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THE MEDIUM AND THE VENTRILOQUIST 
 

When a medium dies,
his spirit may float to different spheres,
animate, inanimate,
beyond his meager reckoning.

Sometimes in wolves,
loping the crest of twilight,
who hear the breath of their ancestors
drifting through their dreams;

sometimes in rocks or coves,
who feel the tumble of boulders;
a touch of ancient megaliths
which writhe and groan in their sleep.

Sometimes other mediums,
diviners of their kind,
will labor and grope for an instant,
seized by a paroxysm, a kind of double-consciousness
that is not a part of the program.
Voices will clamor from different planes,
a kind of astral cacophony
like the roar of an onrushing train.

But when a ventriloquist dies,
his voice may depart unavailing,
without the compliant ambassador
to vouchsafe further comment.

This actor knows no outlet
beyond the dumb mascot he shoulders on his stage.
and no proportioned chicanery
beyond the curl of a stoical tongue
and a talent for misdirection..

So what can a dead voice do
when it lacks a craven vessel?
and how assuage the solitude
confined by a wooden shell?

What if a medium's spirit, alive,
could enter this cast-off creature:
would the carved wood speak
if it knew of the deaths that bore it?

Wolves and stones may dream of their past,
and serpents speak of Eden,
but nothing lives in a marionette
after its strings are severed.

A fallen puppet lies despised
in a trunk behind the stage,
like the seats of an auditorium
after the crowd has gone.

It knows no other voice
but the cold voice of its master,
which quavers, now and then,
from a secondary grave.
 

to Paul  ~  to Moongate
.