“Understanding Tarot: What Card Comes Before the Fool” by Morris Dance

It is a curious moment this: you
Have left childhood, but not yet come of age.
It seems all the world wants to ask of you
Is smooth skin, shiny hair, white teeth, new clothes,
And an attitude of amused disdain.
Your most critical decision: if you’ll
Go, and how you’ll impress them if you do.


Though you know a river of blood runs beneath
It all, and death is too often the lucky twin.
Those golden lives neatly summed to zero
By what they thought themselves beyond; Starry
People imprisoned in tired clichés;
And fame spoon feeding yet another one
An irresistible unhappy end.


But today, well, today it seems the universe
Has had a change of heart, has forgotten,
Gone on holiday. What you are today
Will just go on forever; and you feel
Dazed and giddy at your luck, and the pluck,
That brought you to it. And now, that Fool
Card appears, to show you your next big step up: down.






Morris Dance lives in California’s central valley and continues to write poetry for reasons that cannot be explained in English.