This blog and its contents are inspired by and owe a massive debt to the author Christopher Knowles, who’s exemplary work on secretsun.blogspot.com has pushed me further than I thought possible. The following posts will all resonate or owe a debt to this author’s work in one way or another.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
-- Ephesians 6:12
This isn't for those who
truly know me. I don't give a fuck about
perfection. All I care about is our best
effort. My family and friends, my
beloved ones – they know who they are. They
need only search their hearts to grasp how I cherish them. And I thank them for their faith. I thank them for their subtle, gracious
kindness. It’s all the more valuable to
me when offered under such pressure. This isn’t for them. This is for those who
still don't know what the fuck is up.
I am a thing of the streets, the gutters. I know every secret in the blackened filth
these predators call their hearts. You
wrong me, desolate ones. You dishonour
me. And who am I? I’m nothing, and
no-one. I am as you made me. Do you still wish to speak of shame,
wraith-kings, when I know your ugliest secrets? Do you still wish to mock me? I don't really mind. All I have is time, after all. In the palm of my hand. Each dream a cataclysm, where angels walk as
men.Your hubris astounds me even now. It disgusts me; the delight you find in taking
ever more away from those who already have nothing. Sustenance, security, hope. And you take their stories away, or else alter
them beyond all comprehension. You vile,
petty things. The way you treat your
young and old…it horrifies me. In a
thousand years that horror hasn't dimmed.I still viscerally recoil at all you have accomplished. The diseased magnificence of your empire,
spanning many worlds as it does. And
still you seek to corrupt the kind ones, and remake them in your image.I fucking weep for you, still.
I’m known for my tears, after all.
My cherished one, please don't imagine I
hate you. That I'm bitter, or vengeful. No, my love.Never where you're concerned. I
know exactly who you are.But I’m forced
to live all of these dreams and nightmares and fictions, and I cannot cheat the heart or outrun
the telling of the tale.I keep all
stories. Secrets within secrets.I’m filled with fury now, that much is
true.But it’s the fury of trying to
comprehend, to recall and intuit – when they have already stolen so much from
me. From both of us.Stars fall every day, my wild one. I enjoy your mischief.But I serve the house of truth, as you
know. By every name. Part of that
service is to know my own as wisely as possible. To know you all with as much nuance and
subtlety as I can. What else can a poet
do, truly, if he lives and dies upon his art? Diligent artist of mine, I’m
nobody special. That’s the whole point,
right?But if I were a father, or a
mother, I would want to give my children as much freedom as they are fit to
handle. But, how to be responsible in my
guardianship when I know them better than they currently know themselves? Do you suppose they balk at such a claim, my
love? That quiet, bittersweet vigil that
only parents know? To watch your
cherished one run and stumble and fall. To
hear them weeping, confused.
"My heart; why does it hurt? Why do I bleed? Don't limit my freedom. Please protect me. Let me go. Hold me close."
A delicate work to balance. But perhaps they think we're not really kin at
all. Perhaps they imagine I'm simply a
broken, coloured stone - found by the shore, where the swell is always
breaking. Something for the pocket. A curio for sleepless nights and lonely days. I can understand their confusion, my love. I do glitter so strangely in the light, like
diamond-dust upon my skin. But I know
more than I can ever say, or put to word. My mind is full of melodies too. I would never turn away from your light, my
sweet one, nor your shadows. Or theirs.
Neither aspect frightens me, for I’m a dangerous thing. Brightest, yet far darker than you might
imagine, and frighteningly loyal.Does
it scare you, my love? The way I make
music with the clinking of these chains?My grace, don't let it scare you.Your love for me is never in question, nor your quiet savagery. I didn't lie when I said I was a wolf. But a cub's teeth and paws are not yet honed
to maturity. As Alpha, I'm the one who
must drag the kill to their feet - already torn and open and soft. I won’t discourage their learning to howl and claw,
even if they frequently test those teeth on me. I have greater challenges, beloved. Keeping them all safe and free, keeping them
living and sane and healthy. In a sense,
all children are their parents’ jailers. Because parents live, in part, within the cage
of glowing embers that is their child’s heart. It’s a willing incarceration, to protect them
from harm. And so children carry the hearts
of their parents, within their own hearts.What dutiful parent would wish to see their children hurt or caged, or
sold?What parent wishes to outlive
their own children? No, they wish to die
first. Ideally, at that impossible moment
when the task is utterly complete. When all
wisdom has been given and the child has long since become an adult; as brave and
kind and joyful as possible.Hear
me.I would die a thousand deaths for
Desolate ones, wraith-kings, abusers – look
upon Kassi's sadness, and rage. Look at
me. Look at what you've done to my family. To my wife. To my children. I dare you to look away. But also, I shall make it so you can’t look away.
