Archives for posts with tag: mythology

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SONG OF ODYSSEUS TO PENELOPE
by Greg Patrick

Vision of beauty behind green eyes do not yearn for the land over the sea with the
greenest green eyes for eyes that would look over seas for you yearning with a
depth deeper than the ocean. As one looks into them to see the summer sky and
sea. The brightness of the surface seems to reflect the
depth of your eyes. As great as the bright beauty seen on the surface as the
sun sets over the western sea and the night never felt darker nor you farther.
The brightness of the surface like an indication of the
depth of the eyes. Gaze reflected their admirer like a nomad’s face in an
oasis or sequestered tidepool of dream. A sigh to the last light of the setting sun of summer
a wordless interpretation of your name.
If there is a man in the moon as they say then all the starlight is in one woman’s eyes, a more radiant light than the stars
under the skies and when you sing only then it escapes the solace of darkness and of dreamscapes only the derelicts seek such
surreal highs. A sigh to the horizon after a distant sail or plane leaving away like a prayer to an
angel distant as a stars brightness darkened by the city lights after abandoned
on the shore. Eyes worthy of the person, a gaze
startlingly and impossibly green. Voluminous as the shelves it would take to do
justice in words yet understated. Their fathomless depth that of the Irish Sea, yet more so.

IMAGE: “Penelope” by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1869).

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A dual-citizen of Ireland and the States, Greg Patrick is an Irish/Armenian traveler poet and the son of a Navy enlisted man. He is also a former Humanitarian aid worker who worked with great horses for years and loves the wilds of Connemara and Galway in the rain where he’s written many stories. Greg spent his youth in the South Pacific and Europe and currently resides in Galway, Ireland, and sometimes the U.S.

 

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Ask & Embla
by Emily Shearer

Ask and Embla dangled their legs
off the side of Patton Park pool,
wishing for what a watermelon could do
to a dizzying summer day.
Embla made fire from a gaze.
Ask lit the butt of a cigarette he found
near the diving boards.
He cleared his rasp, preparing
to utter the first words ever spoken:

“What’s for dinner?”

Then, “So Odin smokes Pall Malls?”
(more of a statement than a question)
And, “Watermelon?”

He liked the unfiltered taste on his lips,
the echo of questions on the back of his throat,
their trill reverberating across the endless blue gloss.

Embla watched a whitening butterfly.
She wanted to know when the ocean
would roil up outside the shell of her body
When gravity would release its stronghold
When the orange trees completed their cycle
would they yield thought or memory.

Ask interrupted her.

“Woman, what to eat?”

She rose, dipped her feet in the water,
baptized herself in the chlorine,
and waited for the transformation.

EDITOR’S NOTE: In Norse mythology, Ask and Embla—male and female respectively—were the first two humans, created by the gods.

IMAGE: “Fairy Lake” by Martiros Saryan (1905).

shearer

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Emily Shearer lives, writes, and teaches yoga in Prague, Czech Republic, with her husband and three children. Her poetry has been published in ROAR, Quail Bell Press, about place journal (forthcoming), literarymama.com, writing the whirlwind, Mercury Retrograde (from Kattywhompus Press), and Minerva Rising, where she is the poetry editor. You can read more of her work and view her photo albums at lineupyourducks.com.

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AFTER THE SHOE FIT
by Molly Meacham

Mother, their fingers press soot
into my skin.

I dream of lentils in ashes,
of dress-blooming trees in graveyards,
of pigeons sacrificed, split, and read.

I sit by the hearth,
smoke, sift through the cinders.
I think of selling organic dresses,
of performing pumpkin-to-carriage tricks.
It is not enough to sing by windowsills,
to water your grave with salt.

I am an elegant ex-maid:
pink dishpan hands, cracked fingertips
gloved to the elbow for satin touch.
He took the covered hand in marriage.
My fingers ache in sleep—
the sting of soap on stone.

He is so charming that I must scour
for each long blond straw
that has swept our bedroom floor.
He wears gold cufflinks
and the most elegant apron strings
around his neck.

