Sunday, May 8, 2011


For those who might feel the tale below is too dismal for this day, here is also a triolet lullaby:

Medea’s Cradlesong

So sleep my babes, and dry your  eyes
for yesterday’s gone and tomorrow’s not here
you’ll dream of frogs and honey pies
so sleep my babes and dry your eyes
just hear the bird that sings as it flies
I promise to keep you safe from all fear
so sleep my babes and dry your eyes
for yesterday’s gone and tomorrow’s not here.


In her cold bed by the Black Sea's shore
the niece of Circe stirred and felt
her fate, rushing over the wine-red waves.
She slept no more.

The world was still wet in its placental caul
new and vast as the unbordered sky
when she its deep daughter dressed herself
and came to the hall.

The Thief of the Fleece stood proud as the sun
all sweet smiles in a home she must leave
as Eros bid. Her eyes blinked once
and so it was done.

All that tale of love and death
of blood and flight,that was yet to come 
took form there then behind her eyes 
in a final breath.

She beat for him the killing ox,
the drake's quickened teeth. The dragon itself
she charmed  to sleep so the Fleece rode to Greece
between the oar-locks.

They sailed in a darkness rigid and blue,
flickered by death. She cast her spells,
she learned to kill, to make him king
for a year or two.

She poisoned, hexed, foresaw, fought to shore,
bore two strong sons to the Argonaut thief,
knowing he’d leave her as thieves always do  
for a princess whore.

The weapon children she drew from their sheath,
the boys he loved and left behind. 
Their blood was hers as it dripped from the knife. 
Their hair lay soft
as a golden fleece.

May 2011

Posted for One Shoot Sunday at the inimitable OneStopPoetry

Image: Jason and Medea, by John William Waterhouse, 1907
courtesy wikimedia commons


  1. What I like best about this is the sense that she knew all this before she ever left home, and yet she left anyway, because that is what we so often do. If you took all the women who found themselves doing things for a man that they never would have done on their own, and laid them end to end, what a lot of lithium you'd need to calm them down.

    Beyond that, to please or have revenge, we sometimes kill what we love best in ourselves. It goes against the grain, surely something inside says "stop" even as the knife gleams bright.

    Lordy. You don't flinch when you write, do you? Or, at least, the flinch doesn't make it to the page unless you mean for it to.

    PS--what do you suppose it means, that Medea is our girl? Something resonates.

  2. Hedgewitch, so beautifully done! Tale well told, and little song to sooth!

  3. I love the lullaby! Indeed the tale well told...

    ˙·٠•●♥ Hɑppɣ Møtɦɛяṡ Daɣ ♥●•٠·˙

  4. Beautiful work here. The lullaby is wonderful - soft in all the right places - and "Medea" is outstading.

  5. Both of the are so well written, contrasting in nature obviously... the lullaby sweet and tender.

    'Medea' oh so powerful, full of depth and understanding of human nature. Fireblossom said it very well of how we often kill what is best within us knowing, yet we do it anyway for another.

    Great post!

  6. Skillful and expertly rhymed. This is a very intelligent poem, full of classical references and great perception. I enjoyed it immensely. Thank you, James

  7. hedge - i loved you medea - i feel so privileged to have met you and be able to read your fantastic poetry
    what i loved in the lullaby is’ll dream of frogs and honey pies...line...this is such a fresh approach - and i wish i'd dream tonight of frogs and honey pies...

  8. ok glad you opened up with the soothing to set me at ease...sigh...then slay me in second...vicious write hedge...that is one tough woman...and rather grisly....

  9. Oh, I love your recasting of Medea. Rich, complex-- beautiful. And perfect for this day. xxxj

  10. Loved the lullaby... beautiful

  11. Your lullaby brought a smile...but your epic, simply amazing... Everytime you create one of these beautiful things, I'm inspired to learn mythology better..thank you ~

  12. Yes, Medea is your girl, you feral and elusive poetas, finding such firm ground outside ever male approval and conquest you never acquiesced to, even though you couldn't help getting burnt and wounded by the gall of its gold. Medea is the revenge of the old word, the dark "placental caul" which give birth to the idea of heroic quest, wresting from The Mothers the goods, the gold fleece: as if to steal the very authority of Mother herself, which the Greek ideal was about to. But the poetry comes from way way back, and it will allow betrayal for only a while -- then revenges with all the vitriol of dissed Mother Nature. Your retelling has all of the old authority intact and leaves no doubt that in every hero the shadow of Mother follows his every move. Who cares about Jason? You must, because writing itself is a heroic gesture -- an opus contra naturum, fleecing the womb with words for world. Here's to your double-dance widdershins round the rim of a Theme that cannot help but still burn. Finely and ferally done. You will hate my Medea poem. - Brendan

  13. Exquisite! Yes, this happens as well...My ruminations on reading this poem led to thinking about female foeticide and infanticide still prevalent in various parts of my country.

  14. Medea blew mw away Joy, such an intelligent and thoughtful take on her!

  15. *raises eyebrow* I wonder if you've been sending me signals over the interwebs... My Ignia and your Medea seem a little too... alike at times. Too bad I was way too drunk this morning when I saw the picture, I don't think I have the heart in me to do something touching. Great work though, thank you for sharing it with us!

  16. Medea is absolutely outstanding. Snarls with attitude. Love it.

  17. Many thanks all, for stopping by, reading and leaving your thoughts and impressions. It's always appreciated.

    @FB Yes, there's a surrendering of will, yet also an assertion of it,she's a paradox in all ways, and maybe that's why she's worked her way into our poetry and minds.

    @Claudia & James--your own poems today were a source of great enjoyment. Thanks for writing yours and reading mine.

    @jr: Thanks. I'm not sure I recast her much.

    @Brendan: Yes, she's the dark side of the mother goddess, but also the healer and seer. In the end, the myth is not about her, yet she shapes all of it.Many personae, treated to many interpretations, but she is very old, much older than anything we can truly understand now, I think. (And while your poetry often worries and disturbs me, and always challenges me, I could *never* hate it, at least I don't think so.)

  18. Beautiful poem. Classical in theme, but universal in appeal. Loved reading it.

  19. This captivated me...nicely done.

  20. Excellent.
    I had to go back to the lullaby.

  21. One never leaves behind Medea, can we ever? She inhabited my fears (perhaps of who I would turn out to be) during my course in Continental Lit. That's been ages ago and here I am meeting her again, and who in your hands turns up in the flesh--and how you breathe life in her. Now I cleave to her even tighter, want to meet her eyes and find her soul, too. But I think I'm saying this in a tangential way--someday I really would want to meet you, you who walks in transfiguring worlds I know into worlds I should know. Thanks again for your poetry!

  22. Alegria, you are meeting the best of me here. Thanks for your lovely comments always.

    And thanks to everyone who's taken the time to read and leave their thoughts.

  23. bless all mothers.

    check out short story slam and welcome your submission.


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats

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