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Just posed this over at the blog

Marsayas, After the Contest

You cut to kill, but I may yet survive
and if I do, you've given me much to consider.
Laid bare to blood-drenched muscle,
every movement, every slight breeze
sears my nerves with fresh pain.

If I die, surely it will be of agony, not injury.

I don't think you will be wearing my hide;
such is undoubtedly well beneath you.
Though perhaps someday I will wear yours:
not in death- for you, there is none
but if someday you shed your skin
like you shed a tear, molting like a snake,
if I should come along at just the right time,
I would seize it up and wrap it around me-
could I then be you, for just a moment
before your essence is lost?

Yes, I am delirious.

You may think me a fool to challenge a god,
but even if I die today, I will be immortal.
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Return

And now, it is time for your return
to your sanctuary high atop this stark-faced mountain
where curls of smoke from burning incense
drift and melt into a veil
and bowls of wine and honey adorn your altar.
I wait in your temple, a hymn on my lips;
a prayer hangs from my tongue,
longing for your presence so that it may fall.
Time stretches, then stands still,
holds its breath in anticipation:
your arrival never comes quickly enough.
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Departing

Moving on again, the stranger glances
back at the edge of town,
studies the sky,
then looks to the horizon.
Absently, he adjusts his cap
and ties his shoelace then rifles through his pack
until he finds what he needs
and tosses it on the ground.
Briefly, he studies this carefully-planned
appearance of carelessness.
Vaguely amused with himself, a ghost of smile
momentarily turns up the corners of his lips.

Movement catches his eye and at the roadside,
he notices a tortoise peeking out from its shell.
He nods, no need to bother this one:
the lyre has already been invented.
And besides, keeping the cattle would only have tied him
to a farm.

Satisfied, he pulls his coat a little tighter around him
and gives one last quick look at the discarded trinket-
an unremarkable key- to what lock, it doesn't much matter.
He hurries away down the road, wanting to be gone from sight-
the recipient of his little present will be along shortly to find it,
will not know yet what it means
or who it's from.
But his target will recognize it for a gift
and follow in search
of the traveler who left it.

(I am also going to post this over at http://almostseen.wordpress.com...time to start making use of that one.)
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I haven't posted any poetry here in quite some time...I put this one up last week at Presque Vu but never put it here. It popped rather randomly into my mind last week, I found it amusing, as did Gavin :-)

An Open Invitation from Tartarus

Dear Sinner,
Won’t you come dwell in my stormy pit,
far below Gaia’s deepest depths?
I have tortures here
you could never imagine
and an eternity in which
to inflict them upon your soul.
My gift to you for your crimes,
and I am most pleased to give it.
Drop in any time, I have a place
already reserved just for you.
No need to call ahead.

In other news, I pulled a muscle in my back the other day or something. The lower right side of my back hurts. It was improving yesterday, but has since gotten more painful again.

Also, I met the folks who were looking for knitting. They gave me some yarn on Friday and I have one scarf made, two in progress. (I'm crocheting one, which I have to keep putting down and picking back up...the yarn in question does not lend itself very well to a lot of chain stitching, but I had gotten too far to just rip it all up when I decided this and so am just working on it a little at a time. Thankfully, chain stitching goes pretty quickly. As soon as I use up the yarn, I'm supposed to give them a call so we can meet, they said they would pay me then and go from there. We'll see how it all works out.

I had an email for a job interview the other day with a staffing company. The place is over a mile's walk from the nearest public transportation. Unfortunately, the job was in-house and while I'd be willing to walk that far for an interview, I would just not be able to take a job that required me walk that far to and from the transportation point- it's up in Sparks and it's winter. One thing to have transportation available and choose to walk that far when it's nice. Whole other ballgame when it's your only choice. And you know, night time out in the middle of nowhere where if anything happened to you, there's a really good chance no one would ever know. So they said they would keep me in mind for future not-in-house positions.
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Earlier today, on the way up top Hunt Valley for some grocery shopping, I started writing a bit, and just now finished (I think)a short poem. I was thinking about depersonalization and the idea that I know it's all real if I touch something and it feels like I expect it to feel.

