrick knew not the bard's art.
And so the land of Erin still awaits the day
When men will come forth no longer ashamed or afraid
To join in one song God's praise
With the Blessed Realms's Beauty and Love.
From the undines—to humanity:
The universe is on fire
With wonder, beauty, and ecstasy.
An Undine’s Prayer (Istiphul)
Wild winds wash over me
Caress the breasts of these waves
With ripples running free
Take me, ravish me
With your kiss of bliss
With your hips of thunder
Spread your fingers on my skin
As you dip your tongue
Into my troughs and crests
I throb, my body rolls over
Bound to your heartbeat
My tides rise higher
Your breath stirs my currents
As your lips fly, hover, and then dive
Into my waves and thighs
As your hunger invades my inner recesses.
Oh, for a mortal lover
With the passion of the wind
To feel his eyes burn
As they glide upon my naked skin
His desires sinking down into my depths.
Lord of the Winds--
Search the earth for a lover
Relentless to discover my ecstasy,
Sounding sea--anoint me with your heart’s blood
That I may know such love,
Running waves--rise and break
In sighs and cries until he comes.
Song of the Sea (Istiphul)
Waves splashing against the shore, folding back,
Flowing back and forth and splashing more.
A soft sounding surge of waves upon waves
as herds of soft caresses rise, collapse,
Enfolding each breath in release.
On and on it goes--
A cold cup of water thrown in your face are these sounds,
A gentle touch clasping your finger,
a yielding and a swaying,
A dancing and a playing,
a playing which is exquisite pain--
And the pain a pleasure reflected in the falling drops of rain
Thrown by curling waves.
The gasps and sighs,
each sigh a bird unleashed
and in flight gliding low over the waves.
Each falling wave
Like the ocean's own breath rising from its depths floating
And surging now on the crest which edges even closer
To spilling into bliss.
On and on it goes, flowing without end--
this is the ound of the ocean making love--
it is unmistakable, I hear it!
It is the sound of Istiphul when she is in love.
When I look at you through my eyes
You are wonderful to behold--
A man of power, masterful, and in charge.
But when I perceive you through human eyes
You are thin, wiry, balding, and shy.
No wonder women do not respect you.
Their minds deceive them and their senses do not lead them
To listen to the songs the seas have told--
Hot blood flowing in their lungs
Moist air set afire with the taste of passion,
Power dancing with desire.
But we elemental beings crave you as our lover
You go for the heart
You ask for all that I am
Your love nearly tears me apart
I can hold nothing back.
As you kiss me waves collide
In mid-ocean from separate storms
Exploding in white foam as we touch.
But for human women it is not at all like this.
The hand that glides upon the skin
Does not beckon them.
I think they cling to identity excessively--
The light of the moon does not illuminate their darkness
And so their souls can not speak freely.
They feel not the electricity of the lightning storm
You release in me
Nor do they hear the consonants and vowels
Of waters crying aloud
Making love on all the beaches of the world
In the rapids, the streams, and the river's falls.
They know not the releasing arising from the ocean floor
Nor the sinking and letting go into the undertow
Nor the returning, the arching back in the wave's crest breaking
Its feathery tip translucent in the sunlight and sparkling in starlight.
Where can an undine go to share with a human soul these things?
The dark depths of the ocean trench,
The slippery touch of the jellyfish and the nautilus,
The caress of arctic cold,
Or the warmth of curling up on a tropical beach
Of a woman walking out of the sea naked and free
Drops of water anointing her skin.
Sailors handsome, rugged, strong, and bold
Perceive with acute vision
The winds, the tides, the wave's size, the seasons
And the clouds at dawn.
Brave are their hands upon the helm--
With compass and starry charts they master the dark
But in their eyes the blue green sea does not dream--
They are afraid of what they can not control.
But you are not as these.
In your soul waves roll five thousand miles
And magnetism flows between the poles
And when I kiss your lips
It is I who drown in your bliss.
Goddess of the Earth, the Woman, and the Merman
Earth, air, fire and water are my children.
I am the storm and its lightning
The sea that drinks in the rain with salty lips
I am the fire beneath the earth,
The deserts, the forests, the mountains, the plains
By my command
Dust blinds the sky
Ice ages rise and fade
And by my song
Nine planets dance and sing
For four billion years I have watched over and tended this planet. I created life. No religion comprehends Who I Am, though it is I who grant permission before each appears.
(to young woman)
Will you shine with my light?
Be anointed with my beauty?
Speak with my voice?
Goddess: Then two things I require—establish justice upon the earth and do as I do: make the world new.
Woman: How do I do this?
Goddess: Establish a religion without priests, temples, or rituals in which love, power, wisdom, and justice are equally honored and pursued.
Woman: (I am about to ask Her how, but now a merman touches my hand, probing my heart and penetrating my thoughts.)
Merman: It is my skill to reveal the keys to the mysteries of the lakes, the rivers, the streams, and the seas.
There is a peace as vast as the sky, as deep as the sea, as still and clear as a mirror, and flowing like water—it flows like a stream from the dawn of time to the ends of eternity.
Woman: Can you help me find this peace within myself?
Merman: Yes, of course.
Take this cup into your hands. Now relax, be still.
Feel my hands on your own as we hold the cup. Take a deep breath. Exhale.
Now feel you are this cup and this water. Nothing else is in your mind. You are free of all distractions. Take your time. Feel this cool water inside of you.
The water—this water is now you.
The water vibrates with all the water upon our planet. This water is calm, serene, still, relaxed, and at peace. The very depths of the sea are within you.
The flowing streams, the rivers, the icy poles, the waves of all the seas, they are all flowing through and within and are a part of you.
The circle of the earth, the vast expanse of ocean from horizon to and over horizon around the globe: you are this vast body of water and this water is within your soul.
See how the water like a mirror reflects clearly all that is near. Sense that this reflective power of water is your own. The light it reflects sinks into your depths. The pure essence of the sun, the moon, and the stars is captured in the taste of this substance you hold.
Open your heart. Feel moonlight flowing down upon you, anointing you. Open yourself.
Feel the light of dawn and sunset, the birth of light on earth, its spectrum of wonder and color, this light is flowing through you—soft, shining, luminous, cool, soothing, full of dreams and visions.
It guides us in our sleep and it joins us to all that we can ever want.
Gaze again upon this cup. Water is so open and reflective, so deep and at peace, it contains all the feelings of every heart within itself. It holds the mystery of our opposite--the universe moves around the mysteries of the heart.
Past, present, future—they are all contained and revealed in this moment of pure stillness. Feel that this water is the purity of your love and that your love embraces the whole world.
In this cup are my love and your love also. In this cup, the separations of space and time are overcome. Here is the feeling of what it is like to finally come home.
Within this cup and this water is a love that flows without beginning or end. The universe has been created with its stars and galaxies to give us a taste of the delight that is hidden within such life.
Within the depths of water, its liquid embrace, is the fulfillment of every desire—the stars and the sky above us, the depths of the sea, and the stillness in this moment is within your own heart—
Take this cup now and drink from it--drink into yourself the love that embraces the universe and that makes us all one with each other without separation ….taste the water in your mouth; go with it as it sinks down; stay with it as it is absorbed into every cell in your body.
The waters of life flow through you. The beauty of the universe is within and a part of you.
And now do you have what you asked me for? A peace as deep as the sea, as vast as the sky, as still and clear as a mirror, and flowing like water?
Woman: (I stare into his eyes for several minutes without speaking.)
Can you sit with me for a while? I want to be able to share this beauty with another without speaking.
Merman: Of course.