Sunday, August 23, 2009

Three Poem Drafts and a Re-Draft

Things continue to be quiet around here as I prepare for the new term. The re-draft is the third, which is based on Euripides, of course. It still needs work, but I write a good Medea, I think.

Faith, Hope, and Love

A splendid bird
winging homeward
shines in the sun;
home is in him--
it guides him long miles
to a high eyrie,
the very fire
born of the sun's light,
the heart of life.


Somewhere in infinity
the numbers flow beyond our minds;
at some point in eternity
are thoughts that free and ties that bind.
But here on earth with you, with me,
the simple things still bear a trace
of weird and wild divinity,
of backward glimpses of God's face,
and we may of this goodness taste:
your sighs are charms of ecstasy,
my poems Christian witchery,
and 'tween us both the world may find
a thread that God alone can wind.


Sit astride the starlit dome,
speak the words of ancient tales
that make the skies our rightful home
seen fitfully through the gloaming veils.
The stars for our chariot never fail;
their paces show their stock and blood,
more fair, divine, and purely good
than elfling gods in silver mail.

As I walked this twilight wood
I saw the stars and understood
that men who on the earth still roam
will face the force of storm and gale,
but stars yet shine on sand and loam
as tales are told; thus all is well.

Medea to Jason

I saved your life; they saw me save it
who stood on the Argos-decks and saw
the ships come rushing like sea-gull's flight
with spray of the sea and sign of the sun,
bearing down on you like morning light.
My dearest brother, my father's son,
who in the sunlit gardens had played,
my dearest kin, my sweetest soul, --
with the bronze at my side I gave him the night,
I sent him to darkness of death and of sea.
As his blood licked the foam and lept on the wave,
spreading on current like wind-blown fog,
I saved your life. They saw me save it
when you sowed the seed of the dragon's teeth,
when the gods were against you, and without friend
you wandered, but I was good to you,
and I, half-crazed with love for you,
saved your life in spite of the gods.
Now all of these years in a little box
as a little wife in a little town
my blood I've hid out of love for you,
my divinity hot with the heat of the sun,
my fire and fierceness, to be your wife,
to be a Greek; and for endless days
I bore the trial of name and despite--
barbarian! witch! vile of blood! --
I, who am kin of the holy sun! --
the names out of love I patiently bore,
and I bore the yoke, and I bore your sons,
for I was yours and you were mine,
your heart a trade for blood divine!
Until the day when your Hellene whore,
with her simpering ways and sluggish blood,
came calling and you crept away,
a worm, a snake, after lesser things,
who had had to bed the kin of the gods.
Then you hid yourself and your slimy sin
behind the faces of our sweetest sons;
'to free them from the stigma of blood' --
the stigma of me -- such a sun-bright sin,
to be a princess of a foreign land
where the god once wooed a Phoenician maid
who bore my father, a gold-rich king.
Such shame! How dare I, like a god to them,
live at all, when every Hellene born
by a simpering brat can better me!
Steal my life, and steal my soul,
and steal my sons to sate your sin,
and you will see, in a biting light,
in a fire that only the sun-born can light,
then you will see, like a burst dawn,
what it is that you stole, and in despair
you will rue the day your mother bore,
you will rue the light, you will rue the day,
you will rue the sun that makes you see,
and weep in the morning at dawning light!
For I am Medea; call me a witch,
a barbarian-slut, and curse my name,
but never again as the sun survives
will you stray from me in your slightest thought,
or cast me aside, or take me for nought;
for as long as you live, and wherever you go,
this pain will sear your inmost soul.

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