My shoes have cracked like any cheap window
under the body of a woman.

He made me a book.
He made my spine ache.
I am painted—so many formal portraits
with flowers and birds framed by gold.
I am a precious heaviness
hanging in air.

I want to fall from his hands.
I want the pumpkin
to crack. I want his hands
to pull me out still kicking.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I do look to fairy tales and mythology because there is a great deal of nostalgia for me, but I am bothered when I look at the myths and stories I enjoyed as a child. Part of me feels like I want to explore how I would feel as these characters. I predominately choose female voices and free verse, but I will vary from time to time.

IMAGE: “Cinderella” by Edward Burne-Jones (1863).

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Molly Meacham is a writer and performer. She has featured in Germany twice with the Speak’Easy Ensemble directed by Marc Smith. She is a writing and performing member of the Chicago Slam Works House Ensemble. She has had poems published with journals including Anderbo.com, The Foundling Review, The New Verse News, and Right Hand Pointing. She co-edited Write Bloody’s Learn Then Burn Teachers Edition. She teaches in a Chicago Public School the rest of her time.

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from Wine this Whimsy
by A.J. Huffman

Three glasses of Merlot
and a monotonous conversation
of irrelevancies drove me outside.
I needed the air and the moonlight
to cleanse me, regress me
back to innocence. As I stood
looking up at a pallid crescent,
I began believing that mythical
childhood cow had the right idea.
I suddenly just knew that
in more practical shoes, I too
could jump over the moon.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  A.J. Huffman has published nine solo chapbooks and one joint chapbook through various small presses. She also has two new full-length poetry collections forthcoming, Another Blood Jet (Eldritch Press) and A Few Bullets Short of Home (mgv2>publishing). She is a Pushcart Prize nominee, and her poetry, fiction, and haiku have appeared in hundreds of national and international journals, including Labletter, The James Dickey Review, Bone Orchard, EgoPHobia, Kritya, and Offerta Speciale, in which her work appeared in both English and Italian translation. She is also the founding editor of Kind of a Hurricane Press.www.kindofahurricanepress.com.

IMAGE: “Moonshine” by Paul Klee (1879-1940).

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The Shaman Meets with the Man in the Moon
by Joseph Murphy

I grasp rungs of light ascending from a lilac’s bud.

Passing the seven-colored mountain’s peak,
I draw a dreamer’s fingers from my drum’s skin:
Through them,
Reach the final rung.

Guided by my ancestors’ marks, I step
Through a maze
As others would a stream.

One of my spirits hisses free before The Gate of Bones.

The bolts groan beneath that spirit’s bloodied fins:
Hinges splinter;
The dark’s gnarled echo
Recedes.

I pass through and perch on a spoke of light.

The Man in the Moon greets me;
Offers a silken thread
Linked to all the souls I am to return
To body and breath.

When I take it in my beak, I awake
In a pine’s topmost limbs
Knowing the fullness
Of my fate.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: After reading Mircea Eliade’s Shamanism, I became fascinated with the subject and a wrote a series poems on various aspects of it, in the first person, trying to imagine the world though a shaman’s eyes.

IMAGE: “Fire, Full Moon” by Paul Klee (1933).

Joe Pix

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joseph Murphy has had poetry published in a number of journals, including The Gray Sparrow, Pure Francis, and The Sugar House Review. He is also been a poetry editor for an online publication, Halfway Down the Stairs, since 2009.

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ROSE RED
by Patrick T. Reardon

I answer the door. The bear is there. He says, “Fear not.”
He is cold and wants a fire to sit by.
In he comes.

Snow White raises her eyebrow as we brush the snow off his fur.
We play with him. We tickle him. We cover his eyes with our small hands.

He leaves in the morning.

And comes back each night during that long winter.
Mother likes him.

“I must go away,” he says in summer. “A wicked dwarf is trying to steal my treasure.”

Some days later, my sister and I find the dwarf caught in a tree by his beard.
We cut the beard and free him. “My beautiful beard!” he yells.

All summer, we find the dwarf in one danger or another in the forest and save him.
He is always angry with us.

