The Sensitive One

My last post was from the point of view of the submissive.  Let me sidebar this one with a couple of thoughts.  Sadism/masochism…dominance/submission, it is not necessary for pain to be an expression of dominance, or sadism, surprisingly.  Sadism is being aroused by causing another pain and /or humiliation.  In a sadist/masochist relationship the other is simply an instrument of one’s own desires.  Dominance/submission is more problematic.  A dominant might very well be primarily interested in his or her own pleasure, but, sometimes, it moves beyond that.  To be truly dominant over another, you must give yourself to knowledge of the other, and that involves a tremendous degree of empathy.   Oddly, to be truly dominant, the dominant must give himself or herself to the submissive, to immerse the self in understanding the other.  The more precise and careful the application of pain, the more the dominant has understood the triggers of the submissive.  And the more the submissive can exult in his or her own nature.

The Sensitive One

Oh, you are greedy, my little slut, so greedy.

No matter how much I give to you, more,

More is demanded, I can tell.  Say nothing.


You need not speak once our ceremony begins.

I know what I have to know.  How is this?

Do I not rejoice in your wails, your writhing?

Do I not grin most grimly as you beg?

Do I not take my pleasure when I will?

Yes, but the price of this is knowledge.


That knowledge is as yet impossible for you,

My little slut, for one of us is selfish and self-absorbed,

And that is not me, my darling little pain-lover.

As you revel in the kiss of the whip, in my relentless hand,

In my unforgiving straps, my bonds,  ha! these household objects,

Now given to a different ritual, as you squirm and cry.

As your lust transfigures you, look at me:

Observe the calm, the serenity, the careful deliberation,

This does not come from nowhere.  Do you never ask

How I know just how to hurt you? To chastise your body?

To mortify your spirit?  To smile at your whimpers?

I have even dressed you like a doll, used you for a toy.

You have given me your will, and I will use it.

I have sent you limping, wincing, yes, still sobbing.

You spend days hiding the welts, the bruises,

Those blessed signs of our painful eucharist.


I know these things, because I see.

From our first communion it has always been you,

My eyes drinking you in, studying, assessing, desiring,

And noting the desire in you.   My secret:

I immerse myself in you to know you,

Knowing precise timing, strength, attitude, placement

So to make your scream a cry of release.


Oh child, every day you smile at the unknowing, those

Weaklings you meet as you go, hiding the evidence,

At first from shame, and now from compassion,

Of your inevitable, strange and enduring triumph.






Anastasia’s song

Upon reading 50 Shades of Grey, I decided to rewrite a verse I penned some time ago.  By the way, I do not feel 50 Shades is great literature, possibly not even good literature, but, it is important literature, in that it shows elements of  human relationships before this confined to porn pages.

We tend to forget that in the 19th century, there were brothels devoted to the exercise of sado-masochism.  Spanking, or birching…these were known as the ‘English vices’.   People as diverse as T.E. Lawrence and Percy Grainger were devotees of the cane.  It is just a choice we make, some of us, anyway, those not bent that way by childhood abuse.

(By the way, for those interested in the literary aspects of s/m, Sophie Morgan’s ‘Diary of a Submissive’, is a stirring document.  Do prepare a cold shower, if you are going to read it alone.)

Actually, my only firm objection to 50 Shades is its unreality.  Let’s face it, most dominants are not billionaires like Grey, able to give their subs or bottoms top of the line Audis, most are folks just like you.   Ana, however,  is replicated in the male and female everywhere.   I await eagerly a male version of something like ‘Diary of a Masochist.’

I became fascinated by the whole business very early in my adult life, but, was far too chicken to explore deeply.  But, I thought about it a lot.  What is the zing, the fascination with accepting pain and humiliation?  Is it possibly that the infliction of pain on one causes an awakening of the ‘fight or flight’ feeling, there is a release of something like pheromones when the body is pushed to the limit?

I do not know.   Of course.   But, out of that came this poem.  I decided to write a poem from the point of view of the bottom, or submissive.   I called it:

The invulnerable

Do you wonder that I seek,

The keen edge of pain welcomed,

The service of that other beauty?


There is no light without darkness,

No pleasure that does not begin or end in pain.

Do you marvel that I reach out thus,

To deny the loss, take hold of the losing?


That is how to take command:

When the doors to pain are opened

Fear is all that is lost.


