Category: Mythology


Psyche Revived by Eros' Kiss by Antonio Canova

Psyche Revived by Eros’ Kiss by Antonio Canova

Eros falls from a sunlit chariot
into a sea of destruction
adrift in the salt-sting
of an inner exile

golden wings beating
swift as the whirlwinds
of a tempest roaring
melancholic around him

loosing breath and bearing
his desire broken upon
the craggy shore
he pines for her
transforming love

butterfly wings alight
liberate her longing
she dreams of moonlit nights
the salt-sting of his kiss
ravaging tempest of bliss

transformational encounter
a consummate release
his true nature
centers her in the
splendor of their love

reunited after trials
wounded and contrite
she is awareness
wed to his glory

enlightened cosmic sight
immortal soul revealed

she breathes life into the circle
he lights the internal flames
forever entwined in flight
iridescent wings lift lovers
to yet unknowable heights

Archangels

Seraphina cries out at dawn
voice emanates from hallowed bells
incarnating disembodied minds

A call to haloed presence
echoes: eternal glory abounds
through the broken chords of song

Jophiel weeps benevolent grace
embodies immaterial beauty
winged proclamations of joy

Celestial delight fuels their fire
igniting sparks of the divine
within each miraculous one

The Harrowing of Hell, from a fourteenth century manuscript, Anonymous

The Harrowing of Hell, from a fourteenth century manuscript, Anonymous

Upon a muddied road
long lost to the noise
and bustle of everyday
inanity I came upon
a wound in the land

from the bottom
of the ever deepening pit
he winks his brightest blue eye at me:
‘nothing in the wide world,
of which you seem so attached,
has any real existence’

ontological jokes
for the squeamish

‘I’m a figment –
pigment stain
of your wall-eyed,
lolling fantasies’
dancing as he heckles
my raised hackles

‘ogling my impish
grin gets you nothing
but sin,’ whispers
‘it’s meaningless din,
for all is naught’

with nihilistic glee the
trickster jests his own
dark thoughts
rhyme, don’t rhyme
on moral principle –

even the damned
need amusement

he laughs aloud
‘what gods are left
to damn me?’

there is no purpose
in the gilding
of my golden cage
and my resentment
may be stonily wrought

I’d be devastated
but remember
his existence is
nonexistent, another
prank on my sincerity
and so merrily continue
my journey unencumbered

Written in response to Claudia’s prompt at dVerse Poets Pub to write a poem where character from a book intrudes. My character is Woland from The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. The title is the beginning of a poem from Eunoia by the experimental poet, Christian Bök.

Weminuche Wilderness Image Credit: David Chamberlain

Weminuche Wilderness / Image Credit: David Chamberlain

Sappho’s disastrous god
devoid of love and sorrow
wept not upon the metrons of her tragedy

His moonglow blindness
to her ornate melodies
rapturous abandon of polyphonic ecstasy

Her enduring wilderness
echoic lingering metaphors
gestalt harmony of a vision pale

Sunlit peaks preside over pulpwood coffins
effigies lit by Apollo’s fire-licked arrow
fed by the inexhaustible breath of Aeolus
burn filigreed epitaphs to her bright star

Notes: This was written for Victoria’s excellent prompt on patterns at dVerse Poets Pub. The poem makes allusions to Greek mythology, Christianity, the Weminuche Wilderness in Colorado where some of the peaks include Eolus and Sunlight mountains, poets John Keats and Sappho, and patterns in nature in its exploration of the recurring historic theme of the oppression of women and their expression. Together these allusions create connections of meaning, explicate the contrafacture and intertextuality inherent in poetics and religion/mythology, and indicate a deeper layer where we encounter the patterns that undergird the psychological entanglement we experience in our engagement with poetry, religion, and culture. It also demonstrates a pattern of themes within my own poetry.

