Saturday, July 11, 2015

Modern Times



Modern Times





Fighting for air
 droplets of mist
rich lipids of coagulated moonlight
wax smooth cheeks furrowed against the
assassin blank stare of the moon
in a night given over
to grief's predator jackboots
streaked marks on brainwork pavers
a night black as Lamia's eyes
when no good can be done no thing
left whole no ghost laid
no purpose served 
a night when
the dream will have its way
for nightmare devours down
to what it must have
 nothing left but to wait
weighting hours in wet clothes
for the drowning
man half rescued, blue lips still dripping
the clean chloride kisses
of commodious death.



~July 2015











Process note:" In ancient Greek mythology, Lamia ...was a beautiful queen of Libya who became a child-eating daemon..a mistress of the god Zeus, causing Zeus' jealous wife, Hera, to kill all of Lamia's children and transform her into a monster that hunts and devours the children of others...In later stories, Lamia was cursed with the inability to close her eyes [and]Zeus then gave her the ability to remove [them]. ...[some] versions state [this] ability...came with the gift of prophecy."~wikipedia







posted for     real toads





Weekend Challenge: The Poetry of Paul Celan 



Grace (everyday amazing) introduces us to the work of the 20th Century Romanian poet and translator, Paul Antschel (whose pen name was Celan.) For full details of his remarkable and harrowing biography, see her post at the link above. His poetry is, perhaps inescapably, quite dark--but brilliant. This is only a shadow of that, as our times seem sometimes only a confused shadow of his.





Images, both Untitled, by Zdislav Beksinski
Fair use via wikiart.org



20 comments:

  1. This is so deliciously dark.. the nightmare of mythology and darkness. There are nightmares that are really so harrowing, but afterwards we just recall the fear that grips our hearts.. The detail of mythology always add color to that fear.

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  2. First, I like the title - and how you turn right around and reference something much more ancient. Devourer of children - I think there are others who have now taken up that mantle. Great use of language in this as well. Commodious - convenient - death - the assassin stare of the moon/the jackboots marching on. I don't want to wait on them.

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  3. This is such a powerful write! Loved the picture.

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  4. A very dark image here--I did not know Lamia but her name alone says a great deal--your foregoing of punctuation works so well here as each negative reinforces the other in a kind of downward seesaw--for me this second half of the poem was terribly compelling, the no remedy portion--agh-- and the wet clothes saved for the drowning man--he seems as if he drowns in a swimming pool, which is part of the horror. Thanks. (Not for the grim images but your voice!) k.

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    1. Thanks k--chloride is the chemical component in sea salt, but it does suggest chlorine, and in a way, I agree, that's even more frightening and apt, drowning in a construct, a replica...there is perhaps too much going on here in such a short poem, but I wasn't having any luck stretching it.Appreciate your input, always.

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    2. Ah. Sodium chloride. What work especially well in the poem are the line breaks. You could read the enjambement in different ways or not-- take the break as a true break. I am very admiring of that given my punctuation issues. Length seemed okay. I cut mine to about half this time-- that may have been too much! This stuff is tricky. K.

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  5. Love the "assassin blank stare of the moon". How cool!

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  6. I really enjoy the way that you interweave the Greek mythology with the darkness of inspiration from Celan's work. The sound play and alliteration toward the end really draws power, too...nicely done, Hedge!

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  7. Zdislav Beksinski's seems perfect for this! It's raw, ruthless and the sadistically defined imagery just works! I've always loved your work, but this is too good. Thanks for sharing :)

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  8. It is a delight to read this poem of such intense and rich imagery from "rich lipids of coagulated moonlight" to grief's jackboots on "brainwork pavers" to "a night black as Lamia's eyes" to "commodious death". And in between lie the modern times steeped in black milk of its past sinking...such clever use of mythology...a dream write...

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  9. I specially like: a night black as Lamia's eyes. The drowning made death more torturous
    & your process notes made me appreciate your work more ~

    Thanks for linking up with Sunday's Challenge and wishing you happy weekend ~

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  10. For me, chlorine brought to mind chemicals used in warfare. Chilling work, Hedge.

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  11. I found this to be a most powerful description. The inclusion of 'jackboots' is especially hard-hitting, as are the images of wet clothes and chloride kisses. The central section:
    a night black as Lamia's eyes
    when no good can be done no thing
    left whole no ghost laid
    no purpose served
    provides a haunting portrayal of human insecurity and vulnerability. Fine work, Hedge.

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  12. Well written! Dark and filled with much imagery!

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  13. Half-rescued. Who thinks of stuff like that, besides you? And Lamia--you're always coming up with the coolest mythological characters and turning them loose in the poetic streets once again. U rock, forget about mine, yours is better!

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  14. You write dark beautifully~ I had not heard of Lamia. She could own daymares. My favorite lines are:
    " rich lipids of coagulated moonlight
    wax smooth cheeks furrowed against the
    assassin blank stare of the moon
    in a night given over
    to grief's predator jackboots
    streaked marks on brainwork pavers
    a night black as Lamia's eyes"
    Hedge, you need to write a shadow poetry book-haunting us with fate's reversal~
    Bravo

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  15. Your diction is always a treat for the reader and the impetus for deeper consideration. Your understanding of mythology combined with your word-weaving talent create new versions of old tales that teach the reader eternal lessons. Deep and dark and delving into the human condition.

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  16. Lamia is a great arch to read this poem through -- sleepless, eyeless, eating time's kin like Saturn his babies -- big-kid stuff here, the real witch or demon, perhaps a Blair witch, Europe's bane, Celan's demon. The price is eyes wide open to the dark, the prize an underworld vision. Ain't purdy and the vision is costly -- sleepless nights have gotta rack up a toll on the noodle, the same way migraines do -- is sleep the good death, the ever forestalled and promised but waylaid lover? Lamia's rosary is dark indeedy. Why is it that the doomy stuff packs the best, most grievous wallop? You whip it good.

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  17. My favorite phrase is "grief's predator jackboots".It really captures the feeling of being overwhelmed or conquered by the intense sadness of grief, and the callousness the outside world when it doesn't recognize that pain.

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  18. was Charon cheated of his fare? or rather, without a penny, would that chlorided man forever wander. I've always been curious about eyes in Greek mythology, from Cyclops to Argus, from Charon's penny to, now and newly, Lamia, like those three Fates who shared one eye. what does it say to we descendants, with eyes though it seems we do not see... ~

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