Stephanie Pope on the Hero's Journey Essay Series Pt7: Heroic Turnings In Poetic H'ours
myth and poetry

Day Log


The UnHappy Hero Part 7:Heroic Turnings In Poetic H’ours -by stephanie pope

say, Fiat Lux, Let there be light; and out of chaos make a world
                                                                 -Thomas Carlyle, The Hero As Poet

fiat lux genesis

I will confess to the unhappy hour. To mark it as a certain hour—as our hour here and risen, I shall write it h’our.

-----------------------------------Fiat Lux, Genesis1:3

H’our is a poetic word. It presents itself in heroic expression. It is heroic in that it expresses itself without a meaning for what it names. This is a grand undertaking. H’our takes on something transpersonal and larger than life, hence something heroic is staked.

As Derrida suggests, the différance such expression will have made to the undeciphered, nether and unsoundable sounds the word h’our makes, also ‘makes-up’ what meanings are actually present and at work through their very loss in showing through in h’our’s impressionable expression in the literal word-image in which it appears. The fantasy h’our articulates itself in mystery.
fiat lux, 1997
According to Derrida, h’our acknowledges the becoming time in space and the becoming space in time. It is a reference to a poetic hour, an hour in soul-making. H’our suggests something as if it were an hour but is not an hour at all. H’our does not mean hour.

The h’our is composed; it intrudes upon the hour and marks itself as “come”; hence, it is come-posed.
-----------------------------------------------Fiat Lux, 1997

Poetic things require a space of their own. Derrida calls this meaningful space “temporized” space. It neither is nor isn’t “here.”

does not mean something outside what it means in itself or it means something transcendant a self entirely since h’our comes from no time and no space and no thing. It is an image in an imagination. In this sense h’our is a Fiat Lux, a light of another sort. The term, fiat lux comes from the Latin phrase, Dixitque Deus fiat lux et facta est lux, "And said God let there be light, and there was light." (Genesis 1:3)

When you are in poetic composure fiat lux cupidand making light of words, you are letting words make you. You are making words that never mean. This is because you are writing into language a word making “you” you in something larger than yourself. Now how can you possibly know all that such a word as this may mean? The mark of an h’our assigns into being the deeply gifted nature at work in a woman and man. The gifted expression is touched by a fiat lux. It comes from the nether reaches and shines the way a moon rises and reflects on earth no earthly light.

In a fiat lux something important will have happened in the interval between the word and its meaning.

-Fiat Lux, “The Light Hand of Eros as
................................... gentle as the lover’s gaze”

Language will have been stolen; the word, like a stolen child, will have been whisked away and another, like it but also not like it, a word with a transpersonal reach into nether things, a changling, a fey child, an image-idea from the depths of the imaginary dimension will have appeared in its stead…

like waves
the ocean
(you see?
           you see
the distance
           no standing
                                 on om
being from
           longing is
not h’ere)…

* * *

…somewhere inside you
in a place we can
see only in
your eyes

* * *

lines of w’aves

                       -Ric Williams, her tears like threads pulling the night to earth

Yet, I must confess to the unhappiness of the h’our in my hour fiat lux wavesjust now. You see, it’s closing time; this particular essay series on the unhappy hero cannot go on forever. I am overwhelmed by my sense for this h’our and my task at hand, which is to bring some creaturely summary to this earthly series today.

The hardest part in the clothing of an h’our is to try and share some understanding of what lines have been gathered into it. Although I feel somewhat overwhelmed, my summary essay will try to do justice to things by sharing some hidden poetic ways at work along the margins of this undertaking.
-Fiat Lux, Top

The first of the poetic ways I’ve already shared. It belongs to the poetic language style of poet-mythologer, Ric Williams.

His method reminds me poetry’s temporization takes a detour into “aves of not-ing”: not here but h’ere, not now but from within this other templar claim of Derrida’s which notes what differs will also defer the meaning and disperse it along innumerable lines in which our psyches will make meanings possible and where the impossibles in impossibilities will be experienced, interrogated, challenged and re-turned. The poem, Bachelard says, is an aspiration toward new images. (Air, 2)

It is also Bachelard who recognizes the mobility of images. “Imagination is primarily a kind of spiritual mobility of the greatest, liveliest and most exhilarating kind. To study an image we must investigate its mobility, productivity and life.” (2) This is what I set about to do when I began this essay series. I wanted to explore the belonging-together in today’s makings what operates not only with similar otherness but also in “allergic and polemic otherness” in our meaningful losses. (Derrida, Margins of Philosophy)

This exploration takes me into the realm of cinema and into the movie, Pan’s Labyrinth. There I discover the motif of the stolen child and underneath it, the mytheme of ‘failure to thrive’. Further along I discover the ‘thriving’ that is coming to presence also comes to be as a result of traumatic growth. It rests upon contact with the personal shadow and beyond this, the archetypal shadow, to which the image of the Pale Man alludes.

Throughout the outer process in this essay relay of an inner intelligible exchange, there is another. It is an exchange between poets and it goes on behind the seen and sheen here. It happens h’ere. It speaks loud and clear to Bachelard’s mobility of images. Beginning where it began, I begin and re-turn over and over the image of the Pale Man sitting before two eyes on a plate

how do you lighten the grave story
the story of the song sung
over the grave of the stolen child?