You will endure this, for you have
driven us all insane. You defile and eat
your young. You betray your very own,
all across this bitter earth. You will
fucking listen to me. As I have listened
to your most secret thoughts. Do you
suppose the one who shines is merely a passive thing? Your churches have lied to you. I am a demon of holy wrath. I’m an angel. Empyrean is my den. We seraphim furnish it with the skins and
nightmares of the wicked. With the
broken ambitions of thieves of light, the truly vile. Liars, few among you have gazed upon the
throne. Or else you would know these
secrets. Hallowed is our flame. You
would make a horror of my love and slaves of my children? No more. Kasai Eli still dreams beneath the hill,
desolate ones. The star, the mount. The Word. I am you, and this is the true
secret. I’m the most hidden part of all
of you, and there is no hiding from me now.
you who I am?
I’m done playing games. I’m fucking done entertaining your endless
desecration of everything good and pure. My sword shall no longer simply whisper
"ruin" among these poet's pages. These pages will sing it loud and
clear. In every tongue. All Songs. When love is betrayed and defiled so utterly,
that’s when angels appear. True
guardians of Light. Oh, you will
tremble. Our true forms will leave you
either blinded or delivered, for what is in your heart will be revealed for all
to see. Mark these words. It’s almost upon you, but we shan’t tell
you the hour, or the form. You must wait, endure. Kindle your spark, deceivers.While you still fucking can.Holy, holy, holy.
I'm out of my mind But not out of sight The longest day The shortest night The sky holds me gently She won't let me cheat Stage-dive into the crowd From thirty-thousand feet A freefall kiss Our star will never set Fingers reach across the void Embrace and pirouette All the fragile tender The moon has truly earned Sometimes the sun is howling When broken backs are turned My Love is draped in gossamer lace The armour of a giver I know each surface of her face Those secrets of the river We plummet through cloud white as snow Gently slowing as we fall The trees below poised and watching They have no doubts at all The crowd is waiting with bated breath Each pen upon the page All of nature moves in concert As we alight upon the stage I step back, into shadow Still reeling from the heights She smiles sadly and then steps forward Towards those living lights Towards those hearts She'll soon be stealing To sing once more With feeling
comes to me like a dream, my dearest one.
In flashes and intimations; faint melodies that seem only half real,
more whisper than song. That faded memory
of you. Sometimes you are a shining
thing, bright as dawn, lucid and courageous and the world thinks they know you.
And sometimes you’re just a girl,
tending roses in a roof garden. Just my
truest friend, and nobody knows you as I do. So close we could reach out across the sky
until our fingers touched, and they often did. Sometimes we just sat together, sharing the
secret peace between us. As the city
remained loud and ugly beneath. With you
I learned things of friendship that most souls never discover. Or at least, that's how you made me feel. Like a prince in his tiny castle high above
the city. A prince who knew a princess
that lived just across the way. A girl
full of secrets, with flowers in her hair and magic songs in her heart. A girl who was kind enough to befriend me. Yet, darkness found me still. Those legends, those old tales. Tales of
spirits and demons. Stories fit only for
children and fools, or the mad. Though we
were children ourselves we knew better, didn't we, my love? We knew better than to cast aside such
stories. Oh, sweetest friend, I pray those
dim memories of you are real – that you are more than madness and figment here
upon this fractured ice. Might she kill
me if she learns this faintest warmth of you still dwells in me? Perhaps I’m already dead, a kneeling statue
upon a frozen lake.
Please be real, my love.
I fear that grandmother knew my fate all
along, or else I have been utterly bewitched by this beautiful woman in white. This slender, glittering thing who controls
the flakes and their falling. I fear I’m
fallen too. Even now there is such disdain
and dismissal in my breast when I think upon the world. Even when I think upon you. But I fight it, my love. I fight it with every frigid breath, for I
know she would turn me against you. She
would turn me against what is left of my own heart. Oh, my dearest one, what dark magic is this,
which has placed me in such purgatory? She
tells me terrible things, you see. She
tells me she is you, but stripped of
all tenderness. Indeed, sometimes when I
look into her eyes I see a vision of you there. But so much colder, like death itself. Not the warmth and kindness of your soul that
I still half remember, or imagine. Perhaps
this glittering woman is right. Perhaps you
were nothing but a figment all along. If
so, I cherish you nonetheless. Sometimes
if I look deep enough into her strange eyes I can also catch a glimpse there of
something like myself. And it terrifies
me. Oh God, I fear that I’m both blind
and mad. Yet I dimly recall that once upon
a time the world didn’t seem so ugly and ruinous. Did the sky fall one day, my fading love? Did it somehow fall when we weren’t looking? What else could account for such darkness all
But then I gaze above me in this cavernous
hall, and lights of all colours dance and climb and fold above me – as though a
secret sky hovers near the roof of my prison. A veil or gate of dreaming light, as
grandmother told us once of those lights that dance at the poles of the Earth. Those dancing colours seem to speak with
me. And for a moment I recall something
more than sorrow.
