Origin Myth


Frisson of thunder and breath in a blue vase: these named me. Innocence breathed around me, but I was too much spark. I flew from the vase, pushed through the narrow neck of it into a cosmos bursting with color. This was my first true thought: the idea of Agora, the expanse of mind.

I carried nothing beyond the name given by thunder and breath. Lady Socrates opened her house. I sat on her narrow balcony near the sundial, drank wine, and felt my kinship to the thunder.

Oh, child of thunder and trapped breath! My mistake was believing I could be shed of one and not the other. The first vessel that came along and offered tinted glass? In I flew. Who made this offering? Me, to myself. I developed tricks to avoid the chill smoothness of my prison, but once, looking across the sunset edge of the last open field, I understood that a wall of glass a foot thick separated me from the world. I slipped, again and again, trying to climb out on moonbeams.


Image Courtesy PDP, Public Domain Pictures



2 thoughts on “Origin Myth

  1. Now you’re headed back to where your gift is! You are a real poet. This looks like the start of something to me. A kind of autobiography, not a direct and “realistic” one, but one allusive though still striking chords of truth, resonantly symbolic, with joy in language; the creation of a personal myth. The challenge in writing that would be to keep from becoming too inflated, but finding secret correspondences between the actual case of your life and how it is and the symbolic images animated or conjured into life on the stage of your own Theater.

    Some of the imagery you chose in past posts I don’t really like, the overly polished surface gothy stuff which makes me think of cosmetics caked on corpses. They smell to me of perfume not strong enough to kill the stench of formaldehyde. Scratch the surface: and maggots and worms. But this image I smell the mysteries of attics, or the haunt of memories in antique shops, and the scent is of wood, and of the workshop (that’s a fragrance I like). The flower image of your last post, with the dew drops and the vivid color of it, is lovely too, enlivening the senses. The oranges and yellows are marvelous, of course, as you intended, pointed out by your words, reminding one also of the sun. You see the Big in the small, the macrocosm in the microcosm. (W. Blake: “To see the world in a grain of sand, And heaven in a wild flower -“) Or the image of the Cosmos, the stars I like too in a previous post (you can never go wrong with that). The image at the head of this post reminds me of the wonderful, dark, uncanny and often drolly humorous, witty stop-motion animation films of Jan Svankmajer. The young woman figure looking across the chess board is reminiscent of Eve, tossed out of the Garden and reflecting on the trees which have been cut down, shaped and sanded into the chess pieces before her. I also think of Alice in Wonderland. You should check out Svankmajer’s “Alice”. It’s fantastic. (I checked, and it appears the whole film is on Youtube.)

    Here’s a clip from Svankmajer’s Faust which makes me think Crow is nearby:


    1. Svankmajer knows Crow. I get a terrible chill watching his work, this is no giggly-horror. He’s set the suffocating darkness in a nightmare realm, and I can’t say I’m altogether glad to have visited. Is anyone “glad” to glimpse Hell? I rather hope not, or rather I hope I never am quite that far given over to the dark! I do see how the woman+chess image brought Svankmajer’s work to mind, though.

      I bet the poems that leave me cold, but feel technically proficient are the ones with that overly polished surface you note. Fair & accurate criticism.


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