Well, today I came to the conclusion that the only of the commonly thought of five senses that can really, fairly concretely be trusted with this are touch and taste, because the others can much more easily be tricked or shut off, and they don't require direct contact (okay, so smell actually involves inhaling minute particles of whatever is producing a scent, but let's not get too sciencey here now :-P

So yeah....your eyes can trick you into seeing things that aren't there. Or you can see people on a movie or on TV- they're not really there. And you can close your eyes and turn it off. you don't put things against your eyeball to see them- that would be inconvenient. Similarly, you can hear, or you can think you hear something. You can listen to a recording- but what you're hearing isn't actually there. And you can stick your fingers in your ears to block it all out. And you can smell things, or you can think you smell things- how often do you stop and sniff around because you think you smelled something, only to realize you didn't? And you can turn it off by pinching your nose.

But you can't turn off your skin, and you can't turn off your tongue. They're much harder to trick, so they're a much better gauge of things being real.

And I wrote this:

I am one mind existing
as though inside another
unconvinced of my own reality.
I live, vicarious, through myself;
only touch and taste
as my fragile bridge
the only arguments
I've never been able to
shut down.
I'm here, half a step out of phase,
can't you see I'm fading out of the frame?
If you try to touch me,
you might only catch a handful of air.
Obviously I fake it really well
or you'd have noticed long ago
that I'm translucent.
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[livejournal.com profile] sannion is looking for submissions for Neos Alexandria's upcoming Hekate devotional- the deadline has just been extended to July 30th...here are the details- contact Sannion (info below) if you have any questions!

Em Hotep,

Although we’ve received some great contributions for the Hekate
devotional, we currently do not have enough for a full book. So we are
going to extend the deadline until July 30, 2009.

We can use essays, poetry, accounts of personal experiences, and other
forms of devotional writing. We would like this anthology to reflect
the diversity of ways that the goddess has been understood and
experienced both in antiquity and in contemporary times, so the more
contributions we receive the better!

As with all of our devotional anthologies we cannot provide payment or
contributor copies, since the proceeds will be used for charitable
donations and to help bring out further volumes in the Bibliotheca
Alexandrina line. For more information on our Guidelines and Policies,
please visit this page:

http://neosalexandria.org/BAguidelines.pdf

If you have any further questions, you may contact the editor at
sannion@gmail.com. This is also the address where submissions should
be sent.

Please feel free to distribute this announcement to other lists,
forums, and curious individuals. The more people who know about this
the better chance we’ll have of producing a truly awesome book worthy
of Hekate.
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Lament for Dylan

The sea mourns the beloved child,
endless tides rise and fall, whispering
and screaming a perpetual lament.
The surf on the sand pounding its grief
for the child:

tragically caught by his uncle's spear,
he sank into the waves, consumed
but apart.

The tide lashes and hisses,
the sea vows to avenge the child's death.

The tide turns away in sorrow then slowly
creeps back;
retreating and returning,
it will go on forever
for the loss of the one who
loved the sea so dearly.

The tide swells and recedes in sadness
unending, unthinking.
Memory of the dark child starts to fade
as years slip past.
Vows of vengeance long forgotten,
the sea never ceases to mourn;
Though his face has faded,
the sea remembers the child.

The tide rises and falls
rocking in rhythm unending;
no rest, no tiring as the ages have moved on.
The sea has long forgotten the child
it has mourned for nearly eternity.

Forgotten except for a rare moment
on a foggy grey morning
or a stormy black night-
a whisper of mist
or a splash of rain
will stir the memory
and a face will flicker,
laughing and playing
in the waves
lifetimes ago.
And for a minute, the sea
will recall the beloved child.


