All Nine contributer Rebekah Choat takes us back to school with Malcolm Guite’s “Spell.” Becka is a reader, a writer, a lover of the printed word, dedicated to bringing people books to nourish mind, soul, and spirit. Her website is www.booksbybecka.com.
Summon the summoners, the twenty-six
enchanters. Spelling silence into sound,
they bind and loose, they find and are not found.
Re-call the river-tongues from Alph to Styx,
summon the summoners, the shaping shapes
the grounds of sound, the generative gramma
signs of the Mystery, inscribed arcana
runes from the root-tree written in the deeps,
leaves from the tale-tree lifted, swift and free,
shining, re-combining in their dance
the genesis of every utterance,
pattering the pattern of the Tree.
Summon the summoners, and let them sing.
The summoners will summon Everything.
|Image by Rebekah Choat|
I’m preparing to start kindergarten again, for the fourth time. I’d thought our homeschooling season would end when Baby Girl the First finished high school last year, but you know what Mr. Burns said about the best laid plans of mice and men…Baby Girl the Second came along just in time for my fortieth birthday, giving me one more opportunity to begin at the very beginning.
When you read you begin with ABC, or summon the summoners, the twenty-six enchanters. What a motley set of characters – only a couple of them able to stand alone, but let them start joining up, and there they go, spelling silence into sound. How do they do that? How do a bunch of little black marks on a white page bring forth purple mountain majesties and amber waves of grain? And that’s just the most obvious manifestation of their powers.
They bind: once you know a rose is a rose you can’t very well imagine it by any other name; and loose: the rose isn’t just a rose, it’s velvet and fragrance and innocence and my luve is like a red, red rose. They are the shaping shapes: sometimes they actually do take on something of the shape of the object they signify – bed, for instance, or hollyhock . How cool is that?
These twenty-six little bits of code are signs of the Mystery – like the Word that is from the beginning, they lend form to the intangible, showing us glimpses of things beyond our comprehending; runes from the root-tree, searching down to the bedrock of our knowledge; leaves from the tale-tree, spreading, reaching, leaping greenly. And speaking of re-combining, do they mean the things they name, or do they name the things they mean?
In a strange, fascinating book I read a few years ago (Libyrinth, by Pearl North), I came across an alternate ending that I really like: “Now I know my ABC’s, all the books are mine to read.” Yes. They are the genesis of every utterance, the keys that open the books that open the world. So this September I’ll be starting down that path again, to teach Baby Girl the Second how to summon the summoners, and let them sing, and see the magic light up her eyes as she discovers how the summoners will summon Everything.