Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Asteria

ireland's fangorn



Asteria


All sun's length she sits
nested high in the world tree
alone, surrounded by
the howling, blue
painted greenwitch
oracle of the ward songs
in her iceglass
barelimb chapel
keeping vigil.
 
At night when the moon
hangs heavy and hunger
sings to the tides,
she flirts her feathers down to
probe the chambered nautilus
and fetch the glitterfish
called to her
rattling net hung
with bone charms.

She's felt his questions
pressing on her
all day so heavy
the singing
so heavy for something
made of air
the sword unsheathed 
so red cutting from
the southern ocean’s rim.

She can hear him reading
from the old gods’ psalter
feel the sigh as the pages
slip to almost dawn,
till he finds
the leaf forgotten,
the star fallen
just before
the world ends
and the kingfisher flies.


June 2011
revised August 2011 


Asteria was the name given, variously to: " the Titan of nocturnal oracles and falling stars," and mother of Hecate, "the ninth Amazon killed by Herakles when he came for Hippolyte's girdle,"  "one of the Danaids...who, with one exception, murdered their husbands on their wedding nights.." and "..one of the Alkyonides [who, after Herakles slew their father] along with her sisters...flung herself into the sea and was transformed into a kingfisher.."  ~wikipedia 

All in all, a name with plenty of room for poetic interpretation. 

Posted for   OpenLinkNIght   at dVersePoets

Note: Having back problems, so I've posted an old one tonight, and may not be able to do any visiting, but will try to as soon as my body cooperates. I just couldn't miss the one year anniversary party. Thanks, Brian, for linking me in.



Image: ireland's fangorn(Yew woodlands at the Killarney National Park, which is located beside the town of Killarney, County Kerry, Ireland,) by Justin Gaurav Murgai
Shared under a Creative Commons 2.0 Generic License

33 comments:

  1. Seems alot the somethings made of air cut the deepest and mean the least.

    ReplyDelete
  2. dont sweat the visiting hedge....do take care of yourself..cant do witha busted up hedge you know...never know who might creap into the yard...smiles...

    really love your language, particularly in description...iceglass
    barelimb chapel...that is hot, it set the mood through the surrounding and i love stuff like that....

    small touches lik ethe sighs of the pages in that last stanza....good stuff...get well.

    ReplyDelete
  3. At night when the moon
    hangs heavy and hunger
    sings to the tides,

    great lines .... loved the poem

    ReplyDelete
  4. heal the back, wish I could rest mine, ice pick between my shoulder blades radiating down my arm. Make typing all day fun.

    great piece!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I am glad for the note as I was experiencing deja vu. I'm very sorry to hear about your back, I empathize, and hope you are well soon. Thank you for all you've done to help make dVerse the best place on the web for poetry. Your work is a shining example of what poetry can do.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I hope you feel better soon. Rest up. An old one but a good one :) best wishes.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Especially love the lines where hunger sings to the tides. Beautiful writing as always

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hope you get well soon. Admire and adore your use of words and phrasing, the mysticism carries me away once more. Thank you, and double thanks for all of your support and encouragement via dVerse.

    ReplyDelete
  9. One of the best poems ever, you beautiful writer of magic and song.


    These are my favorite parts:

    "All sun's length she sits
    nested high in the world tree
    alone"

    "oracle of the ward songs
    in her iceglass"

    "barelimb chapel
    keeping vigil"

    "she flirts her feathers down to
    probe the chambered nautilus
    and fetch the glitterfish"

    "hung
    with bone charms"

    "She's felt his questions
    pressing on her" ... I love this transition.

    "feel the sigh as the pages
    slip to almost dawn,
    till he finds
    the leaf forgotten,
    the star fallen"

    And now for the interpretation. I'm not familiar with the mythology, so this will just come from my head.

    This lonely, magical woman separates herself from everyone. She spends her time drinking prophecy and madness; despite her powers, she feels as if something vital is cut off. Everything beautiful comes to her, despite her being dark and dangerous. But this he with all the questions---has he gotten to her? He's been reading to her (or just reading her) all night, but now he has found the leaf (page folded over, a reminder of the tree she's supposed to be sitting in away from others) and also the fallen star (which might mean he's found/caught her ... she is the star). I'm wondering if this means he has to die, since the world "ends." Either that, or maybe he (the kingfisher) leaves her (the queenfisher), and so her world ends.

    I'm sure this is way offbase. But this is the best I can do with my limited knowledge. :)

    Ooh, this is interesting: "Asteria flung herself into the Aegean Sea in the form of a quail in order to escape the advances of Zeus."

    Okay, so the kingfisher is a bird (the woman), and when he (Zeus) gets too close, she flies away into the sea killing herself (I presume) to avoid his advances.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I do not of Asteria before, so I thank you for the notes.

