Saturday, June 11, 2005

Sappho's 9th Life - Sojourn With The Ferryman

Sappho's 9th Life – Sojourn With The Ferryman

1

As river, Ferryman, you do what you're told –
you hold to the health of salt smell,
etch the moving paths wider,
topple wave over wave
under strong wind's flying touch.

Why, then, do you refuse
the songs I've modeled on you,
as if the silted verses, crashing refrains
tough with voices spent years ago by now
have had the wrong thing in mind all along?

These were ringing clues I could
find for you, not give you – you with your
gushing spine contained in a ragged shirt
risen in an arc. Then you down on all fours
sniggering in your boat's wizened bow.

2

On the shore today, many potential
passengers. No one trusts or quite believes
a ferryman's promise, save under duress.
The river that you are toys with them, wheedles.
The trick is to make them believe this is only another trip –

certainly not the last. Why o why
won't you sing? Ill or well intentioned,
music on a journey works wonders.
& yes – who could have foretold
I'd end up getting lost among the ones
believing, lightheaded,
in a costly other side?

2 comments:

21k said...

I like how you've played with the ferrymen themes, Charon & Phaon (your pome sent me off to refresh my memory of the legends and myths) - and I also found Edna St Vincent Millay's Sappho Crosses the Dark River Into Hades -


Why, then, do you refuse
the songs I've modeled on you,
as if the silted verses, crashing refrains
tough with voices spent years ago by now
have had the wrong thing in mind all along?

is fine.

Enjoyed your pome much.

thanks, D.

Djuana said...

Thanks for stopping 21 - am pleased to have pleased you! Now I just have to find that poem "Sappho Crosses the Dark River Into Hades" - my curiousity is very peaked, as I've never heard of it, don't know much of Edna St Vincent Millay's work. I looked in my modern anthologies but that poem isn't there. Next place to look - the net of course.

Thanks again

djxo