The Mythogenetic Grove


[poetry]: Golden Apples of Desire, Golden Apples of Revenge

by on Apr.08, 2018, under Poetry

(c) Nin Harris, 1999/2014/2018. All Rights Reserved.

(Pamphlet A632: Museum of Printing History
Description: Ritual Song B4325, used in the Woosteris Mystery Plays)




Listen! I have made you a story
aglow with whorled patterns,
viridian inlaid with leaf-of-gold
upon a diamond-shaped frame,
cobalt borders interweaving deepest teal,
snaking knots of oracle’s purple.

Spider-sister working on the loom;
Arachne, in feminine hubris
dares challenge the Grand Complect.
One woman, nexus of many threads and patterns,
atones for the flouting of Neith’s design
she weaves ‘til warp and weft
transports her into the over-soul.

frigid atalanta’s curling toes poised for flight; her breeze-trembled nose
and tensed limbs like a marked stag in a Sviegian hunt
or a wild boar slain in the name of desire.


The Captive Empress

Hyacinths and frangipani bloom outside these prison walls,
fragrant with the balmy sea-kissed air of a Lith Gurland night.
I huddle on a marriage bed, my legs crumpled against my abdomen;
my mind remembers tortured cries of livestock sold in auction
to grace banquet tables of my Dvenri brothers groomed
and tortured as hostages-in-arms, and janissaries.
Tonight I weave in whispers a tale for the Fratricidal Emperor
(though we utter not this name in his presence that hurts
the eyes with the sharpness of a thousand envenomed daggers
He has done his worst but the living is still sweet.
I fear more the void of no thought where all stories die.
I must make it good, must make him ache to hear
how Sinbad found the roc’s egg in far away Mirozkh
how old lamps for new spirits a palace away,
how the Noble Chef put an end to doomed Lusini for
the fourth time since its creation in a sugar-laden
slaughterhouse of hook-clawed butter-daughters silvered
by the light of a bloodthirsty moon; I must ensorcell him
with tales of enraptured krakens and
the ovallei priests of a spectral Ocean cradling
the three-masters and conquest-notes
of Reldarian pirates and red-robed spider monks;
I must lay upon him with the artifice of lovers the cantos of
Renduk Milder, that imperial poet-panderer of illicit desires,
that charlatan of the masses. Let me spin this tale then.
Let me pray that the morning sun that shines
through the ornate iron bars will not be my last.
I am running out of stories now that the Caliph of Mirozkh
has made his bride from the sea speak —
she has given him a son and treasures from beneath the waves.
“The princess he has surrendered at long last”,
I say with a twist of my lips, knowing he will like that,
knowing that I bide my time till the day when my word-weavings
will capture his final breath.
My store of tales scant themselves, shriveled mid-sentence
in my craw as the thousandth night approaches
Should I tell him of the golden apples of desire?
I have kept this tale for last
I will watch as his eyes cloud over with love,
with this witchery that I have brought into the world
— a smitten butcher with blood-stained hands from a dozen deceased wives
And ten dozen slaughtered siblings kneeling at the altar of my stories
while beneath my bed I cultivate
a family of asps fit for a frenzied end.

daughter athlete freedom-fighter huntress
you would run free up and down
mountain ranges
you would be an argonaut
temptress who is never tempted
the downfall of hunters
and lustful Barlishyan lycanthropes.

“We must bring her low!”
— the Woman Who Weaves
caresses the orchard’s pickings
and waits for an enterprising suitor
to call upon her name.



The Smitten Adventuress

“I will have none other, father
than the one fashioned by my hands!”
Kept hidden in an old recipe book
is the formula for a man & so
the youngest and best-loved daughter
has put on an apron of pristine white
building a man out of caraway seeds,
the thickest celestial cream
to inspire a mystic’s visions,
eggs crafted to be a Barlishya’s doom,
essence-of-violet and honey from the holy bees
and the sweetest candied blood oranges
fit for the Empress of Desire.

Sixteen months to mould you
sixteen months to nurture
I’ll whisper you the secrets of velvet-wrapped desire,
anoint you with the syrup of wild berries
plucked from the hidden groves of the Svieg.

