Monday, January 27, 2014

Repost: Mélusine

Mélusine




Once I was a beginner.
I was rain, I was rush,
I was a barbed hook,
my skull a small cage
for a fluttering bat.
Now in my latter days
I'm the zoo unbound,
furred and finned,
fully winged, 
Mélusine and manticore, 
cockatrice,
chimera and koala,
yin yanged as an orca
and just as 
slick.

~May 2013




reposted for     real toads
Open Link Monday

Process notes:  Mélusine  "...is a figure of European legends and folklore, a feminine spirit of fresh waters in sacred springs and rivers. She is usually depicted as a woman who is a serpent or fish from the waist down (much like a mermaid). She is also sometimes illustrated with wings, two tails or both... "  


Optional Historical Trivia:  I was reminded of Mélusine (though she only appears briefly here) after writing Jehanne, for Fireblossom's Friday Challenge. Jeanne, the Demoiselle of Luxembourg, in whose castle of Beaurevoir Joan of Arc was first held, was one of the few powerful figures who attempted to protect her, and indeed it was not till after her death that Joan was given to the English tribunal. At various times,like other prominent families in the region, the house of Luxembourg claimed descent from Mélusine. In some sense, therefor, Mélusine is still amongst us, as the Demoiselle's great-niece, Jacquetta,"... was the maternal grandmother of Elizabeth of York, Queen and wife of Henry VII. As such, she is an ancestress of all subsequent English and British monarchs, including Elizabeth II, and seven other present-day European monarchs.."~wikipedia





Images: Top:  Das Lüsterweibchen, by Albrecht Durer, 1513
Bottom:Mélusine allaitant ses fils Thierry et Raymonnet. 15th Century
Public Domain

20 comments:

  1. So here is Jehanne's younger older sister, both more primal and contemporary, the myth surviving history better perhaps because Jehanne had more of one in books. Melusine has changed because we have; a facility or connection that as it shriveled in consciousness--became far--also became more dangerous. (Love the slick orc's toothy smile at the end.) Melusina was frequently observed in medieval bestiaries -- accounts of fantastic animals -- which I've always paired with breviaries, those prayer-books, where angels are the beauty and majesty of animals without the tail and hooves. Anyway, an excellent pairing with Jehannn-- and what process! If Melusine is a birthright, she bespeaks an old, old matrilineal line (we all evolved from Eve), defiant of the Christian patriarchy of Father, Son and Boo Who. (In the Merovingian line, successors had a heart-shaped birthmark on their chest--kiss of Melusine? I wonder. Maybe I love that figure because I was born with the same birthmark). Yippee.

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    1. Well, you forced me to look up the Merovingian dynasty, which was familiar but not explicit in my brain, and what a fascinating read that was. That is way before the time of the House of Luxembourg, but set almost precisely in the same region, jonly just cross the river from Reims, where Clovis was baptized into the Church,and which was the ritual location where French kings were crowned. So it could indeed be the kiss of Melusine in that birthmark, though it seems rather a more Christian emblem to me--ie bleeding heart of Christ--though of course, they were pre-Christian to begin with. Thanks for your insightful thoughts here as well, B, and as always, for reading.

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    2. Stuff I didn't know, either ... One legend of the Merovingians is that their bloodline began with tthe son of Jesus and Mary -- after the crucifixion of Christ she travelled to the south of France where she had His son. The mother / Mary cult in France remained strong through the centuries, with Catholicism staying dominant. (Interestingly, there was a medieval tradition at Chartres that the cathedral was built over the site of a pre-Christian druidical sect who worshipped a virigin who would give birth. The Dauphin of France (Vinnois), who was heir to the throne from 1350 to 1791, had a dolphin prominent on its coat-of-arms. Just interesting peripheral stuff.

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  3. Just as slick... and this is one slick poem! I admire your ability to weave myth into poetry and to make it all so relevant to our own times.

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  4. I adore this. Evolution of a woman.

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  5. I like the idea of being a zoo unbound at this stage in my life....beautiful piece

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  6. Makes me glad for these latter days. I love that I read great poetry and learn fascinating things as well.

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  7. ha. nice beastiary you have combined inside of her...i like the flow fo this one joy, the progression of verse and her in her maturity...pretty cool on the process note as well...i will claim ignorance, but appreciate the education....

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  8. Nice. I read Jehanne too - stunning work. I love everything about this from the poem to the notes to the history and education. Wonderful flow the piece. The whole thing, very cool!

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  9. Ha. At first I was wondering just how yin yang is the orca-- but I can see it in the shape actually and as Kerry says it is a very slick and I will add slithery poem. I like the beginning especially because when you are rain I think of the wind and the rain in as you like it and when you are rush I think or all those rushes they were putting all over the floors in medieval times. I am on iPhone so will be brief and not reveal my Merovingian lapses. King Louis is all I can come up with and he is probably some other vingian. K

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    1. All those vingians, just vinging away, it's hard to tell which is which without a program. :_) The yin yang reference is to the orca being half black and half white and sort of--if you have a vivid imagination--like the traditional symbol. Also, they are very social, matrilineal, dolphin-like, and intelligent mammals, yet rather awful if you happen to be a seal. Yin. Yang. I love your Shakespeare state of mind, too.Thanks for reading, k., and for being brave enough to risk commenting with your infernal device, .

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  10. Incredible imagery...read it over several times just because it is so lovely.

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  11. To think that, in those days, and even more recently, folk were confined to the few miles they could hoof on their own two, and so the limit of the physical world allowed the imaginative universe to be filled with that many more fantastic beings. "Thar be beasts" in the fringes of the maps. And so a saintly sisterhood - why not? A sinuous pen ~

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    1. Thanks, M. Yes, you can't easily confine the mind or the imagination, and I think they had an advantage as well, living immersed in a nature they had not yet learned to really control or abuse, in fact, vice versa, hence all the investment of it with power, with gods, demons, and mythical beasties.

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  12. I could not love this more; perhaps because, as a woman of 54 I have transformed as well. Evolved. Grown. Accepted. Learned to love and live and all that! FABULOUS,

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  13. Fascinating mythology lesson. Love all the animals in her spirit.

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  14. No bats in your belfry Joy.
    And of course...Slick? C'est si Bon!!!

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  15. I'll make Kerry's words mine. You have such an amazing talent to turn history, myth, magic into poetry. <3

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  16. An interesting post that I enjoyed reading.

    Thank you. Love love, Andrew. Bye.

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