Now, he tells us the bear is going to kill him.

The bear appears.
The dwarf says,
“Eat the girls!”

The bear kills the dwarf with a single swipe of his claw.

Snow White raises her eyebrow as the bear turns
away.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The Rose Red and Snow White story is one of nearly 300 legends and folktales in the original two-volume edition of the fairytale collection by the Brothers Grimm, published in the early 19th century. Anyone familiar with the story will notice some liberties I’ve taken with the tale, especially with its ending. The Snow White of this tale, by the way, isn’t the one of the Disney movie. That Snow White is in another story.

IMAGE: “The Little Rose of Lyme Regis” by James McNeill Whistler (1895).

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patrick T. Reardon is the author of five books. His “Open Letter to the Archbishop-Elect” was recently published in the National Catholic Reporter and Crain’s Chicago Business. He writes frequently for the Catholic magazine Reality in Ireland.

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SOMETHING ABOUT LOVE
by Jennifer A. McGowan

She had the smallest waist,
so how the queen could lace her tighter
taught us a lot about hate.
My brother dwarfs unlaced her,
but not before my breath also stopped.

She had the cleanest hair,
and it shone—a hundred brush-strokes
every night. When the queen
gave her the poisoned comb,
it told us a lot about envy.
My brothers washed her in wine
and she gasped, but not before
my limbs also grew heavy.

She had the sweetest breath,
so we didn’t know about the apple
till the prince persuaded us
he knew more about love,
and we let her go.

At Christmas now,
an owl brings me bright ribbons.
A raven, a lock of hair.
A dove, sweet fruits.
I chase dust-bunnies. My brothers
work to craft her children toys.

Because of what we learned
there is no bitterness.
Because of what we saw
there is no sorrow.
We are simple men,
but we do know something
about love.

SOURCE: First published in Focus

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I am interested in the liminal and the unvoiced; hence the dwarfs in Snow White. Myth has been my playground since a very early age: one of the first books I remember having and cherishing was a book of mythology, with Bellerophon and Pegasus on the cover. Inspiration comes to me in a voice, a ghost, or a phrase, which I then race to capture.

IMAGE: “Symphony in White No. 10” by James McNeill Whistler (1862).

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jennifer A. McGowan and obtained her MA and PhD from the University of Wales. Despite being certified as disabled at age 16 with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, she has persevered and has published poetry and prose in many magazines and anthologies on both sides of the Atlantic. She won the Geoff Stevens Memorial Prize 2014, as a result of which her first full-length collection, The Weight of Coming Home, will be published in 2015 by Indigo Dreams Publishing. She has also been Highly Commended in the prestigious Torbay Poetry Competition and the Manchester Cathedral Poetry Competition. Life in Captivity and Sounding, her pamphlets, are available through Finishing Line Press. Her website, with more poetry and examples of her mediaeval calligraphy, can be found at jenniferamcgowan.com and handwritten versions of her poems can be purchased at handwrittenpoems.co.uk.

icarus
ANSWERING THE WHISPERINGS OF ICARUS
by Fox B. Barrett

I always fly again in ecstasy,

Then forget that my wings
will melt
When I get to what I desire.

The temptation to fly higher
I can’t resist

Because caution and care
Set me to fail.

I watch for ways to change,

I challenge
But every time,

The sun whispers my name,
I answer.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:  The story of Icarus has always resonated for me. We all fly too close to our destruction in search of desires that reside in our hearts, but some of us fall from the sky more often than the rest.

IMAGE: “Icarus,” jointed paperdoll by Five and Nineteen, available at etsy.com.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Fox B. Barrett is a native Minnesotan and Twitter addict specializing in poetry, scifi, erotica, and horror genres. Barrett is also a burlesque performer, drag king, bicycle activist, and triathlete. Find Barrett on WordPress at http://wherefoxesimagine.wordpress.com

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FATHER, SON
by F.X. LaChapelle

A father wanted by son
moments lost among years.
Memory reduces to one
a last chance to be near.
I’m flying into the sun
with me his torment remade.
I know too well what we’ve done
this penance can’t be delayed.

