[of birds*:]

what mighty hero
who ever
kissed the salt eyes of a mother at dawn’s first gold
lifted a joyous child with arms outstretched
to the blue heavens
took the small worn hands of a wife
upon the threshold
within larger, equally worn hands
breathed deep of the oiled
Bithynian curls of a comely youth
taking up arms and sailing for war

what bold warrior
who ever
brought low the bright-gilt effigies of sacred houses
took the livelihood of unknown farmers and shepherds
to sate the hunger of his warband
ground beneath heel the acidwashed curves
of divine marble
tore loose the headbinders and rent
the pale vestments
of other wives
stained the skyturned eyes of temple daughters

what unknown soldier

what conqueror, what brigand, what brother-lover-father-husband, what
bloodeyed wolf
but a man
ungloried, manyfaced, doing
as man does

and what woman left
to bring wine and sacred earth and water
to tend flesh before the pyre

what woman
unruined in all the world

[*title taken from this line of Antigonick, a new translation of Sophokles’ Antigone, by Anne Carson: “to lie unwept and unburied sweet sorrymeat / for the little lusts of birds“]

Photo Credit: Dani_vr Flickr via Compfight cc

One Comment
  1. Love this. The poet is unruined when her lines reverberate with magic. Nature may “collapse” but meaning-in-creation that overflows its banks has power. Brilliant.

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