Thursday, October 30, 2008

Some Sunrise Poem Drafts

"Daybreak" and "Dawn Each Morning" are new drafts, and still very rough (especially the first). The imagery for "Daybreak" is partly influenced by the description of a sacrifice in the Iliad. This isn't the first time I've used the killing metaphor for sunrise; "Matutinal" is an older example of it (this time from hunting rather than animal sacrifice), and, I think, a stronger use of the metaphor. I've added "The Stallions of Sunrise" simply so you won't think I'm all violence when it comes to Aurora.

Daybreak

The heifer is brought from plains of Night;
the smith with tong and hammer gives gold its form
and on the heifer's head shapes golden light,
horns of gold made artful in fires warmed
by sun; and then a fluted bowl is brought,
filled with the lustral waters of the dew;
also to baskets of barley they take thought,
they who gather to make the day anew.
Nearby an axe is ready for the strike,
nearby a golden cup to catch the blood,
the blade now glints, now laughs, upon its pike,
in hope of finer feast than lowly wood.
The king takes some hairs off the heifer's head
and, praying all the while, casts them to flame;
they glow within the hearth, now white, now red,
and vanish into smoke within the same.
Barley grains are sprinkled, the axe is raised--
down now it falls in killing force,
a slicing-down of brilliant-shining blade
unyielding in its path and fatal course.
Nothing can make it stop or stay.
And, at the note and songrise of the lark,
the blade snaps through tough sinew
of the proud neck of the living dark,
and all the world, suddenly renewed,
is bathed in the strong and ruddy light
that from the now-slit heifer's throat
carries off in might the force of night,
pours down, and covers everything in rays.
The lark ends its fatal note,
but new-born is the living day.

Matutinal

In the silent distance I can hear
the tumult of the dogs a-glow;
they bound on clouds and bay.
A shaft shoots swiftly forth
to strike the fleeing beast;
it staggers, stumbles, falls.
The sun leaps up and in smooth stroke
slits the throat of darkness.

Dawn Each Morning

Dawn each morning, blushing bride,
glowing with an inner light,
walks in peace on the sparkling dew;
and though the air is bitter-cold,
the heart is warmed with passion bold
and age-old courage fired anew.

The Stallions of Sunrise

The stallions of sunrise are galloping in the east,
kicking up red glint and gold light,
neighing their welcome to cerulean skies,
hooves stamping, teeth champing, necks arching high.

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