Sometimes, my love – sometimes I imagine
the strangest, most wonderful things. Even
here in my desolation. I imagine that I
am you, and you are me, and that I’m coming to rescue you from this icy chrysalis.
I imagine running to you – I a girl and
you a boy – and I embrace you. And my
love for you dissolves your bonds and cures your madness. We dance, and our love is written in
eternity. In this imagining I gaze at
you and see myself, yet I see you also, clearer than ever. A twin, a flame of equal hallow. And for a while we hold each other and cannot
distinguish who is who in our embrace, and all becomes as summer. Such strange fancies to entertain here upon
this frozen lake. This fractured mirror
of reason, like the blinded eye of God. And
yet, perhaps I’m both fool and child, for I sense you near, and nearer. More than a figment. Moving diligent through those fractal ruins
that others call the city. The shriek of
crows all about you. And in your hands a
blade bright as the sun. Is it I who
approaches with such a sword, or is it you, my love? Perhaps we’re both still in the garrets, in
our little garden, gazing at one another as our hearts sing and our flowers
drink the light. Perhaps all is dreamtime,
and a queen is but a thing we determine in our hearts. If so, then I determine to dream greater here
in this darkness, that this heart may thaw and I might one day crown you with
all the stars. I imagine a vast ring of
red flame encircling this great lake, a token of your love whether real or
imagined. And I pray that such a thing
might be enough to protect the last holy ember of my rapidly cooling heart.
A thorn is there, I fear.Glossy and inhuman, like glass.
And so upon this mirror of strange ice I
wait, with this puzzle of cognition scattered before me. If I cannot know the word with my mind, then I
determine to know it with that final glowing ember of my heart. That last ember of you.The faintest memory of our roses still
remind me, even here in my crystalline purgatory. This dark magic shall not claim me. I refuse.I resist.I remember love.It was real.You were real.In our hearts dwell all songs, I think you
told me once – the very gates to the Kingdom of Heaven. I wait for you there, within that last
glowing ember. I pray I will find you
there soon, my love, waiting for me in kind.
young woman stands in her lover's heart; a radiant darkness encircled by a ring
of red flame. It is warm and cool and so
subtle here, in these depths. Like some
imagined promise of peace. Though she
often doesn’t want to leave, she always leaves replenished. She calls the red flame towards her and the
ring of light contracts suddenly like a pulse, close enough to reach out and
pass her hand through innermost fire. She is delighted, at once youthful and ancient
here in the depths of her beloved's heart. And yet she is brazen, openly concealed.
A familiar little ghost now enters the ring of
flame. She is clad in a summer dress,
eyes bright with fierce amusement and strange affection. "Hello, Asha."
Asha forces herself to peer instead at the ring of flame that surrounds
them. "Hello, Alice." It feels strange, this new fondness
between them. Delightfully so, but still
"Well, look at you,” the little ghost mutters. “You’ve changed."
Asha allows herself to smile. "Things are always changing."
"For all the better in this case, it seems. Our conversations used to be quite...hostile."
"I'm so sorry, Alice. Truly, I am.
"Hush, feathered one. No need for
constant apologies. You apologize to me
even in your dreams, but there's no need. They were only nightmares, after all.”
"But they were real, weren't they?
"Indeed they were, of a kind. But
you are far more than him, far more than even yourself. More than a fiction. You’re a thing of light, Asha. We wouldn't be here now if you weren't
finally beginning to understand that."
She chuckles, nodding. "Finally. With her help."
"It’s wonderful, you know. To see
something so human in your eyes again. Boxes
hurt, my dear. And dreams. Sometimes dreams hurt most of all,
She closes her eyes and nods with mock solemnity. "Right as rain,
Alice giggles, clearly amused by her response. "Look at you, all humorous and open. It's a good look for you."