(Meandering a bit off of my usual subject matter of Greek gods and myth into Welsh myth, this one was inspired by the death of Dylan Ail Don, speared accidentally by his uncle, Govannon.)
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So the poem from my last post? Who knew it would generate such entertaining reactions?

Posted this poem to a couple of email lists, including one that is devoted to Apollo. Preceding the poem, I explained that it was my interpretation of part of a little-known myth, and I provided a link to the text of that myth, as written in an ode by Pindar. As I said, preceding.

Came home from work this morning and hopped online to find this, er, emotional response (yes, he's serious.):

I wish I had not read this so early in the morning because I am unable to control how upset your poetry has made me. If you were to ever leave a demigod alone in a field I should hope that Hera and Apollo would strike you down as you so deserve by these thoughts. You say you dont know that a demigod would even survive when you leave it in a field. I'm sorry, but you have made me quite ill with that. This would be like Mary leaving Jesus to fend for himself in the stables or something. When in the mythos do any demigods get left to die? Selfish wench. This poem is all selfish undeserving of the gods wench filled horridities! thumbs down.


Following that was yet another response:

i'd like to add, that in Hellenism, the general idea is that the Gods cannot reveal their true selves to us in physical form, as is detailed in the story of Dionysos birth, when his mother was killed when Hera convinced her that she had to see Zeus true form to believe he was who he said he was. She instantly was burned to nothingness. Further, how can you say that you would not love him?

"How could I not have loved the beautiful god"

???

"A son I would have loved, but for shame cannot keep."

I agree with Syd, how could you feel shame for giving birth to a demi-god, what could be more joyous, especially for a Hellenist.

"In this field of violets, surrounded by honeybees, I'll lay him down."

Isn't Pan the God of bees? Isn't that kinda bizarre to leave a child in a swarm of bees? Especially when its a demi god? Sounds like a good way to piss off the Gods if you ask me.


Okay....clearly someone missed the part about it being from a myth and the link to the original story (which, by the way, I didn't stray far from, only wrote from a first person perspective and took the liberties of giving this nymph a few thoughts of her own) and jumped to the conclusion that Apollo walked bodily into my room, had his way with me and got me knocked up. Additionally, I bore the child and then took him to a nice patch of wilderness and plunked him down in a field and let bees eat him, and walked away.

Later, when I posted to "clarify" that I was simply retelling part of a myth, and cited the entire ode containing the story- pertinent bits highlighted, I got a response from the second guy admitting his mistake...

But the first guy? Flat out said that he completely skipped the part where I said t was a myth and provided the link to the myth,"apologized slightly" for the critique, but still basically said that I deserved it for such "horrific horridities" that have spewed forth from my fingertips.

I asked him if he's now insulting Pindar's ghost thusly for telling the story in the first place.

Dude, I don't really give a rip if you don't like my poetry, but I think we've taken this one a wee bit far.

Of course, I think it's hilarious that these two guys think I'm so special as to have gotten knocked up by Apollo and killed his kid.
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This is a departure from my usual writings of ridiculously personal, intense sort of things or the various Homeric-style hymns that I've been writing for a while. I first tried to write this poem probably about a year ago, but in a different form...and it just wouldn't write.

Well, today, it did. This is from the myth of Evadne, a nymph who loved Apollo. As you can probably guess from the title, this isn't the complete story (I posted the story, from Pindar's 6th Olympic Ode on my blog http://painandlight.wordpress.com/2009/03/31/in-reference-to-my-previous-post/

Evadne, Unknowing of Alpheios's Consultation of the Delphic Oracle

How could I not have loved the beautiful god
whose hair and skin are like gold
and whose eyes burn a cool fire?

He spoke to me in a voice so sweet,
words flowed from his tongue like silk.
And the songs he sang, so lovely, surely the Muses
must weep at their beauty.

(And I few, I think, would elicit a blush
even from Erato herself, though this is never mentioned
in the stories they tell of a god such as He.
It wouldn't be proper.)

