|Jul/Aug 2011 Poetry|
Photo by Ashlee Elizabeth Bellows
The Muses In Exile
Displaced and dispossessed,
they traveled, a few of them, north and west
to other islands.
Chilled and homesick, missing Greece,
they took on the look of mortals,
farmers, a fisherman, a maker of sails.
In wildest Wales,
Polyhymnia sang to her sons
and they, before they learned to speak,
In cottage, church and villages
they sang and so, in time did their sons
and theirs, are singing still.
Thalia and Melpomene on Cotswold farms
raised antic, moody, charming children.
Happiest when standing on hay wagons.
drawing workers from the fields,
they played the stories they were told,
demanding as their tribute
laughter, tears and praise.
And, away in Ireland, Euterpe
breathed the poems she carried with her
into her children's ears at night,
taught them to listen,
how to see until they understood
everything and nothing
is apart and strange
(the chosen words can call them in)
alien as the grass around their knees,
familiar as their tangled hair,
all blowing toward the sea;
that the caught bird's heart
felt against their fingertips,
was in them, too,
as the lift of joy was in its flight.
Their father, the sailmaker,
looked up from his work,
saw in a wind-filled spinnaker
a sea-bird's white curved wing.