Three Poems by Raina Manuel-Paris

Accidental joy

The awkward grace
Of this dying body
The lightness of being
A searing pain
A distant hope

Discarding what was
Despite the terror
Of falling into
What is not yet alive
In the eyes

Not ever…not EVER
Giving yourself
The benefit of the doubt
That maybe, every step you took
Was in the right direction

Coming to ground
Into the roundness
of every beastly thing

Having shed the refined sculpture
Of the false self
After decades of hanging on
To what you thought was you

Decoding the darkness
Beneath your feet
Filled with the light
That brings forth life

At last
Its startled heart
In accidental joy.

The Shape of Things to Come

Tonight, your sleep is fitful
With unnamable troubles
Full of unforgiven and unforgiving
Anxious over every dying thought
Money mountains microbiome
democracy and glaciers diminishing
Adrenal fatigue and falling serotonin
Multiple Irreversible disasters
Monarch butterflies, honeybees, Bengal tigers
And always, the finitude of sweet waters

Body ill-fitted to its soul
Utterly unwell with
Numberless fears
Hands in prayer clasped over chest
Lungs mushy with sticky grief
The natural world drenched in darkness

Discontent dweller of shadows
That bear the priceless seed
Of your future self
The one you fail to see in the mirror
No matter how hard you look
Or how long you sit
Meanwhile, Hephaestus
Inexorable blacksmith
Keeps pounding and burning
The shape of things to come.

Beauty and the Beast
A premonition poem

Fog bank clinging
to tall dry grasses and
ragged branches
treetops and hidden rocks

Sun silver like the moon
behind the veil
waiting for the day to begin
in earnest heat

Smell the wind
suffer news of tomorrow
Beauty and the Beast
at odds
in each camouflaged heart

Too much fire
Not enough water.

Raïna Manuel-Paris is the product of a French father and a mother from the Dominican Republic, which informs all her work. Raïna has an MFA from Columbia U in Film and a Ph.D. in Myth and Depth Psychology from PGI. She has taught Myth & Symbol, Magic & Ritual, and Archetypal Psychology for the last 20 years. You can find some of her lectures on YouTube and

She is part of the Joseph Campbell Writers room, and has lectured for the Joseph Campbell Roundtable, Raïna has written for Psychological Perspectives, the journal of Jungian Thought, and for the Joseph Campbell Foundation.

 She is a published author of non-fiction (the Mother-to be’s Dream Book,) numerous articles, two plays, and poetry, and she recently completed her first novel, the Fire In the Well. She offers her Cradle and the Crown seminars on a regular basis, and she gives Tarot readings from her unique alchemical perspective. Find out more at

She is a student of the Frame Drum and of Natural Horsemanship. She lives in Ojai, CA with her husky mix Numen, and her Palomino horse Quincy.

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