Day 13 – my favourite myth about love

During NaPoWriMo there are a plethora of sites & groups publishing writing prompts to help poets overcome the terrifying prospect of the blank screen or page day after day for 30 straight days. I rarely have a problem finding a topic but I usually check out what the prompts are in the groups I’m part of, just to see if there’s anything that interests me. 

An Australian-run group called The Dirty Thirty’s chosen topic today was myth. The number 13 is lucky and scary and shrouded in myth. So today, let’s talk myths. In your poem, find creative ways to include the actual story your myth was based on. 

This is manna from heaven for me & I immediately thought of one of my go to topics: the myth of Orpheus & Eurydice. I love this topic so much that I have several books devoted to the subject & I’ve written at least a dozen poems around the theme; the best of which I one day hope to publish as a chapbook or suite of poems (as part of a bigger volume) called songs of under earth. 

The Death of Orpheus

after many years : wandering : ever-mourning : his lost Eurydice : Orpheus worshipped : only the Apollo-sun

one morning : at the Dionysian oracle : on Mount Pangaion : while greeting dawn’s rosy fingers : with his peerless lyre-playing : as part of his : daily sun god salute : the Maenads : resenting Orpheus’ refusal : to honour : his previous patron : sought to harm him : threw sticks & stones : yet the lilt : of his music : was so sublime : & so strong : the rocks & branches : refused to strike 

enraged : they threw themselves : instead : in a furioso frenzy : ripping : rending : wrenching : his mortal body : to shreds : blood lust madness : engulfing them all

when the women : who tore him apart : tried to cleanse : their gore-covered hands : the river sank : below ground 

as did : Orpheus’ shade : finally : to be reunited

Day 30 — the second, & worst, species of phoenix

I’ve been considering this idea for the final poem of the month almost since the first day (I’d love to say Day 1, but it wasn’t, so, truth). I’ve had nothing more than the title (phoenix, you see how well that turned out) & the basic vibe of the thing. I also knew I want it to be a bit less literal/sledgehammery than some of stat/fact based pomes have been (usually stat based pomes are that way because I haven’t had enough time to find a way to “hide the facts”/tell the story in a poetical way.)

That said, I knew I wanted it to be a positive hopeful type message after a month of almost unrelenting desperation. Sadly I could not muster that outcome. Poems often take on lives of their own once you give them the initial kickstart & this little brumby definitely roared off towards a far different horizon than the one intended. Almost everything about this was unexpected …


the second, & worst, species of phoenix

so the myth goes there are three 
species of Phoenix
two of them 
do not really concern us

Phoinix immortalis
resides in the temple of every sun
predominately goldenfire
shines with a star’s brightness 
shatters darkness cos it can
& when she dies the universe folds
completely in upon itself & is re-banged

Phoinix communis
equal parts red & gold
rosecoloured wing feathers
tufts of iridescence
spot fires of sunshine
lives 500 years & dies ablazing
yet born from the same ashes
just days later

but Phoinix conflagrare
is to be feared — feathers so red 
they are as living flame
neck a gleam of gold 
golden crest crowns its head
lavaflow with each movement
lives 10,000 years — but beware
when he burns, he burns the world
consumes it almost entirely 

the earth recovers, for that is her way
but we humans, will no longer be around 
to witness to meddle nor to play god

April 3 – Day Three: third day, three omens

Once again NaPoWriMo throws unexpected things in front of me.  I have a folder of articles / images / ideas I’d like to craft a poem from / on / around.  I thought I might get to the poem I first envisaged writing on Day 1 as an introduction to the month.  But life intervened … so I went with the flow.

The use of 3 line stanzas (although now appearing in two out of three poems this month) is unusual for me, but I’m sure understandable when you read the narrative of the poem.  The colons are a homage to my friend Thom Sullivan : who is playing with : creating poetic forms : using this device. I discovered in draft one that I had an abundance of them (around 5) so instead of deleting them as I normally would, I went the other direction to see what happened.  I like the effect … it feels airy …

Finally, the system of drafting in the morning, crafting in the evening is working well.  It allows for the grunt work to get done early, then the fun of shaping comes later. Enjoy.

omens : doves in the house

a flurry : as we’re startled by a flutter of wings : aching for air
two doves in the kitchen : the dog sees this as a sign : saving
him chasing : he’s quickly closed on the door’s other side

for the moment they sit : still on the sill : where glass windows
corner : the wild inside : panic temporarily jack-in-the-boxed
aware of what’s beyond : yet cannot reach : they know not why

slowly walk to them : slowly slide my hand : upwards
between the air humming : with their beating hearts : tender
one panics : flies high : the other stays still : trusting : terrified?

flick the latch : swing glass open to sudden sunlight : air
flighty bashes her way out : calm needs a fingertip nudge
soft feathers : heat : i’m shivered by this soft communion

continue my initial task : providing canine sustenance
unexpectedly discover : a third bird in the bathroom!
this one requires actual contact : a simple capture : calm

holding this speckled creature : tremulously : pillowsoft
frightened : tiny heart staccato tapping the skin
of my palms : warm : is this how god feels : overlording us

i sometimes feel overwhelmingly protective : when patting
Chester : late at night : his devoted heart drumming away
under the pianokey bones of his ribs : just us in the world
a friend catches birds : with bare hands : stalking
gulls : pigeons : semi-domesticated scavengers
why? : because she can : to hold life : perhaps

once : she was startled : after a snared seagull bit
back : she released it straight away : as i laughed
what should it have done : i joked : what would you

one book tells : seagulls are : souls of dead sailors
another : doves inside : blessed with luck : a third
that freeing a bird is both : a good act : a good omen

old wives : folk tales : suggests : deaths are imminent
i live alone : am i to die three times : the punishment
seems excessive : for simply leaving a door open
no : i will read it differently : make my own signs
weave my own supernatural : no one else’s omen
no one else’s sorcery : shall dictate : my feelings

in my mythology : the three deaths occurred more than
twenty years ago : lived with daily : my heart doesn’t doubt
this is a blessing : a gentle : otherworldly message

this is : my version of a visit : from beyond
a reminder : the brush of a loved one’s : wings
is never far away




Bird Three


The Third Dove: image: moi