A Kind of Magic I Can Believe In

Once upon a time, long, long ago, we had just watched magician Harry Blackstone Jr. perform marvelous feats of wizardry on television. I heard my young son ask his father, Is there really such a thing as magic? I held my breath as my husband answered. No. There’s no real magic. It’s only tricks that fool your mind and your eyes.

NO REAL MAGIC? I was disappointed. For years I’d taught my writing classes the art of incantation and enchantment. The casting of spells and charms. By words. I (and they) believed we had special power to call up feelings, knowings, a kind of sorcery. By the use of words! As I reflected on my husband’s answer, I knew he was wrong: There is such a thing as magic. A writer can cause another human being to glow or tingle or wince; to tremble, or to laugh out loud; or to weep — to experience the shine of words — and certainly that is magic, and poets are magicians of the highest order.

I had a student once who, after the death of her elderly aunt, found herself going through some old trunks in an attic. In one of the trunks she found a letter written by a great grandmother, whose husband had just taken a second wife. As my friend read this letter, in which a woman who lived 150 years ago poured out her dismay, her grief, onto a piece of paper, she wept. When we are able to touch someone else across a barrier of time, or distance or culture and make them laugh or cry, that truly is MAGIC!

–Joyce Ellen Davis, Poetry Thursday

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One Comment on “A Kind of Magic I Can Believe In”

  1. Paul Sunstone Says:

    What an excellent quote! This one really gets me thinking about what I try to do now — and what I might try to do in the future — with my own writing.