Saturday, March 13, 2010

Desire Gave Him Wings

A photo I did not take of a bird that visited my yard.

More than 2,500 years ago, Sappho knew how to put a poem together. (If my old professors knew I talked this way they’d cringe.) She had an earthy zest for love and its many faces: desire, heartache, worship, bitterness.

I’m taking a break from serious stuff like earthquakes and dementia and pretending to be Sappho. The competition I’m getting ready for requires us to copy one of Sappho’s lines as a prompt. One of these coming days I’m going to write a poem I like enough to enter.

So here’s a little game for you. Here are some Sappho poems. Which are mine? It would really make my day if you can’t be sure.


The doorkeeper’s feet are seven armlength’s long
and his black eyes gleam like teeth as he leaps
to meet his high-breasted lover


Some say cavalry and others claim
infantry or a fleet of long oars
is the supreme sight on the black earth.
I say it is
the one you love.


To me he seems like a god
as he sits facing you and
hears you near as you speak
softly and laugh
in a sweet echo that jolts
the heart in my ribs.


Sweetbitter unmanageable creature who steals in
to wring my heart with thoughts of her
Back! Go plague some black-faced warrior
whose stout heart can bear your vagaries.
Leave me to ply my violets in peace.


Stand up and gaze on me as friend
to friend. I ask you to reveal
the naked beauty of your eyes.


Here are fine gifts, children,
all my flesh is wrinkled with age,
my black hair has faded to white,
my legs can no longer carry me,
once nimble like a fawn’s,
but what can I do?
It cannot be undone,
no more than can pink-armed Dawn
not end in darkness on earth


If you don't want to talk about poetry, let's talk about taxes.
I'm putting mine together today. Do you do your own, or do you have a pro do them? For 30 years I've done all the figuring and then given them to a pro. I'm afraid to use a software program and submit them myself.

People who rent, who don't have children or investments, might be the people who really support the government with their taxes. The rich have write-offs. The poor have tax credits. Those who work to make a living and who can't afford a house, like my daughter and her honey, have to pay the full price the government exacts.
God bless them.


LadyFi said...

I love all those fragments.

Susan said...

I'm not familiar enough with Sappho to distinguish but it doesn't matter. Each piece is wonderful and worthy of standing on its own. Great job!

Anonymous said...

All very pleasant, but especially the last one.


Collette said...

I have never heard of Sappho until you wrote about her, so I have no clue which are hers or yours. They are all beautiful! (((HUGS)))

sarah said...

remembered love or age and light? Have a great weekend....That picture makes me smile...spring...aaaahhh.

Kim A. said...

I could not say which was yours but I love the last one on age. My hair is salt and pepper and will one day be all salt! I quit coloring it because it is just like my mom's and I like looking in the mirror and seeing a reflection of her.


TechnoBabe said...

Did you write Seizure?
They are each so different and they are all very good. Glad to hear you are taking a break today. How are your new glasses working for you?

Shadow said...

lets not talk taxes, lets talk poetry. yours is THE best.

Magpie said...

I enjoyed them all, but Seizure and Age and Light were my favorites. I'm guessing those are the ones you wrote. :)

lakeviewer said...

Each is delightful!
We have not accepted the idea that we are all contributing to the great society.

Without conscious, community supported services and improvements, we would be back in the midddle ages when lords hid behind their castles' moats and us serfs were left to scrounge for a living on the edge of forests and just laws.

Taxes level the fields and keep us all working for a bette tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Working on taxes today as well. Same thing, just pulling it all together to get to someone who hopefully knows what they're doing. I almost look forward to it each year, just trying to figure it all out. I think I might even enjoy it, IF I didn't have to write a check at the end!

e said...

Age and Light is really wonderful, as are the rest. Best of luck with the taxes today.

annie and katrin said...

I do like to talk about poetry (and not about taxes:)
what a treasure to find you today!
I'll be back for sure!
my desire took me here, and you give me wings, thanks

Brian Miller said...

i have to look up sappho...these intrigue me...i think seizure is yours...

Matty said...

You are right. I can't distinguish.

I used to do my own taxes for years, and got tired of it. I have a pro do them.

Gabriella Moonlight said...

Oh much like your children we pay taxes, no kids, no house and only three dogs with step kids part time, we are funding the government one year at a time LOL!!

Wings of desire...amazing, but I think that Seizure may be your poem, all I really know Chris is that you are really an amazing poetess withthe skills that are full, full of life, full of love and even sorrow at times, but I can read the sorrow and engage it better in poetic form.

Hope said...

I did our taxes through one of those computer programs this year and submitted them yesterday. It was well worth it because there was a huge difference between what I'd figured out on paper and what the program figured out!

I can identify with your thoughts in Age and Light.

Syd said...

I like all the poems. The Age and Light one reminded me of a Rumi.
Taxes were done by Turbo Tax this year for the first time. Previous years we used an accountant. We still owed a bundle. Oh well....death and taxes are certainties. And I don't mind paying my fair share.