Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The New Prometheus

The New Prometheus

(a sonnet of sorts)

Into my waking dream you sometimes come
to take the thing I no longer thought I had.
Your staccato rhythms on my flesh-tuned drum
give me the soaring solace of the mad.
So full of the gods' unbanked Promethean fire,
you make theft a gift and violation a desire
so warm with love there can only be surrender--
my cold inertia to what will melt and render.

This fantasy lightning-bought, hot-wired to life,
flash-frankensteined to fit my hid ambitions,
like an army drilled in invisible munitions
I name imagination's blurred-blade knife,
yet I have no surgeon's intimacy with death's bite;
I can't claim this illumination as my own light.

~November 2015

Process Note: The subtitle of Mary Shelley's iconic Frankenstein was The Modern Prometheus, a reference to the cost, perhaps, of bringing things to life. Also, I call this a sonnet, but I'm afraid I have not paid much attention to the proper meter or rhyme scheme.

Top:The Beethoven Frieze: The Longing For Happiness Finds Repose In Poetry, Right Wall, detail. 1902 by Gustav Klimt. Public Domain, manipulated.
 Public domain, manipulated.


  1. Flash-frankensteined is some wonderful compound verb as is the flesh-tuned drum. This feels to me like the struggle one has sometimes for intensity, for something that feels real--the artist especially--for all the talk of imagination, what one wants is vividness--something gripping--here a kind of exchange is made--the flesh-tuned drum is beaten and makes rhythms and a tune, but the rhythm maker seems to feel bereft--that it wasn't really theirs--that it may not even make complete sense--this is what i feel anyway--yet, I think it's a worthwhile bargain--a lot to be struck by here, Joy--an original and view with very compelling word play--that's not really the right description--compelling analysis. Thanks. k.

    1. Yes, imagination is all fine and good, but sometimes one wants what is real--and sometimes, one gets it-and then what? Is it ever as much one's own as the mind's own gift? But maybe all the better for that...anyway--thanks so much k, for your time and input.

  2. The soaring solace of the mad.

    I prefer your sonnet to those too enamored with form.

    Could use some of that solace these days... ~

  3. What's the old alchemical, nothing can be truly joined that is not first properly separated? So the alembic here is contrariness, of so many things: time (first two lines, all over the place -- the paradox of a waking / dream, the revenant who "sometimes" comes to take what the dreamer thought she'd lost long ago); desire and violation; love and death, outrage and sanctity. And is the phantom any more true than the real "flesh-frankenstein" deal?Mercy. Imagination's knife do doth cut blurred through our butter, and sometimes I have to, um, thank if for sharing, I really needed that vicious swipe. Poets steal from dreams, and burn this way. The penance is pentameter, the sonnet's loving axe. Loved the lead pic.

    1. Appearance versus reality is an old steed to ride as a writer, yet she is sometimes capable of quite a gallop. ;_) This one fell into my lap in a formish kind of way, and so I used that particular scalpel on it--I think there is a sort of ravishment in any possession, even a willing surrender--I suppose that is the payoff for opening the gate--many tropes here, like the Swiss Army knife poetry is, and every blade blurred. Well, in my hand, anyway. Thanks, B--this really was supposed to be a love poem. ;_)

  4. I have read many a sonnet over the years, and this takes its place, for me, amongst the best. I do not believe that strict adherence to meter is necessary in our post-post modern era of writing, and you have more than fulfilled the premise of a traditional sonnet in the division and argument presented. I also admire the rhyme scheme you have chosen, especially the addition of rhyming couplets. The sestet is particularly brilliant, in phrasing and diction. In all, a most satisfying read.

    1. Thank you so much Kerry. I now feel much more validated, sonnet-wise, as you are one of the best composers of them out there that I know.

  5. This is so full of seeming--and arresting--contradictions! Taking what the speaker thought she no longer had. A gift of theft and mad solace. This is some roller-coaster ride of incredible images, Joy, but somehow the whole thing remains cohesive. Please stop showing off. (Please don't!!!)

  6. Love this struggle between what is, what is believed should be, and what happens in between... "you make theft a gift and violation a desire" makes me think of extremely complicated relationships... those that can only be fully understood by the people directly involved. Such intimacy...


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

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