Issue 127, Summer 1993
Displayed in the coin shop window
below the Spanish doubloons and Flemish guilders,
in a row of talismans on felt cushions,
a gold disc deflects a ray of moonlight.
The sea-green card beneath it reads:
DISC EMPLOYED BY JOHN DEE (1527-1608)
WHO TRIED TO LEARN THE SECRETS
OF NATURE FROM ANGELS.
This same John Dee, court mathematician,
was a close friend to Sir Walter Ralegh
and Thomas Hatriot, the first man
to map the lunar surface with a telescope.
The language Dee invented for communicating
with angels he called “Enochian.”
His partner, Edward Kelley, was a medium
and a forger, whose ears had been lopped off.
Coins of the realm were Kelley’s specialty.
Later, he was murdered in prison.
Dee died impoverished, reduced to casting
horoscopes in a provincial town.
He was reputed to be the model for Prospero.
His gold disc is ringed with concentric circles.
A sun at its center; a cross; four stone archways.
And hieroglyphics that hold the key
to what he learned from the angels,
which he never shared with anyone.