Friday, November 11, 2011



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, scried, and hexed 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.

originally posted May 2011 at one Stop Poetry
reposted for Friday Picture Prompt at Real Toads 

No time this weekend for anything fresh, but I couldn't let that picture pass by and it really reminded me of this poem, rather a quintessential anti-fairy tale, so apologies to anyone who's already read it; I did revise it slightly.


  1. goodness hedge, you went all kinds of dark on this one...dont mess with one like that...grisly ending with the golden fleece....

  2. This reads like an extract from Homer, such densely imaged lines in tight form, with all the subtleties of story-telling woven with ariadne-like thread for the reader to follow down the maze of this mad woman's psyche. I loved the wine-red waves; the world in its placental caul is nothing short of inspired and those last 7 lines create the climactic close brilliantly.

  3. Joy,
    Brilliantly brought us through an exciting journey of good narration all the way! Great!


  4. Guess that is the price you pay for not maintaining promises kept. The blood if the children to this very day is yet on the hands of the parents.

  5. You find and choose the best images.

    Reading and rereading your poems will always end up in a new harvest, so no apologies needed for reposting!

    What I love about what you do is to overlay a wink and a smile, with wonderful rhyme schemes and gorgeous and lyrical language (you choose words so extraordinarily), on these dark old myths, making them utterly your own, and new. My comments can never satisfyingly address your skill, and the ways you have adopted and adapted the old tales into a very Hedgey sort of universe of bloody dark delights.

    I will catch up soon on the other poems I have missed the last few days. Don’t wanna miss a bone, a hatchet or a drop of blood here. ;-)

  6. Definitely epic, beautifully written... love "scried"

  7. What I love about this is how you mine down to primal levels -- the fonts of all our emotions -- and let these players decide our own fates, as archetypes of psyche. Every error of the heart is here: bewitchment, erotic thrall, theft, indenture, ocean adventure, infanticide. And all of it pre-feeling, or of a the faintest consciousness of feeling. It's always the same old song -- and I've known heart-worn hours that has the sound of this, dull iron ring of fate. Fine job. -- Brendan

  8. Yoiks, this is a well-told tale. Perfect for the prompt. Loved it, Joy!

  9. Hmmm . . . maybe Blogger ate my comment. This is gorgeous, Hedge.

  10. A woman scorned is a dangerous thing, indeed! A bloody good tale you've woven!

  11. 'The world was still wet in its placental caul' alone was worth the price of admission and yet you gave so much more. A monumental telling.

  12. 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.

    So many great stanzas. This is just one that grabbed me.

  13. This is really well done and as Dave above says some really striking phrasing.

  14. love that line "the thief of the fleece." good stuff!


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

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