Monday, June 8, 2020



The girl who grew old
in her sleep keeps her eyes
on a chain, afraid to let them loose
from the fingerwork of dreams,
stringing the beads of her sanity.

The machinery must turn, not
roam across every face
of cruelty, of beauty, that
comes now in the crowd
whose Fahrenheit flies

towards the boiling heart of the sun.
Voices with stones, medicine hands
 on eyes seared blind in acid clouds;
gunshot, brickbat and burning
sweep our shuddering house.

Tiny assassins make up
the bed where we fear to lie down
with our dusty farewells.
The crone bleeds hidden
gold watering her marigolds,

sees again in the glinting blue stream
 the great ouroboros return; 
Jörmungandr opens his mouth
to lash his tail and break oceans.
Now is the time for devouring 

 as Fenris howls
for the gods to come out and die.

June 2020

posted for The Sunday Muse
and Kerry O'Connor's Skylover Word List

Process note: "In Norse mythology, Jörmungandr.. is a sea serpent, the middle child of the giantess Angrboða and Loki. According to the Prose Edda, Odin took Loki's three children by Angrboða—the wolf Fenrir, Hel, and Jörmungandr—and tossed Jörmungandr into the great ocean that encircles Midgard[our human world.]The serpent grew so large that it was able to surround the earth and grasp its own tail. .. When it releases its tail, Ragnarök [the last destroying battle of the old world, translated as Twilight or Doom of the Gods] will begin.  Jörmungandr is an example of an ouroboros, ancient symbol depicting a serpent or dragon eating its own tail..The ouroboros is often interpreted as a symbol for eternal cyclic renewal or a cycle of life, death, and rebirth..." ~wikipedia, condensed.

Images: Title unknown, by Alexandra Dillon  Fair Use
Alchemical drawing of an ouroboros by Theodorus Pelecanos, 1478  Public Domain


  1. This gave me goosebumps to read, as I read it three times out loud. Griping and surely haunting, yet in it's deeper spaces, it feels real as well. This is pure hell and brilliance rolled into one. Always a pleasure to have you join us at the Muse Joy!!

  2. When I come here, I always know that what I read will be real poetry, and this is no exception. That opening stanza is so well wrought, Joy. And then it just builds and merges with the legend you describe in your notes, until you've brought together ancient myth and current reality. Not only that, but you've made it both personal and global. I can feel the earth shake from here.

  3. Your poem captured me from the moment I started reading..You've taken an ancient myth and brought it to the future where it seems too real. May whatever hellish gods the wealthy and ignorant bow down to be called out to die.

  4. ~~ extraordinary poets teach, inspire, transport readers to another realm. You managed it beautifully.

  5. Incredible, otherworldly poem. So well written, with much appreciated notes to refer to.

  6. An incredible chain of imaginary events drawing one along to conclusion!

  7. I love how the poem opens with a girl who grew old in her sleep and moves towards the crone watering her marigolds. Beautifully written, Joy. My words have dried up for the moment as I grapple with the latest event; they keep coming, week after week. No shoulders strong enough to carry the weight.

    1. I know Sherry. It's such a hard time. Thanks so much for coming by. I am thinking of you.

  8. So much fin-de-siecle doomy boominess prosceniums this poem - we in our latter days, mortal and aging, the American empire falling like a gut-shot dodo, with Western civ engrossed in a screen while its palace boils. Your coming full circle here with the Norse myth is an article of poetic faith (albeit atheist), crying for the end to begin, for the gods to finally come out and get their fatal due. America is trapped in its pause button, stilled, frozen in place as history keeps repeating itself, Lynch rope after bullet after choke hold. Yet in this moment, marvel -- that's the wonder to me of the crone bleeding hidden gold. It is a sight and clarity which sweeps the sickle as it dances. One can hope, anyway ... what else arewegonnado? - Brendan

    1. Yes, I think all of us feel like a broken record in these end days --our own, if not the entire civilization we knew, and it really does come full circle for me with the words of the Voluspas who parted time's veil to paint both past, present and future in a series of archetypes whose symbolism is impossible to muddy. Good to see you, B. and thanks for reading.

  9. completely different vein, but somehow Swift's "A Modest Proposal" comes to mind.

    guess I'm just odd... (newsflash)

    which is to say, your writing reminds me of the best in the language ~

    1. Thanks for the read, M. Everything important about the times we live in has been written about before, and a Modest Proposal shares the mood quite well, with some of the same symbolism of the all-powerful devouring and the capitalist cannibalism and just general breakdown of society. Hope all is well as it can be with you, Michael. Here we are gearing up for Trump, a subject perhaps equally fitting for Swift/ :(

  10. or the solution provided for the aristocracy during the Fr. rev.


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

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