…how do you un d-see

the doe ray me
of that

the hand, hers
the eyes, hers
the plate, d-


sometimes you


a story so deeply
you satisfy what never
got said and never got

completely understood…    -GrandMother Eyes, Stephanie Pope

fiat lux alchemy

The heroic turn within the poetic h’our
appears over and over in an evoked
response to this imagery, although
unbeknownst to the poets and myself
at first. It only gradually comes to
light –to lux the dark spirit in the words.

Alchemical Fiat Lux
.................-The Light of the One Mind fashions reality out of the darkness of the One Thing.

The light from my lamp is
Right so I read
Bewildered as the words
Darkened into a night scape
On the page
A black light dimmed the
White ness of the page that illumined
Each word
Saw into shadow
Felt the dark spirit of words
Create…                                   -Reading Darkness, Dennis Slattery

Dennis sends me the poem as part of an exchange between poets, a pilot project we both, along with Ric Williams, are participating in.  I explore my own experience of the poem from several different vantage points as does Ric. Ric’s poetic lux establishes the nature of the dark spirit of words, the “black” light in Reading Darkness. He gathers the poem’s bloodline this way

as if shadows
were born in
the same
as any
               -Ric Williams, darkness or the blue face of a candle

I suddenly can see what I didn’t before in regarding this spirit of words through the constellate moment that ensouls it and write

We can understand that this immaterial materialization casts a shadow born in the same process that conceives the figurable figuration but is itself not figurable. The psyche of the combined poetic expressions suggests the interior of the image has an imagination of its own, a hidden perspective; something it wants to express. There is another side, a hidden side or shadow side, a side that cannot be captured in a photograph or in any work of art except in the way the image is artfully worked.

In this example the mobility within images comes into play as the image moves between three poetic psyches freely and without narrowing meaning. The image acts like a conversation partner, too, telling a story deeply. The immaterial materialization is the image making contact with its shadow. The story is now being told from h’ere.

There are two more poetic turnings I want to sketch before I take leave, my thoughts and h’ere with regards unhappiness, the poet and the hero. The first is aptly expressed this way

if a serious poet is not seriously
disturbed by the melancholy
& suffering of the world
she would not take
up the pen

or one would have to ask:
what do you mean by happy?

one would say that happy poems are
an apotropaic against the suffering
a fantasy of paradise a plea
for timelessness
against the
crush of
          -Ric Williams, on the happiness of poets

Yet, sometimes when the poet picks up her pen and writes, the poetic presence performs its poetic operation sans poem.

One of my personal and profound discoveries occurs while over-turning the challenging image of bees in the poem What Ofelia Saw. For imagination to truly be at work the image present must make us think of one that is absent according to Bachelard.

We always think of the imagination as the faculty that forms images. On the contrary, it deforms what we perceive; it is, above all, the faculty that frees us from immediate images and changes them. If there is no change, or unexpected fusion of images, there is no imagination… (1)

While I am working the image constellate be/bee/b/red/read I uncover a New York Times article telling about the failure to thrive of bee colonies across California and the sudden disappearance of the bees from the hives last month. I know this is something important to the shadow story being told. I just haven’t had the chance nor will I get the chance to write about it.

beehiveWilliam Blake calls the imagination an expression of cosmological existence itself. When the imagination is telling the story it employs other poetic h’ours through the mobility of images to do so. Not only is the poetic image a literary image as Bachelard claims, but also as Bachelard claims, when it does not desert its imaginary principle it transports us from one statement in the dreaming landscape of imagination to another in the dream that dreams the image on. It shows up like it did in my email box this afternoon as the latest blog by Laura Shamas. The blog is on this very newspaper article telling about the sudden disappearance of the bees. Laura’s blog picks up w’here this poetic h’our leaps next.

In leaping, too, I know I am once more sharing an unsoundable sound this h’our makes through the hero’s call to venture, a call to journey along the movement the way the imagination makes it. And so, I follow. That is because I know that when I do and in this way I do, I am somehow, reading darkness.

I knew I had journeyed in
Words to the origin of
Some unknown
Get-formed shape that
Carried me
Buried me in another tribe of
Words, a totemic lexicon
Of thought—                       
                           -Reading Darkness, Dennis Slattery

extended reading/books

Laura Shamas
"We Three": The Mythology of Shakespeare's Weird Sisters is no longer available on line. Address interest in the essay "Worried About The Buz" published to March 28,2007 by writing to Laura at

Ric Williams
secret book of god

book reviews
Austin Chronicle
Connie L Williams

scanner art, poetry

Dennis Patrick Slattery

PacificA Graduate Institute

A Limbo of Shards

The Wounded Body
Grace In The Desert

Just Below The Water

Casting The Shadows

Just Below The Water Line: An Alchemy in Image, Soul and Self
Twisted Sky

Stephanie Pope


Hymn To Cicada
Grandmother Eyes
One Minus One In D Meter
holiday bird

extended reading/The Hero Essay Series
Hero, Pt1
Hero, Pt 2
Hero, Pt 3
Hero, Pt4
Hero, Pt5
Hero, Pt6

mythopoetics mythopoesis
click here for copyright statement