She will climb over the Southern Crescent Range
She will swim the River Svieg as it snakes in and out of cities and the Forest,
She will befriend a family of frogs, court robber-kings and Mirozhi hermits
She will get: a golden tambour, a cartwheel, iron stakes ,
a golden dress, a golden spinning wheel,
and strings of jewels to win back a candied heart.
“Will you not listen? It is I who loved you well!
The jewel-winged arlishya that guards this halls
has turned your heart from mine!”
He drowns in drugged slumber
while servants whisper and crouch
beneath a twice-carved archway,
“I will sing to you of golden apples. Will you not listen?
You once loved this tale so well.”

Golden apples to bring a glow to her cheeks
Golden apples to fan long hidden embers to a conflagration
Golden apples that will be scapegoated as she picks them one by one
Golden apples will he throw to trap the tempest in mid-stride
Golden apples spiked with desire with secrets to beguile a beguiler anew

I surrender to you in delirium, induced by a debt unpaid.



Woodswitch, Loomsmother

My primordial roar holds back a melting glacier
by calling forth an avalanche.

Autumnal moon, you watch me drift
amongst bristling trees, branches like antlers
upon my brow, my berry-stained feet and lips.
I dance within Sviegian hidden grottoes overgrown with moss
as another city sinks into the tentacled embrace of Lake Llendrys,
— an avatar of dreaming, a whisper in the night;
listen to my night-wail as I pull the wool over your eyes,
protecting, still protecting my little corner of paradise.
Still crouching in labyrinths, still whirling in moonlit bacchanals.

Come and catch me if you can
Come and love me if you dare;

An ungainly Atalanta running around
ghosts of arboreal stadiums to escape
the beguilement of golden apples
that live within my throat
and snake within my craw,
that lodge within my heart
and pushes these words onto
epics and tales to snare you,
to win me free, to win us free.

(Loomsmother’s curse hits a quivering mark –)

Watch me grow claws, Beloved.
Listen to me roar in wrath.
We will be as two lions in a
temple where once two lovers clasped.

This poem started life as “Golden Apples” in 1999, and I wrote it after I finished my final law exam. In those days I was feverishly rereading Italo Calvino’s Italian Folktales, Lucius Apuleius’s The Golden Ass, and I was reading A.S. Byatt’s Possession for the very first time. This story came out like a fever-dream. It was on my website for many years and I received a lot of positive feedback about it. I took it down around 2006 (honestly I don’t remember exactly when) because I had intentions of making a poetry collection. Around 2014 when I was planning on making a chapbook of all of my Sesen short stories, I retooled and remixed this poem for it. I’ve worked on it off-and-on since then, and am pleased to offer it here on my website. (It’s a bit difficult to submit this to poetry markets since it’s a poetry reprint).

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[poetry]: The Soul’s Kiss

by on Mar.10, 2018, under Poetry

(c) Nin Harris 1997

How does one discern the imprint of a soul?
it is lighter than a fingerprint upon your skin
which only magic dust can show
The kiss of the sun
leaves its imprint in darker hues
its glory against your form
leaves a lengthening shadow as you walk
but a soul’s kiss?
it leaves no mark upon your hue,
the make-up of your being,
but how it mutates your soul!

Less obvious than the sun’s glory,
the glow of the soul is an invisible thing
but one which can char and tar and scar
a soul beyond recognition much fiercer
than any ball of gas could aspire.

A soul’s kiss
is a dream in the night
half remembered in images which do not coalesce
it is a blanket of softest down
dulling your senses when you walk and talk
with untouched beings
who never have known
who never could know.

What then is its secret?
this soul without form
intangible conception
in a compact of dreams.
what is this soft glow
that is so much stronger than the sun ?

A mountain of gold for the genius
who invents a soul-scanning machine
let us cut across the futile questings
of dreams, poems and songs,
soul questing maps of obscure formulas.

Is Science the answer?
could all your achievements
against time and space and all laws of nature
discover the origin of this soul upon mine?


What is the imprint of a soul?
child of nightmares; a scream in the dark,
or a Zephyr coming to carry one
off the dragon’s rock of isolation
like Psyche so long ago.
the fall of sunlight within a clump of weeds
once mundane, now a glorious
profusion of life.
The beguiling mystery of tunes half-remembered
it is a door tantalisingly left open
in the marble halls of daydreams
it is the sweep of red and cobalt blue
upon a thick white canvas.
this pattern of my days
this purpose-shaping chisel
is a hand through a darkened doorway
beckoning me upwards toward the light
it is a rock that carries me on
a downward spiral

scientist and philosophers!
I defy you to try
and discover the geometry of this force.
I defy you to render this dark magic onto prosaic ink on paper
— or blinking letters on a screen.
If x= the effect on my existence
and y= the purpose of my days,
how many more letters of the alphabet
would it take to command a solution
to this uneasy formula
can those mysterious digits
find the spark of words not remembered
and features blurred by the light of dreams?
(August 1997)