But childhood won’t be redone
youth needs only the dear.
Prisoners of the same sun
and neither more than they fear.
Daedalus and Icarus but one
in the light all he evades.
The only way back, the son
falling in to forgive a shade.

IMAGE: “Daedalus and Icarus” [detail] by Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641).

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: F.X. LaChapelle lives in Anchorage, Alaska. He received his MA from Stanford University as a National Science Graduate Research Fellow. His poems have appeared in DMQ Review, Blue Skirt Productions, and in an forthcoming Anthology by Blue Skirt Press. Visit him on tumblr.

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LIKE PERSEPHONE
by Alison Noble

Like Persephone, I await the end of winter; release will come,
     Release will come,
But so must my return.

     Persephone no longer asks
Predictions from some dreaded seer,
     Nor cares what will or will not come to pass; prophecies
Are sought by those who still have need to hope and cause to fear.
     She knows the cycle simply turns; imprisonment
Release, return. Unanswered prayers, which, like thieves
     Steal reckless vows from mortal lips, melt in acquiescent tears,
And words lie mute upon the ground like crumpled leaves.
     As beads on an abacus,
Six fatal seeds, sweet crimson red,
     Count months of dark captivity,
The food of the other, the food of the dead!
     Unknowing of its power, I also did partake
Of seeds from a strange, subterranean place; now my spirit is bound
By knowledge of hidden unearthly things;
     Now there is no full return to the world above ground.

     The underworld seems quiet, gentle, still,
And yet the harshest order rules;
     Restricts, constrains, defines; allows no self deceptions,
Removes all distractions from the reach of worldly fools.
     How endless labyrinths and tales of dark descent
Weary the heart! But to none dare I make this confession;
     That these dull teachings I would unlearn
For all the chaos of one ephemeral passion.

     But in this life under life, all rapture dies
In shades of grey and muted sound,
     Though the shadows and whispers of memory
Are all too clear in the world below ground.
     There, mirrors hold captive broken love, pictures frozen in regret,
On its blank walls are scrawled the cruellest words, said or left unsaid.
     Perhaps my skin was just too worn and pale?
Or the pomegranate stained my lips too red?

     So now I walk between two worlds,
Not quite envious of the one, nor wholly fearful of the other.
     In the world below I mourn all which is half lost to me;
Sunlight, storms, movement, colour.
     But in the world above the constant clamour hurts my ears
And most ordinary things most puzzle my eyes,
     Forming themselves into alien scenes, harsh, but vaporous as dreams;
Here, I feel displaced; unsafe, I wear protective guise.

     Sad priestess still performs her solemn duties for the dead,
The cycle turns; the die is already cast.
     As the oracle told Persephone once:
“Your future belongs to your past.”
     Is this why autumn yields no harvest?
Its fruits are always spoilt by rain.
     Cold, bereft, I waited, wept,
Then steeled myself to wait again.

Like Persephone, I await the end of winter; release will come,
     Release will come,
But so must my return.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I feel myth can often be a poetic rendering of spiritual experience. Myths can give depth and substance to our personal stories and conversely our own experience gives myth more meaning. Amongst others, I became and remain fascinated by the Persephone and Demeter myth. Persephone has a foot in both worlds but does not quite belong to either. Of course, this describes the wounded healer, the shaman, but this could apply to any experience which prevents re-entry into the world of ordinary reality. This is the background to my poem. There is an obvious interplay between Persephone’s fate of having to move back and forth from one world to another and that of the narrator’s sense of displacement and alienation.

IMAGE: “The Return of Persephone” by Frederic Leighton (1830-1896).

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Alison Noble studied English and French literature for her degree, tutored poetry at the University of Singapore, and gave evening classes on the novels and poetry of Thomas Hardy at Stirling University. A long period of chronic ill health prevented full-time employment, but the very isolation that resulted from it gave rise to a period of creativity. For the last 20 years, she has divided her time between her home in Scotland and Arizona, USA. Her friendships and travels with Native American people, and others, furthered her interest in pagan spirituality and shamanism.