Saturday, November 6, 2021

Dionysia

 
 
 


 
 
 Dionysia
 
 
In another century
I was a girl of a certain flavor
grown to twist and pruned to bear
a fruit never eaten, only pressed.
 
You were the satyr,
the goat-song in the convent, a
dovecote of vestals who cooed as you
taught them to break their glass vows.
 
At the bacchanal we all danced
indifferent to stares of the Keres. You stole
the god's thyrsos and wound it with lamb's ear,
soft and treacle sweet as your smile.
 
That cup that was
filled then to overflowing
is broken now, but too late, I think
for those who've already drunk.
 
 
 
 
November 2021
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 posted for
 
 and
earthweal's Open Link
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
thyrsos:  a staff or wand of fennel used in Hellenic ceremonies, espec. Dionysius ~wikipedia
Keres:  female death spirits who roamed freely during the yearly Athenian festival of  Anthestria .~wikipedia
 
 
 
 
 
Images: Wine glasses, author unknown, via Sunday Muse  Fair Use
Marble relief of a maenad and two satyrs in a Bacchic procession. AD 100, British Museum Public Domain

23 comments:

  1. Bravo! an epic poem indeed with some potent lines
    "wound it with lamb's ear,
    soft and treacle sweet as your smile"

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  2. They say a taste of honey is worse than none at all, but I don't think so. There are all sorts of places where doves might shelter, and the tongue is as warm as the straw at first. And after? Well, after takes care of itself, either in contrition or oblivion.

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  3. I love the story in this gorgeous poem Joy! It seems as though your struggle lent to a effortless and historical poem. It draws the reader in so well. I am always so glad to see you at the Muse I am going to talk a walk over the earthweal as well.

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    1. I'm sure they'll be happy to see you there, Carrie. Thank you for your kind comment, and for hosting. I'll be making the rounds tomorrow.

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  4. Wow! The entire poem is a marvel, but I most love that second stanza......the goat-song in the convent..........you and Shay blow me away with your work.

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    1. Thank you, Sherry. I appreciate this, as I have every comment you have left me over the years.

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  5. A treacle smile, girl of a certain flavor/ vintage / pressed, bawdy bacchanal I can only imagine. You gifted us quite the poem, Joy!

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    1. And yours was a double gift, Helen. I loved both. Thanks for reading.

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  6. O the tipsy paramour ... Those who could drink a case of him and still be on their feet do eventually develop cirrhosis of the heart, endowed with the stares of the Keres & pouty with kisses of broken glassware. Another fine conceit, really, a charm wound with so many pure details of the bacchanal's surrender and intoxicating devotion into the maenad's long latter hangover. He was called The Loosener; they, loose.

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    1. edit that last line: He was called The Loosener; they, loose, or lost, or lousy with Mad Dog morning breath.

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    2. Ha! Well, to each his own, but if you're referring to the name "Eleutherios" it has also been translated as the Liborator, and the Romans used Libor for him in the same way, with the connotation of religious ecstasy freeing man to pursue the higher mysteries. Of course, you've already noted in your original comment that he was far more than the god of Mad Dog. He's a traveler, a sacrifice, a fertility god, a bard entwined with the deeper cult of Persephone, and the Eleusian Mysteries as well. But you know all this. We have a lovely way as humans of finding so many ways to be lost.

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  7. Luv it all from stanza to stanza. The heady sips of bachannalia.
    Happy Sunday

    Much💛love

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  8. That soft edge of warning is compelling; it makes me want the entire story spun from these lines.

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  9. i think the story here is bigger than the myth behind it, on a multitude of levels. i see a critique of modern society, gluttony, selfishness, indifferent to the future, addition to the "easy life" and the ways of self destruction. but i also see something more personal, something clorer to home. i love reading your poems, i always have to do research, i love that. enjoyed this very much joy

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    1. Thanks, phillip. Yes, it's about a time a bit closer than Ancient Greece, and indeed a story closer to home, too. Thanks for reading, and for your generous comment.

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  10. Human flaws are timeless. Temptation and excess abounds as much today as ever. You create a striking mood and atmosphere with mythology and Ancient Greek . I really enjoyed reading this.

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  11. I am always amazed where you go with your words. Another interesting piece that weaves myth with reality. The crazed sacrifices and the wounds that remain. I sense something deeper.

    It's weird but, I thought of that concert in Texas the other night. Senseless loss of life and injuries.

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    1. Yes, a terrible thing. Our modern world has horrors all its own. Thanks for reading, truedessa.

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  12. when I was a boy, both parents worked, so after school the local library became my sitter. I read every book on Greek mythology (well, and dinosaurs) they offered.

    This poem was probably in the adult section - and if not, should be. ~

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, M. Laughing at the dinosaur/mythology combo. Well, they both contain profound mysteries, and allow our imaginations to fly. My grandparents, who raised me, bought me a set of Childcraft books that were my introduction to those topics. My earliest ambition was to be an archeologist, or failing that, a ballerina. The library came later,as well as the bacchanalia, but was also a place of refuge.

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  13. I love your use of Classical imagery here to invoke a tale of temptation: really striking!

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  14. Oooh! This is so good. The language flowing like vestal wine. (Or something like that.) "I was a girl of a certain flavor grown to twist and pruned to bear a fruit never eaten" is terrific, as is "you taught them to break their glass vows". Oh my!!!

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