Fear–dVerse, Meeting the Bar

Macro of Amethyst Quartz. It is 3 inches (8 cm...

Image via Wikipedia


Incense settled in the air,
masking the taste of bile
rising to the back of my throat.

Downstairs, in the bookstore,
chattering sounds, muffled—
New-Age sorts milling about in search
of answers to Age-Old questions.

She sat across from me, eyes closed.
clutching a pillar of clear crystal,
sandaled feet obscured by folds
of a voluminous purple skirt.

I folded sweaty palms together,
clenched my jaw and waited for her guides
to tell her what they wanted her to know,
fought the urge to bolt down stairs
into the frost-laced autumn morn.

Warning words from long ago:
Père l‘Aumonier, a gaunt aesthete
cautioning in a whisper:
“Mefiez-vous de la magie noire,
meme de la magie blanche.”
A shadow poured across the loft.

At last her eyes flew open.
and she placed a globe of amethyst
upon the edge of the weathered
wooden table that marked a boundary
between her world and mine.

“This is you,” she said, pointing
to the lilac orb, “and this is who
you can become,” she said, point to another stone,
a glowing golden citrine on the far side of the table.

And then she took the heavy chunk of quartz,
warm now, no doubt, from the cradle
of her palm, and lay it down between the others.

“And this is all that holds you back.”
She pointed to the crystal, and named it.
Named it then the very same name
that I have chosen for this poem.

Linked to dVerse Meeting the Bar, which I had the privilege of hosting. I hope you will stop by, join in. Bring a poem, have a drink and enjoy the work of your fellow poets.

Note: the French translates: the (priest) chaplain said: Beware of black magic, even white magic.


39 thoughts on “Fear–dVerse, Meeting the Bar

  1. Bill says:

    This one really stayed with me. So much so I wrote a new one from its inspiration.

    Thank you as always for your kind words.


  2. Bill says:

    This is both a great anecdote and a surprisingly complex little moral fable (meethinks). Something about the power that is exerted over us when we look (out of fear) for answers outside of our hearts.


  3. You tell a most compelling tale of fear – you character is brought to life with many visual details.


  4. You tell a most compelling story of fear, bringing the characters to life with many visual details.


  5. morning says:

    perfect and powerful.



  6. I liked the uncertainty of how the narrator regards the woman, at first because of the New-Agey types who are there, and then with the instinct to bolt and the part in French (which I loved seeing mixed in!)…the suspense keeps the story moving.


  7. We had a new age bookshop in CA with a crystal shop above it so this place was familiar as was the fear holding me back. This is you in the middle made it so personal and at the same time so universal. The story made it so real.


  8. tigerbrite says:

    This is delicously creepy.


  9. Laurie Kolp says:

    Oh, so creative… I love the way you presented this… and the ending is perfect!


  10. Clever weave of words and sounds to carry the story of the poem


  11. libraryscene says:

    A wonderful, clever write in this one. I love the story that you wove within your poetry prose. I do believe I could even smell the incense (smile). Thank you for your time and inspiring post yesterday~


  12. what a fearless topic you have taken here.

    fear, both dear and creepy to us, love your deep thoughts on it.



    • Natalie, I’ve tried 3 or 4 times to send you my interviews but I keep getting a message “E-Mail error.” I have it all ready but don’t know what to do to get it to you…so I’m trying to contact you this way. I’ve also sent it to Jingle at the Promising Poets e-mail. I guess I could try to post it as a draft on Bluebell books, if that would work. Let me know. Victoria


  13. souldipper says:

    Wow, well done! Very well done, Victoria. Did you learn French at the convent? I believe the warning stands, thank you, Father!


    • Yes. Studied French in High School and College, also Alliance Francais in Paris, then lived in France for 3 years. …way back when. I used to think and dream in French but it’s been so long now it’s painful. It does come back to me, mais c’est un peu penible.


  14. Shawna says:

    I love your opening:

    “Incense settled in the air,
    masking the taste of bile”


  15. hedgewitch says:

    Not that I’m into it anyway, but critique seems irrelevant for this Victoria–one of the best of yours I’ve ever read–too many good lines to count, and perfectly understated while conveying all kinds of nuance as well as the core message. Very well done indeed.