Notes: I sat on the steps outside a lecture theatre one morning after listening to Maria Callas arias on my commute. I was a third year law student who was spending more time reading the Classics (Greek and Roman poets and philosophers) and listening to classical music and the opera than she was reading the thousands of cases and legal notes assigned to her. (But I still read quite a lot. I was a dutiful law student who sometimes stayed in the law library until 8-10pm). Suffice it to say, being inundated with facts, probabilities and reasonable doubts, my poet’s soul rebelled and wanted something…more. Many poems of this ilk were the result.

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[poetry]: The Mermaid

by on Apr.05, 2017, under Poetry

(c) Nin Harris, 2006 —

Do not let me build dreams
if you will not walk into them.
Do not let me fall into the dark
if you will not be my hurricane lamp.
Do not cast nets if you
would not pull a mermaid out
Let her swim back into the deep.

But if you catch and befriend,
If you watch as she dances; know this.

When she flexes needle-pricked soles that bleed,
When her hips mimic her sister’s undulation
and her hands clap like a sea-mammal in captivity,
It is not because a sea-witch has pulled out her tongue.

It is because she cannot bring herself
to say the words or to move her body
in ways her aquatic self knows best.

So if you catch her, be kind.

Do not still the music, do not stop the dance.
Let her worry the words that squirm,
Like eels at the base of her fear.

Let her pull them out.

(3-10 March 2006)

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[poetry]: Plato’s Dream

by on Apr.05, 2017, under Poetry

(c) Nin Harris, 1998 —

(inspired by Aristophanes’ Dialogue in Plato’s Symposium)

let me grow here, alone, unfelt, unseen,
let me step into these shadows
out of your demanding light
let me grow, hidden and wild
in shadowy groves,
in dew-soaked nooks
where the soil is lush and damp.
a wildflower knows only
the kiss of sunlight
mates only with the morning dew
let me soak here unnoticed

in aeons of vegetative

never the kitten
nor a house-bred tabby
preening amongst the potted plants
i will jump off rocks
for no phaon
leucus wait not for me
desire for the pounding surf
is all i need

let me ascend, arise
as one with tiptoed feet
eyes the fresh-washed moon
rising over
aeolian waters

a solitary lioness stalks the long grass

a shadowy diver poised above the precipice

let me be the fire
as it burns on the coals of dreams
and i will strum on lyre
beat at drums,whirl with hennaed feet
around a circle of desire
while my hidden voices roar

within this cycle of oneness
i will renounce
plato’s dream —

and lay to rest my phantoms

(15 June 1998- last line amended 29th November 2002)

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[poetry]: lateral revolutions

by on Apr.05, 2017, under Poetry, Runaway Words

(c) Nin Harris, 2005 —


I awake from textual simulacra
of green-laced birdsong
and binary flora and woods.
Fresh-washed of hexadecimal
visions; I strive
to contain a
carbon – ridden form
within actuality of
the Moment.

(15 February 2005)


Forgetting reason and
needful places within the soul
— I seek self-directed
retribution nestled
within interstices of sound.
They are different from sensation
but still the same – unbidden yet
mathematical in crystalline symmetry.
I seek solace in,
semi-tonal modalities
nestled between
time and space.

Raise one, lower another –
till I know not
what comes before and after.
(3 March 2005)


Distinct; the trill of sparrows
in a post-diluvian dawn
conveys semiotic imprints
to perplex my soul
from embedded slumber
I find myself again
where the thread unravels

Lost; a monosyllabic
resolution to a quest
of findings.

Found; a backstory
containing no meaning beyond
glittering sharp edges of
glistening words.
(9 March 2005)


Woodsmoke furling around
aural angles and curvature.
I remember this.

I have sung paeans to this
collocation of sensate modalities
like joyce within a textual stream,
I seek the undoing of cohesion.
I have danced barefoot
between these waiting trees
of sharp-angled alphabets before.

I have revisited these morphemes, phonemes –
sundry units of sound; arranging
then rearranging like some
obsessed housewife keeping
semitones in order –
wordchild dancing within
syntax and context;
presupposing there is no
universe outside of sounds;
chaotic and uniform.

