Tithonus

“It is the burden of life to be many ages

without seeing the end of time.”

–Jim Harrison, From “Seven in the Woods,” in Dead Man’s Float

 

Dawn pursues him–

Play me a song on your lyre.

Look at me! Over here,

I’m a goddess,

be with me, my dear.

I’ll be your wife

and you’ll be granted eternal life.

It will be grand–

we’ll promenade upon the strands

of space and time–

always in our prime,

oh, it’s wonderful to be a god.

Oh, no.

Oops.

Sorry, my mistake.

I was so taken by your beauty–

(remember that time at the lake?)

I forgot to ask that you

be given eternal youth.

A sad truth, I’m afraid,

you’ll have to be brave

to see many ages

without seeing the end of time.

I’m not sure I can bear it—

but I’ll see that you have some care

when I have to lock you up away somewhere. . .

Ah, how we gods suffer

the curse of the divine.

 

A bit of fun this time for Jilly’s 28 Days of Unreason based on Jim Harrison’s poetry. Today is Day 5.

 

 

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Berenice’s Hair: Yeats Challenge, Days 23 and Day 24

This is for Jane’s Yeats Challenge, Day 23 and Day 24.

“…your hair was bound and wound

About the stars and moon and sun::—W.B. Yeats

 

“We know their dream; enough

To know they dreamed and are dead;” —W.B. Yeats 

 

He was away at war, another one

it seemed to happen again and again.

Was it glory, she wondered, or was it fun?

Would he return from battle, if so, when?

And what would happen when it was all done?

Though common worries, this time she’d had a dream

that he was wounded, or no, that he was killed

she woke with a scream, so true it seemed

for all their hopes dashed, left now unfulfilled.

She begged the goddess to spare his life,

and swore in return she’d cut her hair–

for her husband, as his wife,

she’d shear the strands that shone golden in the sunlit air

that flowed like waves of honeyed wheat

a glory recalled by all who saw it there

tumbling to her feet.

Then when her husband returned unharmed and well,

she kept her vow and left her hair at Aphrodite’s altar,

her husband pondered the story she had to tell

and that she never had faltered

and both were first bewildered, then enthralled

to find up in the sky

installed in a constellation

(though unsure why)

her hair swirled and flowed, unbound and wound

in glittering strands of riotous celebration

there far above the smiling moon, a shining crown

a tribute to her sacrifice, done without any hesitation–

though that was not the end of course

of war or force, nor of remorse

for pain and dying

yet still the stars keep flying,

and we, marvel at their beauty, keep sighing.

 

 

NGC_4565

By ESO [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons. “The galaxy pictured here is NGC 4565, which for obvious reasons is also called the Needle Galaxy. First spotted in 1785 by Uranus’ discoverer, Sir William Herschel (1738-1822), this is one of the most famous example of an edge-on spiral galaxy and is located some 30 million light-years away in the constellation Coma Berenices (Berenice’s Hair). It displays a bright yellowish central bulge that juts out above most impressive dust lanes.”

 

 

Immutable Tears

Odilon_Redon_-_Tears_(Les_Pleurs)_-_Google_Art_Project

 

A god deposed /  do the tears flow from your eyes?

Head resting on the ground / sorrow at our parting?

No more adoration/  the heat of passion is now cool indifference, but

Feeling sadness for what will never be/ feeling sadness for what was

Your perspective has changed / you head toward the distant horizon, considering

You look toward clouds charcoal-hued/ stormy-browed

Like dark feathers stealing across the sky / full of thunder

And cry immutable tears/ without hope

 

This is in response to Jane Dougherty’s Poetry Challenge. This week Jane asked us to use the charcoal drawing above (“Tears” by Odilon Redon) and all or some of these words: tears, horizon, fly, hue, stealing. I wrote a cleave poem: each side is a discrete poem, but the two sides can also be read together–so three poems in all.