I wrote a blog post on magical women, so I thought I should write one on magical men as well. But the strange thing is that I know fewer magical men than I know magical women. I’m not sure why? I can tell you what magical men are like. Just like magical women, they are writers and artists who show you mystical, fantastical aspects of the world: artists like Brian Froude, Charles Vess, and David Shane Odom, for example. Or writers like Charles de Lint and Cliff Serutine. They show you different ways of thinking and being. I could certainly name others, so I’m not sure why it seems as though there are fewer of them than there are of the magical women I know. Perhaps I just know fewer personally, which means it’s my fault? Or perhaps our culture allows women to connect with the world in a magical way more readily. Perhaps they are not mocked for it, or told there is no profit in it. Perhaps there is something in nature, in the understanding and celebration of the natural world, that we still consider feminine? Even though it is men who have traditionally been though of as woodsmen, hunters. I don’t know.
What I do know is that I want there to be more magical men. We need them. (Of course, I think we need more magical women too. We need more magic generally.) We need men who are trying, not to climb the corporate ladder, but to save the world. (In whatever way presents itself. Because you know, there are a lot of ways to save the world. Some days, it may involve writing a poem, or planting a garden.) I suppose what this blog post expresses, really, is a kind of longing. Let there be men strong enough to march to the beat of their own drummers, as Thoreau said. I know, I know, they’re out there. I just wish there were more of them, and that the men I know (and I am lucky to have wonderful male friends) felt more free.
There is something about relative powerlessness that can, ironically, give you more freedom. Men are expected to be serious, motivated, ambitious. Women are allowed to create an Etsy store to sell their art or crafts. It’s a shame, really. So yes, I suppose I wish men strength, freedom, courage — to be magical.
I’m going to end with a poem I wrote some time ago called “Green Man” that is a love poem. I’m not sure if it’s the appropriate way to end this post, but somehow it feels right.
Come to me out of the forest, man of leaves,
whose arms are branches, whose legs are two trunks,
rough bark covered with lichen. Come and take
my hands in yours, and lead me in this dance:
In spring, green buds will sprout upon your head;
in summer they will lengthen into leaves.
Oak man, willow man, linden man, which are you?
In autumn, they will fall, and through the winter
you will be bare, with only clumps of snow
or birds upon your branches.
Come and love me,
my man of leaves, my forest man. For you,
I’ll be an alder woman, birch woman.
In spring I’ll wear pink blossoms like the cherry;
in summer ripening fruit will bend my boughs;
in autumn I will bear, distributing
a hundred seeds, our children. And the birds
will sing my praises. Let us learn to love
the sun and wind together; let us twine
our bodies, filled with sap, until we make
a single tree on which two different kinds
of leaves are growing, where birds build their nests,
among whose roots the squirrels hide their nuts,
storing them for winter.
A hundred years from now, we will still stand,
crooked perhaps, the sap running more slowly,
our two hearts beating, separately and together,
under the summer skies, in autumn rains.