Where will you find me?
– Somewhere between anvil, stirrup and hammer.

Where will I find me?
– Somewhere beyond lateral revolutions
against the palate.
(14 March 2005)

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[poetry]: The Clockwork Tide

by on Apr.01, 2017, under Poetry

(c) Nin Harris 1999 —

Nessun maggior dolore. Che ricordarsi del tempo felice Nella miseria

– Dante Aliegheri, from The Inferno

the sea strikes –>
patterns left on the shore
are like the marks of experience
upon self.

touched by the sea,
carved, changed, wrapped, sucked in,
thrown back onto the sand
are sandcastles crafted from
expectorated verbiage.

(legitimise this breakdown of cohesion –>
the trails my fingerpads make on
the pane separating us
my hungry breath that
frosts the glass

waters swirling –> cresting
in her afternoon tempests
the coastline is loveliest in the morning
despite the ravages of the night
all the debris has been wiped away by the night-tide
yet to be washed –> in noon-tide
what will the currents bring today?

{remove these remnants of
verbiage debris trivialities
salt water will pierce and pickle us clean
all the ground
bones of aquatic ancestors, in the air that you breathe
redolent luxuriate exfoliate these
grimy senses


can one write about absence as
accurately as one writes about presence?
can it accurately delineate
every fibre? acuity – is sometimes only felt
when that which has been possessed
is taken away from us.
what is added –> subtracts
what subtracts –>donates
the immediate sensation
of loss – brings home to me
what has been swept in –>
felt, recorded, filed away always in there –>
and what has swept out –>
nudging –> piercing
a soul poised within a soul.


harm not a fly
if you are who you say you are
does the hidden foot smell?
humanity’s best foot forward
brings forth –> debris
purity is a dream
fettered –> but unconquered
optimism in the wake of this machinery
and the lemmings rush into the sea –>
trivialities –> shackled divinity
the light is dimmed –>
stamped out –> but it burns
expectorated verbiage
flotsam – ad nauseum
ad nauseum


true voices –> do not speak in tongues
click against the roof of your mouth
curl around the sounds of vowels and
the clip of consonants –>
pleasure not quite added up yet
to the unseen whole

will racial memory herald the death
of Art?

If perfect memory
sprawls into ribbon-like halls of
records with meticulous notations
within our souls, would Art exist?

human beings are ultimate litter:
but litter too can be beautiful
when it combines, when it is absorbed.

If you must toss me out
make me bio-degradable, dear.

primeval ultimate purity
music is the language that
seats at the base of your

cerebral larynx
making music without sound
deeper falls the harpoon
in search of narwhals beneath the ice.


what is poetry? a chain of words.
a coil.

speak not to fools –> but listen to
them for they divulge more truth
than they think they do.
than you think they do.
volcanoes spewing out the
building blocks of the coastline
rocks are hewn down, chipped away
slowly –> coarse sand or smooth powder
which one came first?
we walk upon the crushed
bones of ancestors.

there is no greater magic
than this inter-connectivity –>
dining off the tears
of some matriarch
buried in the depths

a womb encircling
the clockwork tide
the rubberband that coils around us all-
the serpent gorging on its tail –>
longevity is the
sunlight reflected off the sea
i nurture the loki
coiling at the
base of my being
too aware of
soul tendrils
dredging for ore at the
core of my thoughts.
my careless fingers
must sift unseen
and scavenge.

(5 December 1999)

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[poetry]: The Emissary

by on Apr.01, 2017, under Poetry

(c) Nin Harris

an emissary nudged into
pictures of the mind
raven-wings bound
at nape; discoursing art and myth
pigments and colors suffuse
soft-eyed animus with
gesticulating hands
that would later smooth sheets
on a dreaming street sloping
downwards to the sea.

she gapes at paintings and sculptures
feet tapping on shiny wooden floors,
cold winds blowing into elaborate
art show of the mind.
an elegant scrawl labels
every piece with latin, oglala
yoruba, gaelic and keraton whilst
bisons, standing stones, maenads
whirl in expressionistic squiggles
and splashes of pigments:
orange, red and demure peach for
what is first seen at birth,
blue and silver of refracted light on
undersides of scholarly fish, then
black, indigo and adamantine
threatening to encase.
tasting salt on the tongue
the observer hovers
at the entrance of a fictive tableau
she could choose not to weave;
words she could choose to savour without
expressing them into waking sounds.
pre-existing only when the dreamer
is sightless and drifting,
pushing a little into the veil between
grandmother Whale breaches before
tunneling back into the blue.
( 8 March 2006)

