Write a psychedelic poem

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Purloined Spirit

It is a secret

Hidden uncovered

No-one’s ever-found;




(Now . . . Here . . . This . . .)

My (Harshbuzz's) Commentary:

The title alludes to Poe’s short story, “The Purloined Letter.” In it, a Detective—or an Inspector—tried to locate a stolen letter in a clever thief’s apartment. He looked everywhere, never thinking to check out a card rack hanging from the mantel, figuring the thief wouldn’t leave it in the open. But, because the thief had reasoned that that’s how a detective would think, that’s where he did hide it.

It” is a placeholder for “all and everything,” but other fill-ins can work.

“No-one” means someone who’s got, for a while anyway, a factored-out or decentralized ego. “Ever-found” means always-found.

“Now. . . Here. . . This. . .” is wordplay (Here / Hear) on the words that preface announcements over speakers on U.S. Navy ships, “Now Hear This”—IOW, pay attention. As rewritten with “here,” the phrase means pay attention to “suchness.” (Also relevant is an allusion to a sentence of H.L. Mencken’s: “We are here and it is now. Beyond this, all human knowledge is moonshine,” suggesting that suchness is self-sufficient.)

So “Now . . . Here . . . This . . .” plus “undetectable, uninspectable, un-underground” are saying that the esoteric (the secret “It”) is, or seems, out in the open (exoteric) and basic, when one is in the spirit, but not when one is in the letter (IOW, in detective mode). Here's another poem making the same point:

Walk Right In

The door swings wide

On the keyless side


My (Harshbuzz's) Commentary:

The title alludes to a 1963 rock song by the Rooftop Singers containing the lyrics, “Walk right in / Set right down / Daddy let your mind roll on.”

“The door” = of perception. "Unpinned" refers to the door-pins.

The following words, starting in the penultimate paragraph of G.K. Chestertons’ (public domain!) novel, The Man Who Was Thursday, align nicely with what this poem is about:

"Syme could only feel an unnatural buoyancy in his body and a crystal simplicity in his mind that seemed superior to everything that he said or did. He felt he was in possession of some impossible good news which made every other thing a triviality, but an adorable triviality. . . . A breeze blew so clean and sweet, that one could not think that it blew from the sky; it blew rather through some hole in the sky.”

Universal Solvent


Mere air, pure water, not there—

Spacey quintessence;


Brisky breeze, salty sea—

Spicy essence.

Ve Ri



Aqua, Aether

Dulce Nihil;


Mare, Ventus—

Tu Quoque!

To be and not to be

That is the answer.

My (Harshbuzz's) Commentary:

“brisky” isn’t a word, but I needed it. It “works,” so it’s lawful within the meaning of my poetic license.

“Ve_Ri Tas_ti”: In Latin, “Veritas” means truth. Harvard’s logo breaks the word into three parts, Ve Ri Tas, arranged in a descending triangle. The “ti” I added beneath its bottom line converts that into “Very Tasty,” which changes the word into a phrase that parallels the second meaning of “essence”: flavoring.

(I got this wordplay-idea from reading of a Harvard undergraduate who started a dorm-based pastry-delivery business he called “Veri Tas-ty Pies.” The administration had a cow and made him change the name. I was also thinking of, “Oh, taste and see how gracious the Lord is.”)

It's a paradox: in a certain sense, the more transparent we are, the more colorful we become. Or, the more ethereal, the earthier.

Midnight Sun

My candle burns at neither end,

But glows in Mother Night;

No flicker-flame of light

Starts shadow-foe or -friend.

My (Harshbuzz's) Commentary:

This poem is a loose-jointed riff on Edna St. Vincent Millay’s famous four-liner, “First Fig,” which goes: “My candle burns at both its ends / It will not last the night / But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends / It gives a lovely light.” My riff is loose-jointed because I had to parallel her fourth line in my second line (for clarity, rhythm, and alliteration).

“Midnight Sun” = the moon. (I had in mind the song by Lothar and the Hand People, “Standing on the Moon.”) (Also, in Christian mysticism, “midnight sun” = God.)

“Glows”: “There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.” (Francis Bacon). The moon reflects and glows.

“No flicker-flame of light”: We needn't light a candle to pierce the darkness; it's already suffused with a glow from above, which candlelight-adapted eyes find hard to see.


Ye shall know the truth

And the truth shall

Make you




Shuck the shell

And free the




Planter-plant your seed and

Crack the crock

Of ages


Let the heavens fall

Where they


Lost & found



My (Harshbuzz's) Commentary:

“the truth”: e.g., God is an atheist; God has no IQ. It’s obviously obvious that God’s an atheist, once you think about it. But its implications are wild and unsettling (“splat”). “God has no IQ” comes from psychonaut and chief “Boo-Hoo” Art Kleps.

“Inner Nut” & “plant your seed”: Your shucked inner nut is your seed. (“Plant your seed” was a famous phrase, long ago.)

“Crack the crock”: As a result of the growth of the roots in the planter.

“Let the heavens fall / Where they / May”: is a conflation of “Let the chips fall where they may” and “Do justice though the heavens fall.”

“Sound”: As a nut.

(In my "Word" file of this poem I centered it, so that each verse has a descending triangle shape. I didn't know the tag to do that here (if it exists) or I'd have used it.)