This poem is entirely composed of direct quotations from Aeschylus’ Agamemnon (utilizing the Robert Fagles translation*), and contains quotations referring to each of the four major female characters: Helen, Clytemnestra, Cassandra, and Iphigenia.
* * * *
A wild creature, fresh caught-
She must learn to take the cutting bridle.
She left her land chaos; strode through the gates defiant
Bride of spears, a bride of tears, a fury
Whirled her wedding on to a stabbing end.
Her beauty hurts her lord, the bridle chokes her voice.
She strains to call their names, her glance like arrows showering.
She is the lioness. What outrage- the woman kills the man!
That detestable hell-hound, monster of Greece – girl of tears.
A beast to the altar driven on by god.
*Aeschylus. The Oresteia. Translated by Robert Fagles, Penguin Classics, 1977.
The black leaves are sharp against the sky, and that is more important than most things I will do today. So is the way the sky softens over the glowing mountains, a gentle dusk. There is something vast and sharp and a little sweet here, something that tastes like bladed poems do. It is out of reach. There is something there, but the sky is untouchable, and the day rolls out instead in a long dull road of dishes and notepaper and forgotten coats.
It is all beautiful and unfurling,
it is only that there are so many layers of petals to breath through
and they are all twining and curling
quite bluntly through my lungs.
I am sure it is quite all right,
if I can only take deep breaths and move more slowly
and remember it does no good to fight
stray thorns that trellis up my heart.
The world is interlocking,
detail building on detail like petals on a rose
all of it in motion like swallows flocking
in shifting perfect patterns across the sky.
Sit very still in the center
or a corner; it is the same place for you.
Be quiet. Your heart lies still as the naked winter.
The whole sky folds in fractal blooms.
Fold the sky into a crane
cradled in cupped hands
tired cars creep down their lane
scraping snow dark bands.
May-fly snowflakes dance the wind –
students, scarfed, scuff by.
And at the board (your prayers please send!)
prop’s bloody end draws nigh.
Edmund Pevensie: brother, bully, traitor. Aslan died for his betrayal. Always my least favorite of the Pevensie kids, always the one I was a little uncomfortable with. Who likes Edmund, after all? The bitter tang of his betrayal carries over through the Narnia saga. But today I want to talk about Edmund of C. S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in relation to his siblings – Edmund and Lucy, the first two Pevensies into the wardrobe; Edmund and Peter, the fraught relationship of brothers. Let’s talk about that long, gloomy hall where a boy stood and gave away his siblings for the promise of candy and a crown.
Continue reading “Words Snarled or Swallowed Back: Exploring Edmund Pevensie”
What the writer says:
Wakeful here, we trespass!
Wakeful here, we walk a foreign world
pale-sky palace built not for us
best left to bloodless voices
warmthless wakeful wind-sprites
screaming down their waste.
What the writer means:
I’m COLD and TIRED and I want to be HIBERNATING.
When the first leaves change color, call the herds in from the fields. Stable your horses, corral your cattle, bring dogs and cats and goats and stray children inside. When the valley is striped with fire and golden drifts spread across the fields, the dragons come.
Continue reading “autumn winds”
I’ve been here before. You’ll make it safe through the woods if you stay on the path, that’s the rule, but there was never a path here in the first place. Dark branches tangle overhead and the trees are different this time around but the shadows are the same, thick and cloying and very very quiet. Continue reading “Red Riding Hood, lost”