Category Archives: Tarot Poems

THE EMPEROR and THE POPE

The Emperor and The Pope are numbers IV and V of the Tarot Trump Cards. I see a link between them.

IV – The Emperor

Old Nobadaddy aloft?
Is that who this is?
The jealous demiurge,
He Who Must Be Worshipped?
Or is it some ruthless ruler of this world?

And why Four? IV –
for Philip IV of France,
who demanded obedience even of Popes?
Believed that everything that was
was his by right. Divine Right.
And seized it, in the name of God.

God? Old Nobadaddy?
But Philip didn’t believe in Nobadaddy,
aloft or anywhere else,
apart that is from himself,
Nobadaddy incarnate here below.

And lo! – Nobadaddy incarnate
all over again
and again and again and again
here below on Earth.

V – The Pope

If that was Philip IV
then this must be Clement V
who, having wined and dined,
sits there holding the sceptre
and wearing the crown
that Jesus declined.

From the throne of
the kingdom of this world
selling the keys
to the Kingdom of Heaven.

The throne and the crown
that Jesus turned down.

VI of WANDS

Isn’t it strange how ideas flow from your pen when you are writing poetry that would never otherwise cross your mind? The concept of Good and Evil in this poem is a perfect example …

The victory of Good over Evil?
Good and Evil
keep the universe in balance,
like yin and yang, male and female.

Good is the war against Evil,
Evil the war against Good.

Let’s think some more about that.

It is hard to consider the concept of an on-going war between Good and Evil without wondering which will be the winner, and the notion of a great Final Battle arises.

What does this phrase, The Final Battle, conjure up in your mind? To me (I have a degree in English Literature as well as one in Theology) it brings to mind, firstly, the battle which ends stories such as that of King Arthur, and more recently The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. The final book of the Narnia cycle is actually called The Last Battle. And, of course, on a smaller scale, all those books and films where the battle, be it of wits or of weapons, between the good and the evil in the person of the hero and the villain, reaches a climax in the final scene. This is what much of the public, be they young or old, want from their fiction. This is what they understand, how they see the world. There is a Final Battle in each of the Harry Potter stories. There is a Final Battle at the end of every James Bond book and film.

Sometimes in the greatest stories it would seem that Good does not win. At the Battle of Camlan (Camboglanna) the Round Table is destroyed and King Arthur mortally wounded. But, we are told, he merely sleeps, and will awaken one day when the need arises. Who does not prefer that ending to the one that has him dead and buried at Glastonbury?

And in perhaps the greatest of all such stories, Jesus takes on the Prince of this World and, of course, loses – “My kingdom is not of this world.” But wait a moment. On the third day … Soon his followers spread all over the world, and finally, inevitably, become the world, their leaders, the bishops and archbishops, the princes of this world, and the first among them, the Pope, the Prince of this World in the view of many, such as the Cathars. And what happened to the Cathars would certainly seem to bear out their view.

Is the Final Battle ever final? Can it ever be? Or is the on-going war between Good and Evil never-ending, and simply the context within which Good and Evil exist and operate?

VIII of SWORDS

 

It doesn’t have to be this way.
Bound, blindfolded
and penned in by the hard,
the phallic and metallic.
You don’t have to kneel.
You don’t have to obey.

The ground, the earth, is soft beneath
your bare feet. Feel it.
Where water flows and flowers grow
you, too, can go and flourish and be free.
Things don’t have to be this way.

Or is that, perhaps, the sea?
Is the tide on the turn, about to sweep in, swirling
about your legs, your waist, your breast,
your face, and you a virgin, a sacrifice
to the Stoor Worm, the great sea serpent?
Wriggle out of those bonds and run!
You don’t have to do what they say!

Or are you “an adulteress”,
condemned to pay for some man’s “sin”?
Wriggle, quick! Wiggle out of
that ugly brown robe, and run –
or swim! – be a mermaid! – but
do something! – and be free!

You don’t have to stay.
It doesn’t have to be this way.