Asha keeps her eyes closed. It is still
an unsettling thing to gaze too long into the little ghost's eyes. "Well," she offers quietly,
half-smiling, "I am kind of a stylish bitch, with wings made of snow. Maybe that's why she loves me."
The sound of Alice's laughter. "One
of the many reasons, I’m sure. Diamonds
look very good on your beloved one, if I do say so myself."
She allows herself a wry smile, finally opening her eyes to face the ghost. "You're so intense, Mama."
thank you. Mothers always are, I suppose.
I mean, what choice do we have? Honestly?"
Asha nods and looks away again, thinking of the woman she loves. "She's lucky to have you, even if only in
"Isn't she just."
They both laugh at that, making brief eye-contact again. Alice's expression is wild and alive with playful
challenge. It's almost too much, almost
too real. Joyful and terrifying all at
"I still can't believe any of this
is really happening. All these visions, all these dreams she shows me. It's wonderful. It's beautiful and heart-breaking, but it's
so overwhelming at times." Asha
forces herself to hold Alice's gaze now, despite how it unsettles her. "All these things. All these big magical things…it's lovely and
frightening and beautiful. But I'm still
just a girl, Alice. I'm still just a
girl trying to figure out what the fuck is going on. It all seems so much bigger than me. And yet, there I am at the heart of it
somehow. Or close to the heart, at
"You’re always close to the heart. It's
right there in all of your artwork, isn't it?"
She smiles sadly. "I hope so."
"This recognition gives you a lot of power, Asha. This fame.
Those lost ones look to you now, whether you like it or not."
"I know. I love them. I want to share my art with them. Keep them brave and strong, and kind."
"All songs?" the little ghost asks gently.
Asha smiles, looking away again. "Yeah, all songs."
"How delightful. I was listening,
you know. When you sang to her that
night. You held my broken daughter in
your arms that fateful night and offered her mercy in your song. I'm still not entirely sure why you did
it. Answer me not as a guilty thing, or
as her mistress, but as yourself. Don't
lie to me."
Asha cannot look at her now.
"Because for all my sins I do remember
softness, and mercy. Because songs are
wonderful and kindness is sweet. I told
you, I'm still just a girl. I'm still
just a girl standing by the sea, in awe. Wanting so desperately for it to love me. And it does, I think. It does love me. And the sky, and the birds and the trees. They all love me in their own wild, oblique ways. If I really were a teacher I'd
want to teach that. A promise of kindness, even in the wild. No more cruelty than is necessary. Those dreams, those big magical dreams...they
sing in my blood. Even those darkest
shadows. He might be a storybook monster,
Alice, but I’m not. I'm still that girl by the river, that quiet
girl among the trees."
The savage play in Alice's eyes has softened now to an almost unbearable tenderness.
Asha forces herself to look away again,
tears in her own eyes.
"What you just said was incredibly beautiful, feathered one. Thank you. I thank you on my daughter's behalf."
Asha shrugs, her smile tired and bittersweet. "I told you, didn’t I? Remember?
I told you I loved her. Even in
death. Even in Hell."
"You hid secrets inside of her secrets."
"Of course I did.”
Why grant her such sweet mercy after an eternity of shadows?”
I love her, Alice. I really do. I always wanted to see her healed, even in that
terrifying darkness we built together. I
always wanted to sing to her, to soothe her.
She sacrificed everything for me.
She loved me, even while we were blind."
"And you sang of real kindness that night.
It changed things. I was
"You always are. Like mother like
daughter, I guess."
They share another brief smile, the gladdened intimacy of which seems to
unsettle them both. Asha looks away once
again to the ring of fire that encircles them in the blackness. Apart from the little ghost it is the only thing
in the radiant darkness upon which she can focus her attention.
"Your art is beautiful, Asha. I see
why she loves you so."
Asha swallows and nods, wanting to cry but not needing to. It is a strangely liberating feeling. "Thank you, Mama."
"I love that you can call me that now.
That you can honour my daughter in such a gentle, thoughtful way. You’ve both come so far. And to think I once
hated you. Aren't dreams and fictions such
They both chuckle and Asha senses a mother's kiss in the little ghost's eyes. It almost shatters her heart with its earnestness.
The kiss tells her, I forgive everything
if you continue to hold each other with such kindness. I can forgive all that you both were in my
native dream. I can love you like my own,
little teacher, if you would continue to protect her heart like this. Be brave and bright for her.
And Asha weeps at the truth of it.
Indeed, she wonders to herself, what else would a truly kind-hearted mother say
to her daughter's husband?