And when he desired for me to come with him to his bed,
he promised me no great gifts of unerring prophecy or any
dazzling trinkets that gods may offer in the moment of seduction,
but I had no care for these anyway;
He but asked and I went willing, for a song,
for one night that has burned itself on my soul.

In time I found that one night had left its mark
upon more than my soul, and soon I was to have a child.
A son I would have loved, but for shame cannot keep.
If I told, none would believe that he was
begotten by a god.

Four days past, in a hidden thicket I lay,
pangs of the birth like no pain I've ever felt before.
He sent to my side help, the birth-goddess and the Fates.
When it ended, I cried in relief, and I cried in joy, short-lived
and love for the child, so small, now in my arms.

It is with great anguish I chose to do this thing.
I don't know how I will live with it, I'll worry about that later.
If I think twice now, I'll turn back.

In this field of violets, surrounded by honeybees, I'll lay him down.
I'll walk away, and I won't look back.
No doubt he will perish, but I will pray for a miracle and try to forget
this child of mine and of the god of light.

One night that has burned itself upon my soul
Now has torn my heart in two.
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(I've only been trying for a year and a half to write one to him.)

I begin to sing of manic, roaring Dionysus who holds Delphi in The Shining One's Hyperborean absence.

In the cold winter months, you come bringing your wine and wild abandon. You inspire your followers, by night, to give themselves over to liberation in the hands of intoxication. The aged nectar of your sweet grapes drives them to raging in forests, fields and hillsides to touch unspeakable mysteries which none but you can reveal.

You break the bounds between mortality and immortality: torn to pieces by the Titans, you have crossed the threshold at the end to return again to the beginning. Shattering more boundaries, you ventured to the dead in search of Semele, slain by the true face of Zeus and brought her back to Olympus: Thyone, your mother, immortalized.

Clad in skins and bearing torches, your worshipers dance in whirling frenzy. The reveling horde gains momentum and spurs itself on through the night with you at its core, a spectacle of madness in orbit around the lord of ecstasy.

Hail to you, god of freedom! I pray that you be generous with your blessings!
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I will sing of the earth-shaking Poseidon, son of Cronus, brother of Thundering Zeus. Dark-haired mighty land-rumbler, your quakes cause the mountains to be born, their jagged new peaks thrusting towards the sky while old ones shatter and fall. Great Lord of the sea which dashes against rocky cliffs and laps the sandy shore, your strength can crush a ship to splinters or cradle it upon your rolling waves.

It is in your honor that voyagers make sacrifice, that you may protect them as they cross your vast expanses and with your blessings, colonists sent forth by the Far-Shooter may reach new lands unharmed.

Hail to you, Poseidon, who rules the harsh and gentle seas! I pray that you will grant honor to my song.



Just wrote this one today. It's been a while since I wrote one of these. I've got a decent start on one for Dionysus too I think.
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This is just a fragment...not sure if I'm going to add to it or no, I kinda like it as-is...I started writing more to it, but it ended up not working out as I thought it would.

Bleed me dry,
I am damaged again.
Oh God of My Nightmares,
This time you've done it-
ripped the pain out. Painfully.
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I am tired, I am dazed.
I am delerious, I am in pain.
These ties that bind my wrists
eat the flesh raw;

but shoot another arrow into my heart,
go ahead, drive another point
straight through my core

and when you’re finished, peel
back my skin layer by layer
until my skin is no more.

I shudder to think about it,
but your torture is comfort.

I won’t be going anywhere, don’t worry.
I don’t have the strength to think about escape,
and escape is not what I need.
Or want.