Cenotaph

Willem De Kooning

Willem De Kooning

poems like Snyder’s lost ponies
gallop down shining sand dunes
all heat and sweat and neighing
great stallions of imagination
humbled in embodiment
in motion, huffing, striving
toward the blue-dark horizon

frenetic birds flit at the edge of sky
stencils against the thread of clouds
unable to escape the picture
painting landscapes of loss
singing songs of lament
at the walls of the white monastery

within the hobbled monk chants
breaks the night with his strange descant
there is nothing to accept
prostrate surrender of an endless ritual
rhythm chime of an inner bell

words cascade, an avalanche of lost meaning
roaring down the scarred mountain
felling ancient trees, thundering echoes
through fire-kissed meadows
gods hover at Duncan’s margins of thought
here in the hinterlands of a long forgotten tale

Redon’s Black Pegasus 1909

I ascended to Olympus moments after my violent birth at Perseus’ hand. Watching as my mother’s blood still pooled in the virile sea foam. Redon painted me black, as if every cell was kissed by the dark snakes of my mother’s Underworld. Purified by Zeus every hair and feather flashed prismatic white. I became a creature of the sky. I vowed with my first thought to be wild, unrestrained imagination in flight. My wing words would transcend the song of earth, achieving the sublime. But all this was long ago, before I saw her. She was my soul, my golden bridle, my incomparable Sappho. The music of her poetry lured me earthbound, taming me.

an imploding singularity
awash in Dionysian pleasure
counterpoint to my Apollonian spirit
she expands and contracts to infinity
in fractals of complexity
my inward vision turns
to embrace her

she arcs in spiraling parabolas
a bloom on a beautiful morning
within this vale of soul-making,
temporal and inescapable,
all must be endured
an intoxicating creative tension
birthing poetry

Redon Pegasus

Within the sphere of our epiphanal love, gentle waves broke upon feverish shores. She called me divine, beckoned me close but was overcome with feeling and fell mute, trembling. My spirit deprived her eyes of vision and my thunder overwhelmed her ears. I was the cloud bearing fruitful rain, imagination in all its real powers of elevation. I was the bridging symbol. Together we spun the synthesis of polarities with equal dignity. I vowed to bear her to the celestial heights. There, transformed to stars, our ill-fated forms would no longer cause our suffering.

as we rise she slips
caught in gravitation’s pull
heart shatters as I cannot
break her fall

fragments of her legacy
are buried in pulpwood coffins
(burned by papal decree)

the bow and the lyre
torn apart at the hands of the gods
we are forever separated

I was granted
constellation’s majesty –
from my unfathomable heights,
dream world of eternal ideas,
a lone feather falls
to anoint her earthly tomb

Pegasus 1a

bone. spirit. blood. hoof (and wing). right ascension 23 h. asterism’s geometry. points in the northern sky. declination +20°. heartbeat transmuted. Einstein’s Cross quasar (new chambers of the heart, detached). encompassed in a canopic jar (supermassive black hole). quadrant NQ4. fusion’s glory heaven’s prize. area 1121 sq. deg. (7th). creative waters vaporized (extrasolar HD 209458 b) . unity and multiplicity. depth psychology paradox. Stephan’s Quintet collides.

Notes: You can find out more about Sappho here: http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/318 and read the myth of the Pegasus at these sites: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pegasushttp://www.pegasusproducts.com/myth.html. The subtitle comes from a painting by Christopher Le Brun which is at the Tate: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/le-brun-dream-think-speak-t03454. Please join me today for my first time hosting Meeting the Bar: Critique and Craft at dVerse Poets Pub http://dversepoets.com/2012/10/04/meeting-the-bar-postmodern-prose/ today at 3ET. I’d love to see you there!

Angel of Oblivion

 

Victor de Schwanberg/Science Photo Library

Victor de Schwanberg/Science Photo Library

I traverse an
infinite divide
divining an
immanent encounter

[I stop breathing]

there is stillness

stabbing pain
radiates from
my sternum

I hear the
scratching
blue pen
across paper
which is always
disembodied
from these
phantom lines

[silent wings]

images that console

today I
remember
the future

[my life is a black box]

decomposing
multiverse born
of a supermassive
black hole

I exist in a
quantum state
ever approaching
an event horizon

you observe me
fixed in the
fabric of spacetime
death mask photograph

relativity commits
its heinous crimes
thieving my life
through an illusion
of immortality

[body bag encasing stardust]

temporal dimension
limits the possible
each choice assembles
molecules of tomorrow

ghost projections of
shattered worlds

[I never know what it means]

causality slips sideways –
on alternating days I die

or write poetry
chords of enduring agony
atoms of memory disfigured
until there is nothing left
but my intimacy with oblivion