As in the body, so in the soul.


When I am before you, an offering,

I am triumphant.

When the sacrifice is taken

I am victorious.


Come.  Inflict.

Your command,

It is mine.

In truth

My hand holds the whip.



Would you taste my wisdom?

Come then,

Lie here.


Conan’s patron god

Conan mostly invokes his name, only in curses…”by Crom!”  that sort of thing.  But, there is enough in the Conan stories to suggest the nature of the Cimmerian god.  One of many, of course, most peoples throughout history and before have believed in many gods and goddesses.  Perhaps it is a subtle realization that a universe as capricious as ours had to be made by committee, that no one really is in charge.   Therefore, make a deal with a god, and, if he or it or she comes through, great, if not, choose another deity.  The notion that the bad things that happen to us are “sent to test us” would have been ludicrous.  Surely the gods already know whether we are going to pass or not.

In some way, Crom reminded me of aspects of the god Odin, a god still celebrated among pagans in the Norse and Germanic traditions.

Anyway.  I always kind of liked the idea of a god who simply gave gifts at birth, and then left us alone to make our way.  Conan’s patron deity, Crom, is like that in the Conan stories.  When I was even more a space cadet than I am now, I once dreamed of creating a religion based on Crom.   But what the hell, he wouldn’t care.   He might even get pissed off.

So I wrote this instead.

Crom’s Way

It is said I live only in books;

If so, I am in good company.

Nothing lives only in books,

Unreal except between covers.

Although, books offer only a representation,

An image of a shadow in the author,

Not the thing, itself.



My home is a great hall,

High on a misty mountain.

I am Crom,

And I have little to do with you.

At birth, my spirit puffs gifts into you,

Gifts of strength and hardiness,

Strength to hold and strength to slay.

What?  I do not care.

I am Crom,

Most honest of all gods,

For how, or whether you use my gifts

Means little to me.

Although, it does please me to see men,

Yes, and women, too

Rejoicing in their power.


Some pray to me for help,

To them I send curses.

No god can help cowards or weaklings.

Who can help those

Who have forgotten what they already have?


Some pray to release their power,

They say:  You have given me all I need,

Now may I draw it from my heart,

And if you do not care to help,

Get out of my way!  To hell with you!


These are my true children.



Gypsy Girl

In the Haunted Bookshop, in Sidney, I found a collection of  postcards depicting gypsy life in England, I think in the 1960s, certainly not any more contemporary than that.  A couple of them truly struck my fancy, particularly one of a gypsy girl, wringing out cloths by hand, in front of her cart.

On the postcard, there is a young girl;

She sits by a fire, wringing out a wet cloth.

She has long, lank blonde hair…those genes

Picked up in some forgotten somewhere,

Sometime in the long ramble of the Rom carts.

Behind her, an open-lot,

Looking like a miniature covered wagon.

She wears brightly patterned pants,

The sixties, then,

Her pants a discard, begged from a housewife.

Cool pants.  Groovy pants.

She does not need to be cool or groovy;

She needs to wring out the cloth.


In city co-ops and squats,

The pampered children of the middle class,

Dressed in flowing skirts and flowered shirts,

Dream of being gypsies.

They do not dream of being cold,

Of being told to move along,

To watch open-lots give way to lorries;

Horse power succumbing to horsepower.

They do not dream of wringing out wet cloths

On a cold morning in a country lane,

Coughing in the wood smoke,

And hoping for a breakfast,

But, as often as not,

Settling for some tea.


But, for all that,

And because I am a romantic,

I like to think she is still there,

In an open-lot, with children of her own,

Collecting, reusing, recycling, reselling

The cadged castoffs of our comfortable houses,

Wheeling and dealing, working the harvests,

Fortune-telling and horse trading at the country fairs,

And meeting at the old stopping places,

Marked with gypsy sign,

As the endless road unwinds before her.




Windeby Girl

Some years ago, I read a classic archeological book titled “The Bog People”, examining the ancient bodies found preserved in the bogs of northern Europe.  The one of them who touched me most was the one known as ‘the Windeby girl’.  Like some of the others, she was a victim of execution.  Her head had been roughly shaved, she had been blindfolded, and a latticework of sticks had been placed on her breasts, and heaped with rocks.  She drowned in bog water.  It was, I think, a punishment for adultery.   She was probably fourteen.  I have never managed to get her out of my mind.



