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A vast majority of the poetry contained in "Whale Songs in the Aurora Borealis" are written either TO, ABOUT or AS IF William Butler Yeats and utilize a great amount of symbolism and imagery that he was also known to use. This was not a gruelling effort by Ronda Wicks Eller - she'd been employing the same symbols and images in her poetry for years before ever reading or studying WBY's works. In fact, it was only after repeated insistence by a well-read friend and neighbour about her poetry bearing such similarities that she undertook a greater investigation into it.

When reviewers' comments stated "These are poems worth studying" and knowing that Yeats symbolism isn't well-known to the average reader, Ronda had a desire to assist the reader in their attempt to understand the poems at a deeper level. With the book freely available HERE on it makes good sense to get the Notes out to the public too. Of course the reader must glean their own interpretation from the poems too - poems are multi-layered little beasties meant to meet everyone inside the realm of their own perception!


and NOW the reader gets the author's input firsthand!

Recurring Themes

WHITE BIRD:  The White Bird symbolizes freedom of spirit to rise above circumstance toward spiritual healing, growth and ascension. White Birds not only have this ability / freedom for themselves but to assist others this way also.

GREYSTONE: The symbolism of this character stems from a poem written for Ronda's late husband on her wedding night. The poem, titled "Like A Rock" is the final poem in her earlier chapbook "My Harmonic Perfection", published 1995. It speaks to her desire to love like a rock rather than a rose because it is smooth and secure and has no thorns. Greystone is a wizard who offers the element of magic in love and its ability to pass between all dimensions of reality. As a smooth rock form of love it is in opposition to the Immortal Rose's thorny, passionate love and so can be considered its daemon. In theory, it is the task of the spirit and its daemon to eventually evolve toward a point where they can fully absorb one another and become one entity; therefore, some poems in this chapbook illustrate an evolving alliance between Greystone and Immortal Rose. Yeats used a considerable amount of this imagery in his poetry as references to "Grey Rock" etc. The same imagery was derived by both poets totally separate of one another.

IMMORTAL ROSE: Immortal Rose is an ancient symbol for the goddess Sophia, whose story is told in Pistis Sophia, as part of the Apocrypha (the "lost gospels" considered to have been divinely inspired although not included in the Bible... some Bibles place them as a reading supplement between the two Testaments). Rosicrucianism and other hermetic study groups such as The Golden Dawn (of which Yeats was a member) are also based in the concepts of Sophia and the Immortal Rose. Symbolically, the Immortal Rose is the passionate love symbol of Sophia, a fallen angel (and God's daemon) who endured the tortures of Lucifer and other fallen angels in Hell, always looking toward God, crying out to Him and declaring her love for Him. After the crucifixion, the book of Sophia tells of Jesus' spiritual journey into Hell. During this time, Jesus, assisted by St. Peter, freed Sophia at God's command. As God's daemon, also Greystone's daemon, one can conclude that Greystone is another entity of God (which fits with the smooth, secure love that Greystone purports).

Insights: Poem by Poem

1. Resurrection

Synopsis: The spirits of two lovers conjoined, isolated to develop together without interference; hidden until they evolve from black, sooty pieces of coal into a precious, tough diamond that is highly valued and very beautiful. The workers are symbolic of a universal force breaking them free when the time is ready. Subliminally: The thought that there are precious things evolving around us that we cannot see (another world out there) and not all things evolve independantly or indiscriminately. Like requires like and spirits have kindred spirits.    Free verse.

2. But a Dream

Synopsis: A universal set of scales weighing up events that are assumed to be opposites or cannot occur simultaneously. The conclusion is that such things are the same - equal opposites as the daemon is to its human physical counterpart. "Time is but a dream" doesn't have an opposite and infers the concept that it doesn't have to because it isn't really real anyway. The hint is that Timelessness, its perceived opposite, is not real either... therefore, eternity becomes fathomable as it encompasses both.  Lyric: 2 cinquains with ABABC rhyme scheme.

3. Nymph Bride

Synopsis: A simple thought on temptation and obsession; the allure of things forbidden and question of attainability. It is the desire of an unsettled youth looking at a full life ahead (the ponderous ocean) and questioning the course of sexual attractions to an improperly matched life partner.   Free verse.

4. With My Sisters

Synopsis: Originally written for Ronda's sisters on a 'growing up' theme, the poem embraces the concept of kindred spirits coming from the same source and branching out in different directions. At times, they reunite and these occurrences are the most beautiful and gratifying yet, in the end, they must acknowledge that they are on individual courses and carry on. Imagery: Hints at a witch's coven during ritual or a Celtic celebration of purity and leaves the reader to choose their own context.   Free verse.

5. Of Wanton Disposables

Synopsis: The narrator in this poem states some priorities of love and spirit over the body's material considerations. Portions of the body, matching the five senses, are offered up in exchange for the real sense of the spirit's absent lover.   Lyric: predominantly rhyming couplets with an alternating iambic tetrameter and iambic trimeter rhythm.

6. He Pleads for Her a Love Made Right

Synopsis: This poem was composed during meditation three days before Ronda's estranged husband died from throat cancer. She did not know who it was relevant to or that she may have been channelling intentions of his when she was writing it; in fact, she had no knowledge that he was even near to death with a terminal disease. She learned from sources later that he'd been asking for people to find her (although she'd moved a fair distance away). The poem is affirmation of a spirit traveling in its final days to make amends and settle earthly 'business'.

Imagery: The "freeway" speaks to the mental noise of everyday life in a fast-paced society. The "whispering flay of wing tips" (the needle in the haystack) "on airy bands" (the ascension beyond physical); a teardrop in the shape of a heart connotes sensitivity and the pain of love; "villages" (out of the way places); "ashes" (remains of the past); verses 3 and 4 - address the marital breakdown and resultant grief; "willows weeping sad" add a natural element to the bittersweetness since the location of a weeping willow is always near a good water source, so, near the source of his refreshment. "Atman's coat of white" symbolizes sincerity and purification of the soul within as it is cleansed of negative obstructions and able to look beyond itself toward the heavens, to offer peace as an exchange for forgiveness (the ascension of spirit once again).    Lyric: 7 quatrains in ABAB rhyme scheme.


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