  16. Neel says:

    Lovely way you create a story out of experience……the way you build on fear ‘the urge to bolt down stairs’……thank you.


  17. Brendan says:

    How to name an emotion? Call it bluntly what it is, yes; relate an experience, of course — but here we get the insides of the issue from a story about the nature of fear. It’s easy to see that chunky mineral getting caught in the gut. Its warm feel in the palm also says how close the feeling is. Greta work. – Brendan


  18. munchow says:

    Very lyrical and so powerful. Fear is indeed often what holds us back. Great message.


  19. This is fantastic. I loved the imagery, and the smokey atmosphere into which this poem is set. Very good job of creating a place for this poem to unwind itself. Locality is central, and you dear lady have nailed it. Great job!


  20. jenneandrews says:

    this is terrific– narrative and yet lyrical with description and then the wonderful stone, metaphor for fear! xxxj http://parolavivace.blogspot.com


  21. Bodhirose says:

    Fear is something that all of us have that holds us back. It sure wouldn’t take a reading from someone to give me that little tidbit of information! I enjoyed all the feelings running through this.


  22. jmgoyder says:

    Oh, what a fantastic poem – gave me goosebumps (I like goosebumps!) Thank you.


  23. Seek the Sun says:

    I enjoyed being in that moment with you,during your “reading”. Sometimes it’s best not to know the future….but I loved how it all came down to fear holding you back. I know this feeling well. Thanks for a great prompt this week and a great poem.


    • I so agree with you…for me it’s about the present . This woman is actually a dear friend of mine and her spiritual insights deal with how to grow rather than what’s hanging out there in the future. It’s all about the present moment and it’s very easy for me to worry about what’s next and miss what I can be doing right now to deal with whatever will come.


  24. rallentanda says:

    This is rather a strange experience. I had not read any of the poems before I wrote mine. There are definite similarities between yours and mine and you even use the same wording that I just wrote in a personal email to someone. This happens to me often. I’m not sure what it all means.


  25. Mary says:

    Intense and stunning. I do think the message she gave you was universal. It is FEAR that holds everyone back in some way. I bet she used that hunk of quartz often in her messages.


  26. your narration is striking and intense! love this!


  27. Tino says:

    You want me to offer crit? I think not 😉

    This is one fantastic piece that speaks to me because I know rocks!!


  28. tinkwelborn says:

    wow! nice tale told in verse.
    kept me spell-bound.
    beware of the black magic found in white magic.
    oo so subtle.
    this piece has so many meanings….
    we don’t know the cause/reason for the anger (the Emotion Shown Here),
    but the speaker wants to bolt — to something familiarly real — the frost-laced autumn morn.

    I love the lines:
    Downstairs, in the bookstore,
chattering sounds, muffled—
New-Age sorts milling about in search
of answers to Age-Old questions.
    Why is the speaker there? I get the feeling the speaker’s a non-believer in the ”New-Age” stuff.
    makes me ponder upon this.

    thanks for sharing.
    Nice job.


  29. siggiofmaine says:

    WoW..great write…lots of emotion and imagery. Enjoyed it very much.

    The quote was new to me…like that too.

    Siggi in Downeast Maine


  30. brian miller says:

    yikes….fear can certainly cling to us in the moment when we are faced with the possibilites of the future..or even just living through the day…the bile on the back of the throat is a very early feeling of unease that sets the tone for this victoria…nicely done…

    nice article today at dverse as well…


  31. zongrik says:

    i love quartz crystals and all kinds of crystals. they have so much power, and yes, they can rule your emotions.


  32. vivinfrance says:

    Victoria, this poem is exceptional – in many directions – meaning, imagery, vocabulary – every word perfectly chosen for its space. I salute you.


  33. Very powerful message… and very true…fear holds a lot of us back!


  34. Steve King says:

    You create such a great sense of place and occasion…details that bring us right in. Fear is ‘magical’ in a way. So often its power is illusory. You show that nicely in this refined and powerful write.


  35. claudia says:

    fear.. wow… a powerful force for sure..holding us back again and again… love the whole scene, the story, the tension..this is something i can grab and see and it gives that abstract emotion which is so hard to locate, a face


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