    I enjoyed reading the poem. There's a magical feel to it (and I noticed this when I read your works). I feel inept to interpret as I'm usually not familiar with the references, nonetheless, it's always fascinating to read.

    Hope you feel better soon.

    ReplyDelete
  11. For some reason this:
    "She's felt his questions
    pressing on her
    all day so heavy" stuck with me. There are other magical word combos but this resonated.

    Sorry you aren't up and dancing Hedge. Back stuff sucks, lavender heat therapy administered by twin male massage therapists wearing white linen under a bright fat moon, usually does the trick.

    ReplyDelete
  12. You are just too good. Outstanding verse! Count me as one of your big fans.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I'm glad to find this oldie for the first time. The earth, the air, the water, the moon, you gather all the elements in this evocation. There is sadness, isolation--alienation, all at the center of a mystery that only she seems to know. A favorite.

    I hope you're on your feet, or at least at your desk, soon.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thanks all for reading and commenting--I look forward to returning your visits when I am well and drug free.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I prefer you visit me when you are NOT drug-free. ;)

      I'm so sorry you're in pain. I wish you a restful night, dear.

      Delete
    2. Thanks Shawna--I loved your comment--things are rocky atm, but it just takes time and I'll be fine.

      Delete
  15. "She's felt his questions
    pressing on her
    all day so heavy
    the singing
    so heavy for something
    made of air . . . "

    And "This is the way the world ends
    Not with a bang but a whimper.

    (—T.S. Eliot, "The Hollow Men" (1925)"

    But in the case of Asteria, the kingfisher flies and the world transitions under a new set of Gods. There are still stars and asters. This is a gorgeous poem, thick as myth!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I am enchanted by every line. I love all those bits of nature and magick you weave together. Feel better and rest up.

    ReplyDelete
  17. A lilting poem, full of allusion and meaning. And, just to add to the discussion, note that the Fisher King - the kingfisher analogue - was a central figure in T.S. Eliot's Waste Land death-and-rebirth mythology, and that adds yet another layer to the symbolic underpinnings of this poem.

    I hope you're better soon... take care.

    ReplyDelete
  18. hangs heavy and hunger
    sings to the tides,
    she flirts her feathers down to
    probe the chambered nautilus
    and fetch the glitterfish

    thats an outstanding combination hedge...
    gave me goosebumps - i love it when that happens :D

    the entirety is a wash of atmosphere
    dense a heavy enough to hang my hat on

    get well soon - you have been missed tonight...

    all the best

    ReplyDelete
  19. love, love, love. so magical and musical.
    "her iceglass
    barelimb chapel"

    "and fetch the glitterfish
    called to her
    rattling net hung
    with bone charms"

    just fabulous.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Oh, Joy - so sorry to hear of your physical difficulties. Sounds painful. Awful.

    Your poem is beautiful, a charm in the sense of magical, incantatory, a bit scary. I think my favorite lines have to do with hunger singing to the tides. k.

    ReplyDelete
  21. glitterfish and bone charms, keeping vigil and the world tree, bone charms, heavy for something, red cutting, and every single word after were my very favorites.
    sorry you are laid up. hope you heal quickly.
    i'm still treading water at work, but am settling in.

    ReplyDelete
  22. An old one perhaps, but a damn good one, Hedge. Hope you feel better very soon!

    ReplyDelete
  23. You have a wonderful talent to make the mystical, mythical into something physical, 3-D and sensual. I feel I can walk around in this, like an installation. Much enjoyed the whole thing..

    Take care of yourself.. hope to see running around soon :)

    ReplyDelete
  24. So mystical and alive - gorgeous

    ReplyDelete
  25. Very lovely write Hedge ~ Please take care of yourself and thanks for being part of our D'vese team ~

    ReplyDelete
  26. Beautiful writing & that ending blew me away, love it! And I do hope you'll be on the mend, soon...thank you for making dVerse such a special place :)

    ReplyDelete
  27. Beautiful poem filled with some great images, Joy Ann. Mystical and magical. I can sympathize/empathize with your pain. I am recovering myself from chronic neck pain, I just went to the hospital yesterday and got loaded up on pain meds and an injection. Now, I have to wear a surgical neck brace for the next fifteen days, grr ...

    Do hope you feel better quickly.

    Pamela

    ReplyDelete
  28. Gorgeous verse! One of your best, I think!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Hope those problems fly away with the kingfisher. Wonderful poem. :)

    ReplyDelete
  30. Like an alternative, personal apocalypse! A powerful scene unfolds cut with undedited, raw drama!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Thanks everyone--I really appreciate your thoughts and support. I expect that I'll be up and around in a few days.

    Pamela, I hope you feel better soon.

    ReplyDelete

'Poetry is an echo asking a shadow to dance' ~Carl Sandburg