Pallas Athene

Here where the marble toes
Crumble, a temple. Can you see it?
Hundreds and hundreds of years ago,
Before these streets had stones.

She was a great beauty,
This Pallas Athene, not unlike your grandmother
In her own way.
When first they brought Athene here
She was a perfect picture of war;
Seabirds did not dare land on her.

Look at her now. See that white tear?
This is the rain of ages appearing.
But look, my daughter,
At the wind-worn face:
Time has smoothed the chiseled cheeks;
Her eyes are soft as Aphrodite's.

photo courtesy of P at What Possessed Me.


Interlude: Other People's Poetry

Poppies in October

Even the sun-clouds this morning cannot manage such skirts.
Nor the woman in the ambulance
Whose red heart blooms through her coat so astoundingly ----

A gift, a love gift
Utterly unasked for
By a sky

Palely and flamily
Igniting its carbon monoxides, by eyes
Dulled to a halt under bowlers.

O my God, what am I
That these late mouths should cry open
In a forest of frost, in a dawn of cornflowers.

Sylvia Plath (October 27, 1932 - February 11, 1963)
photograph by flickr user scheithelapeyre


When the Witch Ball Breaks

When the ball breaks a fox
finds your best layer and the baby cries
with shining splinters you can't find.

When the ball breaks your shoes
are dusted with powdered glass.
Every step is a challenge
to the feet you have toughened all summer.

When the ball breaks
the window has broken with it.
One wall is gone.
You sleep at the neighbors'.

photograph by Ian Mackenzie
more about witch balls here


With a Glance at the Equator

If I am a world then the climate
is rapidly changing.

Gone now is the dodo,
gone druids, unicorns.
My coats tire of warning away
the full fire of the cosmos.

Through patches and holes
I am singed and boiled.
One of these days I will face
the sinking sun himself.

Continents drift without my permission.
There are tracks in the sea;
the great plates ride
on sandy rails
of unknown origin.
Who is he, this engineer who charts
where my heart will settle?

Icebergs bob like battleships
atop the warming ocean. Their sheer
hulls melt : cool water swells
to wash my white-hot belly.

photograph by Farley Vaughan


The First Man to See Jupiter

"Tall as the sky, with a beard
mountains could get lost in. Blue,"

the first man stammered, "Did I mention
he's blue? And for one second the whole
ocean stopped to listen, and he looked my way
and he winked. I can't believe

you missed it."

photograph by flickr user miuvincent

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