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.
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.
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.
Falling stars and misplaced wishes
songbird’s heart and antique dishes
artist’s license, talking fishes-
find them all for sale here.
Continue reading “tread soft, darling”
Sing your heart a lullaby,
tuck it in to sleep
let the world go spinning by,
give up your need to weep.
Continue reading “Sing your heart a lullaby”
What is time with no one to sing it to?
vacant eternity, faceless infinity,
tumbling through cosmos
that murdered divinity.
Continue reading “a day without time”
Cupped hands are full of blood we never drew
Ishmael was the wrong one before he ever took breath, Continue reading “children of guilt”