[I await the blessed kiss of an immanent being]

Daedalus & His Muse

Olivier de Sagazan

Olivier de Sagazan

for David Chamberlain, Jr.
(inspired by his series of
Labyrinth poems)

here in the wilderness
encountering my fierce nature
thoughts lignify into woodcuts
thousands of barren landscapes
inculcating a melancholic picture

odd trees with finger thin branches
veiled in snow, grasping at the sky
painting blue stars in an empty heaven
I mourn what is irretrievably lost
something raw and enigmatic
written in my cathexis of longing

awash in an inaccessibility of meaning
I writhe sideways like an angry cobra
forming chalk outlines of the labyrinth
liquid mind streaming in slumber
an emulsion of ether, untethered

sands around me shift, amnesiac
creating fragments of identity masks
that reveal dreamtime spent in a desert
chasing my Minotaur shadow

there in the darkness I meet a Seer
who prophesizes my true nature
chained, I walk with two spirits
sorrow and pain expressing
nightshades of unborn ruin

I am merely the center-point
King Theseus of this lost tribe
ragged wanderer in exile
painting symbols in blood
a sediment of iconography
upon the walls of history

until Ariadne arrives like a mirage
finds me in the dreamworld maze
haunting the zero hour, engaged
in games of ritualistic sacrifice
and deftly cauterizes my wound

her sacred arts of magic
secure my inerasable love
offering an orgiastic thread,
triune passport to paradise
a string of beautiful words
creating an utterly pure tale
to reconstruct the mythic life
of my glorious and terrible wings

Wikipedia Commons

Wikipedia Commons

In memoriam for Dave King

‘I am writing a novel
in which no one speaks . . .
every one of my characters
moves like a shadow . . .
As of now, chapters ten,
and to a lesser extent,
maybe, eleven,
seem quite unpenable.’
written by Dave King, excerpts
from WAR AND PEACEfulness

I. Alasdair MacIntyre and Isaiah Berlin will engage in a civilized debate of moral philosophy and value pluralism in the divinely lit library of the hereafter

while it seems improbable
that the two will ever
arrive at the Answer,
hidden within the firestick,

their agreeable natures
ensure a kind exchange
and mutual respect
(as ours did)

II. Postmodern experimentalism encounters a fine intellect and a dashing wit

not only did he meet the bar
he vaulted it rather spryly

III. Anything can happen

unfortunately, it often does
cancerously and suddenly

IV. Stendal, Joyce, Hypatia, Riker, and Woolf toast his life by writing an eternity of allusions

words are like magic,
scintilla, igniting the soul’s spark
Plato’s divine spark longing
to unite with ever more
transcendent forms of beauty

Hypatia approaches the door
only those who’ve transitioned
may enter, opening a gateway,
releasing the fiery cries of seraphs

(I will meet you in the liminal
threshold between your faith
and my fractured metaphysics)

her radical eye encounters his pneuma
perhaps a whisper of which
will live a little here in the poem
as an act of remembrance

V. The consummate performance artist mourns the poet

you walked alongside us
desiring a dream of arctic skies
and ice floes captured in verse

now silk enrobed traces of your artistry
float by, a music, ever passing
as your gentle voice is lost to the wind

Book with Wings by Anselm Kiefer

Book with Wings by Anselm Kiefer

‘The aim of science is to make difficult things understandable
in a simpler way; the aim of poetry is to state simple things
in an incomprehensible way. The two are incompatible.’*

I exist in the abstract vector (impure) space
between the mortal and the divine
within this night of broken glass
where there are no mutually exclusive states

in a profound paradox encapsulated
by a series of spectral lines
superluminal small heavens (within)
embodying the nature of light

restless remnant of a tattered whole
(oracle) of four dimension spacetime notation
carrying a universal wound of broken stories
in my native tongue, mathematics

imaginary world of leaden transformation
an enchanted map leading me on a path
between genius and madness
antimatter colliding in a book with wings

(space & time)/(momentum & energy)
coexisting potential alchemical matrices
uncertain relations in superposition
oscillating ash of solitude and union

*Paul Dirac