So it’s a good thing
these ties that bind my wrists
will hold me up.
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I've been rather crazily inspired to write a bunch of poetry in the last week or so it seems, of an OMGWTFBBQ!!!1111oneeleven ridiculously personal-devotional nature for Apollo. They've just been appearing in my brain wholecloth, or with little to no effort. I think I've finished five so far and I've got several partials sitting here. It's kinda crazy, but now that I've got an idea of what's going on...I'm just going to go with it as it rolls in.
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My trust, you demand
repeatedly, constantly
Don't you know this hurts?
What do you want from me anyway?
Don't you know I follow you willingly?
I sometimes wonder if there's
something wrong with me,
that I let it go so far
and why I have no desire for it to end.
But your beauty is my incentive
and your touch burns, sublime.
The slice of your blade across my skin
is so familiar now
though the shock never wears off completely
and terror is new every time.
I know you know this hurts.
Now I know what you want from me.
And I know you know I follow you.
Willingly.
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Oh ancient face of idealized youth,
I've seen what lies beyond your
marble shell,
scarred perfection,
horrifying beauty,
comforting terror
of depths which I can barely
begin to conceive the vaguest iota
you protect the would-be victim
from your own destruction.

In you, contradiction contradicts no more.
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I come to you broken.
I come to you damaged,
cut and scarred by your own doing.
What will you?
Why do you do this to me?
Why do you call me?
Why do you hold me, claws digging deep
into my flesh?
You are the enigma.
You are the dream.
You are the nightmare.
You make me scream
in pain
and tremble with fear.
But you pull me to you
and hold me with an iron velvet grip
which I have no desire to escape.
You've given me freedom
(or the illusion of it).
All I want is to know
what lies in front of me.
But you tell me nothing.
And I only wait.
And follow.
You try my trust.
You lead me blind.
Your gentle touch burns.
Your cruel cut heals.
I bleed by your hand
and rest on your stained altar.
I, a crumpled heap, can barely crawl.
You gave me wings.
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I wrote this one today for the upcoming grove ritual this weekend.

Sing sweet-voiced Muse of the owl-eyed goddess,
Most skilled weaver of splendid tapestries,
Favored daughter of Zeus, you triumphed over Poseidon
to hold the city of Athens and the right to its name.
Your gift of olive trees to mankind is unmatched,
its uses countless.
Goddess of strength, savior, defender,
Sharp-eyed keeper of the city
Under your protection, citizens flourish
and warriors are victorious in battle.
Hail to Athena, glorious goddess!
I will remember you and another song as well.
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Not bad for less than an hour's work, I think... :-)

The last moments of night pass in stillness,
all is calm in the darkest hour.
The world, asleep, save those who stir
under the star-dotted cloak of Nyx

The moments slip away unnoticed as the brightest star
ascends the heavens:
Eosphoros, herald of the dawn begins to climb
and the grey wolf-light, twilight of morning
breaks on the horizon.

In the morning-star's wake,
a sliver of red light breaks the grey,
reaches higher, red becoming rosy, then golden;
Eos, light-bringer, flies forth,
borne on dawn's wings from the river Okeanos.

The eastern horizon brightens as the dark cloak of night fades;
Stars lay to rest, washed out by the waking day.

Now following the far-reaching fingers of dawn,
four white stallions on fire-wings venture forth
racing acrosss the sky, trailed by a golden chariot.
Purple-clad Helios, eyes flashing, brilliant-crowned
drives his team through the day's hours
bringing light to the Earth.

They fly higher, growing brighter,
now riding at their course's peak,
now slowly beginning the descent as the light fades
sinking to the realm of the Hesperides
in the far western reaches
of the vast river encircling the earth

Nyx begins again to traverse the sky,
star-cloaked woman, night-winged bird
slips silently from the east
as golden light deepends to red and falls from sight

Trailing the edge of darkness, a silver glow takes flight
Moon-crowned Selene, drawn by winged oxen sails silently
amidst the stars, casting pale rays down at the shadowed earth,
pauses in her travels to steal a kiss from sleeping Endymion,
then begins her slow decline
as the last moments of night pass in stillness,
all is calm in the darkest hour.
The world, asleep, save those who stir
under the star-dotted cloak of Nyx

The moments slip away unnoticed as the brightest star
ascends the heavens:
Eosphoros, herald of the dawn begins to climb
and the grey wolf-light, twilight of morning
breaks on the horizon.

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