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.