“As if we could hear music inside the words” – Gail Newman ~ Trust
We listened, round the fire that night
and back three thousand years in time
(not quite) but still, we listened, spellbound.
The scene not by electric light
was lit, above the stars in canopy
crowded, as if to listen in, respectfully.
And as the ancient bard spoke on
reciting verse in extinct tongue
we understood, though strange the words were:
Achilles fell, and Troy was razed
Penelope weaved alone each night
and Circe lit the sailor’s heart with magic bright.
No other entertainment, since
has left me wrapt nor in such trance
as when the moon lit Homer’s song in Athens.
© Experimentsinfiction 2021, All Rights Reserved
Written for dVerse
Laura has given us a very interesting (and challenging) prompt for Poetics this evening. We have to choose one from a selection of final lines of poetry, and write a poem ‘as continuation where the poet left off, thematically, in the same mood, rather than literally. Give special thought to your own final lines.’
I chose a poem by Gail Newman and added the final line as an epigraph at the start of the poem. I was not familiar with the poem and (as Laura suggested) didn’t read it until I’d finished mine. The poem could not be more completely different from my own, so I’m not sure if that means I fulfilled the brief, or failed completely!
My poem is completely imaginary: I have never been to Athens, let alone attended a firelit recital of Homer in Ancient Greek there. Though I rather wish I had! Sadly, I couldn’t find any photos of Athens lit only by moonlight.
This is incredibly charming, Ingrid 😀 I love the intricate details woven here especially; “Achilles fell, and Troy was razed/Penelope weaved alone each night and Circe lit the sailor’s heart with magic bright.” You make me want to see Athens! 💝💝
Thank you, Sanaa – I’ve always wanted to see it myself. Maybe when the pandemic is over 🙏
Yes hopefully! 🙂
That must have been a wonderful experience. Might have even reconciled me to Homer 🙂
I take it you’re not a fan? 😅
I hate the Greek ‘heroes’.
That’s why I prefer the Odyssey – at least there are some interesting female characters!
I hate the way the women are all evil witches (Medusa, Circe, Medea etc etc) or if they’re submissive obedient wives (like Penelope) they’re treated like dirt and they’re all just fit to be raped at will…
It’s not a very balanced portrayal, is it? I wonder if the Minoans really were any better with their high priestesses, or if we just interpret them that way?
I think all those ancient religions were pretty brutal, but a matriarchal religion at least didn’t have the rape mentality that the patriarchal ones did.
Yes, it’s not something to be proud of, is it?
Poetry recital night’s are entertaining events, and your intriguing poem had me sitting under the moonlight enjoying my evening of song and rhyme…. 😀🌚
Thank you, Ivor – I’m glad it did!
I can really feel how such a recital in the right place would make the words come even more alive… i hope you will get the chance to hear it one time.
Perhaps when this pandemic is over…
You did a great job ingrid and loved your lines. “Although I’ve never been to Athens” … I have and you picked great pic and should go someday. I love it.. I’ll have to get you some pics. ❤️
That would be great, Cindy! With your name I’m guessing (or I think I read in one of your posts) your husband’s family is Greek?
Yes, tis true. now when I get a min to dig through. I know you know. ❤️
The ancient bard speaking…the recital in Athens moonlight….I love this idea. By the way, I’ve been to Athens a number of times with my job in the past (have been rejuvenated – never say retired – for 7 years)….and I stayed in a hotel that had a dining room and bar on the top floor. There was an additional space which in the summer, people could go out and sit and look out at exactly this scene. In the fall, when I was always there, they had heaters out ther and although there was no service there, I would always go and sit and just stare at this remarkable view. Unfortunately I never saw a moon like this…but the lit up scene was remarkable even without the moon.
That sounds marvelous! I did see a moon like this over the bay of Mirabello on Crete once: very romantic!
You’re on fire, Ingrid!
Your confessional small print gives fair warning, too.
‘My poem is completely imaginary’
Thank you Nick! Please tanka look at your email…
I, too, have never been to Athens, though reading your work here is almost as good, I think. Great stuff, Ingrid. Thanks
Thank you Ron – maybe one day!
This is a wonderful piece Ingrid! I love what you did with the prompt! So good. Your ending is perfect!
Thank you, Dwight. It’s not as good as ‘Restless upon a peak in Darien,’ but like Keats I was inspired by Homer.
I loved the beautiful Photo to reference with your poem!
I have Shutterstock to thank for that one!
It was perfect!
Wonderful imaginative piece Ingrid. I love where you took the prompt – and I’m completely convinced (by your poem) that they recite Homer’s epic for tourists at the Parthenon on moonlit nights.
They would if they could make money out of it!
Ingrid, I think you most successfully brought the bard’s tongue out of extinction – to say the least!
Thank you David 🙏
What an imaginative trip back in time, Ingrid! I love the fire and ‘stars in canopy / crowded, as if to listen in, respectfully’, and the thought that we don’t have to understand the language to enjoy the words.
Thank you Kim. I am a fan of those friendly stars!
Your words echo the feeling and rhythm of those ancient and timeless tales. (K)
This is beautiful: “The scene not by electric light was lit, above the stars in canopy crowded, as if to listen in, respectfully.” Lovely imagery, lovely poem!
I’m pleased you enjoyed it, thank you!
Magically told and moonlit, Ingrid.
WOW! What a gorgeous verse. You shine.
You are too kind, Gabriela 🙏 Thank you ❤️
My pleasure 🌹
No television… just the sounds of storytelling poetry to the ear. Loved where this took the reader.
Placing the elements of the tales within your poem really increases its impact.