I searched for you on the internet,

But was ambushed by porn sites,

And high school term papers,

Before ending at museum displays.


I do not know which of them was worse,

Which did you less justice.


You had power;

It reached out

Right through the blindfold.


Were you a sorceress, then

To so enthrall me?


If so, I embrace the enchantment.


They have reconstructed your head.

Think of that, my girl.

Your body, I fear, remains beyond their skill,

But your face, your face


I saw it only today

Waiting in line at Starbucks.

You served me a tall coffee,

And I thought,

You, again?


So, it is only your remains, after all

Displayed for museum gawkers, or

Buried amid the detritus of internet


The fools.

Once again

They think they have you.

I dreamed of legionnaires

Okay, after the last posting, I figured I should get down and dirty about my life…just kidding…when was I other.  Anyway, lurking in the background are more Tintern Island poems, stuff about gypsies, self-indulgent love-laments,  and more based on Norse religion.  And my own poem-take on Conan’s god Crom…I toyed with the idea of creating a religion based on Crom at one point,  but, since he wouldn’t give a rat’s nether regions for it, why bother?  Or why not?  Anyway, this one is based on an adventure in clothing from last summer.  Besides the Norse, the imperial Romans also have interested me…I was totally hooked on I, Claudius.   And, thinking about the Romans I Dreamed of Legionnaires


I have always had an attraction to the Norse gods.  I grew up reading their stories.  Somehow, the grand tragedy of the Norse myths…the fact that the gods, themselves, faced the same end as the rest of creation, appealed to my heart.  The notion of an omnipotent, omniscient deity who had no beginning and no ending was beyond my feeble intellect.  In the Norse myths, the universe begins in chaos, and form emerges from it.  The gods are a product of that process, just as we are.  Their tales entrance me, especially the tales of the ordeals that the god Odin endured:  plucking out an eye for the power of clairvoyance, hanging, spear-wounded, on the tree of the universe to learn the runes.  Odin goes under many names…Wanderer, Ill-worker,  Alfather, among others.  I think Conan’s god Crom represents at least an aspect of  Odin, or, I like to think that.  Anyway, over the years I have often attempted to work with the visions that come to me from the north…the sacred direction!  Here is a vision of  Odin

Valkyries at Save-On

I am constantly returning to tales and visions of the gods of my distant ancestors in northwest Europe…the spiritual ways of a people before the shadow of the cross fell across our hearts.  It is a constant.  (witness my page:  Asatru proverbs)  I am drawn also to the literary spinoffs of those old visions…like the vision of the god Crom in the Conan stories.  From time to time, in this blog, I will settle into that groove.  Like now.  This one is kind of funky.  I saw three blondes in a Save-On parking lot, and immediately thought of Valkyries…I often think of valkyries when I see blondes.  I thought about taking something for that, but decided the disease was more fun than the cure.  Apocolypse Now and the Ride of the Valkyries!  Yes!  Remember their song, their war cry:  Ho-yo-to-ho!

I have often wondered where Wagner got that for their song.Three Blondes in the Save



I lived in Edmonton, Alberta, for many years.  When I was raising my daughters, we lived in an area near a ravine.  At the bottom of the hill was a park…and I use the term loosely…and what parks ‘n’ rec drones called a playground.  We called it the tot-lot.  There my daughters played with friends, as I watched.  Among the other children was a beautiful little girl named Jill.  On one terrible afternoon, one of my youngest’s friends called and said “Jill’s dead.”  She had apparently died of an aneurysm.  She was, I think, around nine or ten.  One of those moments which comes back to haunt you.   This one is in her memory.  Tot

Only if Someone is Watching

The sun wasn’t up yet, when we reached Tolmie’s top.

Although it is called a mountain, it has no peak,

No crowning of snow, no noble goal of endeavor,

Just a walk up the gravel trail,

The beagle sniffing and pissing and munching

God knows what, a few smears of frost still.

To the east, Mount Baker, a real mountain, volcano,

Silhouetted against a reddening sky;

A murder of  crows flies erratically, scattery,

Circling over nothing in particular;

And the occasional dog walker, like me,

Watches their mutt squat, pondering

That great morning existential question:

Do I collect the shit?

Only if someone is watching.

No one in sight,

And it’s hidden in the grass,