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[poetry]: Language of the Green

by on Apr.01, 2017, under Poetry

(c) Nin Harris

{mother i cannot breathe}

these thoughts blanket me
stifle like walls as we speak
we inhale exhausted green
exhale and out again are words
that entomb like wrappings
and trappings of tombs

my fingerpads like the “O” of
air exhaled; oscillated-osculated
they make patterns on the glass

separating outside from within

air comes in-between us
great matrix of connectivity
intersecting thoughts from bloodstream
to bloodstream.

my heart translates
messages the green encodes
wispy veins on parchment
{leaves in life-giving mode}

a melody of green resonating,
air initiates the rhythm of



the language of green
can it be found in filaments of colour?
or in exhalations made as diaphragms contract.
instruments of survival-fingerpads will
run then splay across ribs
which protract as they
protect blood-pumping heart
and these lungs heaving
to keep me standing
and fuel the passion
of this art.

these organs receive
the language of green and
transcribe it like an army
of UN interpreters —
organic pipelines move
results found upwards then downwards
where it sings to
chambers of heart and head with
far more efficacy than
any security council
could ever envision
in political pipedreams.

what? you say politics
have no place in

it exists
as all else must, you know.

the green has a secret plan
to overthrow the government
of flesh and blood


they control a valuable resource
use it well, heed it well
you will never be majority
without their

we are nothing

There’s your hegemony.



i grew up beneath the
shading trees of both
my imagination and the reality
of blistering afternoons in the tropics
leaves filtering light within me
freeing oxygen moving within
my blood, red as the flametree blossoms
red as chinese firecrackers signifying

red as the red red bloom of courtly love

fluttering air-making green fuels the power within my stride

– it is the slave driver pushing
these sounds out
from my diaphragm to the larynx
moving it into the waiting spaces
between our thoughts
gently coercing its way into
syllables created to undo structures

this air we breathe is a constant
moulding itself
to thoughts- to skin
– to skim the water even as it
slips into our

the gift of trees
and the lightsucking moss you
trample beneath your feet

air encodes the sigh
another tree cut
to print this out.

(12-15 JUNE 2001, revised 4 JULY 2002)

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[poetry]: Interrogate Me

by on Dec.18, 2016, under Poetry

(c) Nin Harris

if i am locked in stasis
like the pose of some ancient dancer
preserved in a jellied womb
lucent like amber glows
am i still the dance?
fingers will not tingle
bloodstream clogged with worries
and doubt–is this the moment the dancer
separates and becomes waxwork
– a representation of her art?
who divides?
{questioner and the questor}
what dissects?
{answer from the interrogator}
are you the unresolved yearning of
the ultimate eroticist for diversion
or mystic desiring one-ness with the slurry
of Universal harmonics?

You seek to re-create me, but is it rather
my destruction that you desire?
Pull me into the tabernacle of your quest(ion)ings
you can attempt to pry
apart the skins that hold me close —
I feel fingers along every fibre of those
protective coverings, trying to penetrate
the interior. Sometimes a dirt-encrusted
nail reaches within only to encounter resistances
of bloodstream, body, and mind.

Automatic pilot activates the spooling of programmed
answers while they drive in another
stainless steel nail to unearth obscure
treasure from the wreckage of experience.

The hunt is the head of the serpent
the hunted is the tail
watch me swallow myself whole
watch me swallow myself whole.
(11 August 2003)

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[poetry]: Between Stillness and the Dance

by on Dec.14, 2016, under Poetry

(c) Nin Harris 2004-2016

Oyster furled liminalities,
the grip of Baubo trembling laughter
in Demeter’s wake of grief.

Soliloquy –
watching the moment
drizzle on inside hyacinth sunpetals of dew
possession beyond the auspices of rue
forged on chains of ivy

We climb upward unnoticed in
the shadow-dappled sunlight
forsaking silkbound checkpoints of
sapient sentries

We dance through subterranean
passages to meadows of starlight
dappled hues of dark
– lit from within like Sister Moon

Starlight –
energy shivering in
an apsara’s pose

Laminate this moment
hold it down like the Leviathan of
the deep.

Coyote pries open the code
and finds nothing there
to greet the sunlight

(29 July 2004)

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