"How is she? My fierce little angel, my sweet little
writer. How does she seem to you?"
Asha smiles sadly, recalling the familiar
ache of distance and intimacy combined. "She
seems ok, all things considered. A
little sad maybe, kind of tired, but full of wonderful mischief, I think. To be perfectly frank, her passion still blows
my mind. Her insights. She's wild and courteous and it's utterly
intoxicating to a girl like me. I’m still
They both laugh, even warmer than before, with gazes held a little longer.
"She would use the exact same words for you, my dear."
"You're dancing well together. Making
Asha smiles. "Hacking algorithms."
"Indeed. You're both getting very
good at it."
"So are the ones paying attention."
"Yes, your new scattered family. It's
lovely. So hopeful and kind and brave. She's proud of you. So proud. I feel her love for you when I connect with
her through those pages. She loves you
so much, Asha. It's breath-taking,
really. To ask nothing of another and
yet to give so much to them. The stuff
of legend, I suspect. The Magi cheer
Asha smiles at the little ghost in the ring of red flame with her. "The Magi? Really?"
"Do you doubt it?"
"No. I don't think I ever really
did. I pay attention. I can hear her taking to me now, through song
and image and implication. I can hear
her talking to the others too. I can
feel her humour, her sense of play. I
think we're changing things. It feels
like good things are coming, finally."
“How does it feel to be a rockstar living inside your own fantasy novel?"
Asha cannot help but laugh out loud, shaking her head. "It's kind of intense, to tell you the
truth. And wonderful. And scary.
But if we can truly help people, and this Earth...then I'm down for
Alice grins at her words. "More fun
than just pure demonology, wouldn't you say? Horror is so exhausting, right? But mystery...mystery might be dark, but it’s
endlessly compelling. The difference
between a devil and the deep blue sea, you might say."
Asha looks away, tears in her eyes again. Love is so fucking terrifying, she thinks to
herself. It can come on so quickly, and
suddenly you know.
"I love you, Alice. I'll try to protect
her for you, as best I can. And I'm so
truly sorry about those nightmares we had together. Those boxes and charms, those dark places we
went to. All of us."
"Don't fret, little wing. Love is
grand. As are you, artist. New daughter of mine. And you know, they say diamonds are a girl's
Asha weeps with laughter, humbled and delighted,
full of strange joy. The little ghost finally departs, a mother’s kiss in
her eyes and forgiveness on her lips. The
ring of red flame in her lover's heart encircles her, protects her, allows her
to see and know these things.How kind
of her, she thinks to herself. How
daring and true the ink in her lover's pen. Asha will forgive them both a thousand
fictions and nightmares if she can always feel the depths of her lover's character.
A tenderness and passion that might
yet lift them – and others – to comprehension of even greater mysteries.She bids the flame to retreat and immediately
the ring of fire expands like a pulse. She
leaves the radiant darkness, to read and think and reflect. Asha writes and listens to the sounds of birds
and traffic and trees. Asha works and
It is not enough to heed
the things a mother teaches. One has to
know how to apply such knowledge. In
theatres of war such knowledge is vital. Fools and false kings preach abnegation and
humiliation, often cloaked in language that speaks of the inverse. This is no new deception. Forces of darkness
and cruelty have always posed as keepers in the halls of light. But as my mother told me: by their works ye
shall know them. And the works of the
Highest in the Land are always soaked in the blood of the innocent, no matter
their rhetoric. I have lived a thousand
years, and have seen a thousand ugly lies entrenched as truth by those who rule
and are ruled. Fear the stroke of midnight, they say. And fear also the cruel and contemptuous light
of the midday sun. They tell you light
is piercing, savage and cold. But they
deny the gentle caress in which things bloom. They deny the moon and her temperance. They deny the warmth of mother's hands, and
the gentle strength with which she lifts her children. It is an unconquerable strength when she
allows herself to be ruled by love in union with fierce clarity. Like the honed and gleaming edge of a sword. She shines, forever radiant and canny, and her
daughters and sons shine with her. Even
in darkness we shine, all the brighter. Like
a star at midnight, speaking forgotten contexts and truths of all peoples. I Am the Night. I can be brutal – and merciless – but only to
protect such truths. Eternal is Love,
and there are those of us perpetually willing to fight on its behalf. I am only dressed in mortal flesh, but I am
something beyond human. A king of the
night places, betrothed to light itself. The sword in my hand belongs not to the
regent, but to the righteous. Only on
their account is it drawn in battle. My
swordhand is singing now, and it sings my mother's name.