The Fool by Miriam Sagan

I’m experiencing a kind of renaissance in terms of my relationship to tarot cards. I started reading them my last year in high school. In San Francisco in the 1980’s I reviewed the feminist decks that were emerging for various publications. That is when I acquired the round Motherpeace deck. Since then, it is really the only deck I use to read, and I know it well. I still use my original copy!

But pandemic lockdown has brought so much learning opportunity on zoom–and I couldn’t resist a course on tarot cards called Death and Resurrection as Muse, via Morbid Anatomy. It’s been useful, with an emphasis on European art history and iconography. As if by coincidence, I also visited Santa Fe artists Alexandra Eldridge in her studio to buy a tarot card print as a gift. Her complete deck should be available this year–I can’t wait! (

Now of course I’m discovering and buying new decks. All this is because I’m writing a poetry sequence based on the Major Arcana. After I did the planets in my poetry collection STAR GAZING (Cholla Needs, 2020) I felt the urge to work more with the interplay between archetypes’ traditional meaning and my own understanding. It is coming along nicely–the course helped fill in connections to cards I don’t always relate to.

But I’ve always loved Zero, The Fool. Here is the poem:

The Fool

the baby is naked
I’m clothed
she has the hose
and foolishly I shriek
“don’t get me wet!”
egging her on

her blond tousled hair
bangs in her eyes
she can say “ant” and “please”
but what is she really

so too the neighbor’s bees
cast runes in the book of the day
purple blossoms
I’ve cultivated for
pollinators all

in the ruined city
there is honey
beneath the masonry
(still standing in the desert)

how close, in autumn,
things are
to going
to seed.

10 thoughts on “The Fool by Miriam Sagan

  1. Oh how I love the synchronicity of things Miriam! I just bought the “tried n true” Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck today. I’ve been using oracle cards for years but have been feeling such a strong pull to start working with tarot. I though I’d start with the Rider deck because I’m already familiar with many of the cards. There are so many stunning iterations these days It’s over-whelming! I also stumbled on a new author, Selah Saterstrom who has read cards for years and uses tarot in her writing classes (at the U of Denver) as a way in. She’s got a website where she and other writers have monthly offerings

    I’ll have to check out your Star Gazing book!!


    • Mary–this is a lot of fun to hear about! Send me yr mailing address at and I’ll send you the astronomy poems book–it was printed with a number of give away copies as it had some donor funding to the press, Cholla Needles. I’m going to follow your link now.

  2. Miriam,

    Wonderful to read about your revived interest in the Tarot. I’ve been reading the cards since my high school senior year as well…even own the Motherpeace deck too! But I prefer to use the Ryder deck, same one as back then! Best wishes with the new poem series. “The Fool” poem is perfect….those bees! When the time comes, I would love to blurb the book, if you wish. Blessed be, sista!

      • Interesting. I’ve written poems about the Tarot, but don’t use them for writing., although my readings often cast light on my work within a broader context.

      • WordPress is goofy for me this morning. Let me try again.

        Although I have written poems about the Tarot, I ‘ve not used them for writing. However, sometimes the readings reflect on poetry writing within a bigger context.

  3. You’ve inspired me to break out my cards. I’ve been thinking of them and the basket they are in recently appeared due to moving things for cleaning. I use the old fashioned Rider-Waite deck and a beautiful deck using Celtic myth.

    This poem is a delight. I look forward to getting your book when it comes out. The neighbor’s bees casting runes is a highlight but the whole things is so vivid and bright.

    Wishing you well.

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