Poem: Baubo

You don't want the drink -- your hand in the air
in polite declining, stark as a branch
blasted by drought, naked and beyond thirst.

The sun bakes the roof tiles above, but here
all is shadowed and cold with your grief. Thirst
writes the lines of lament across your face

but still you will not drink, being divine
and your assent to any of this -- 
the thousand-petaled flower, the gasp,

the pomegranate seed, her absence -- 
Assent means life and you're done with that now
you assure me as I limp to the board

to set your drink down. Let it yellow and
burn -- wheat and love, babies, those assholes
and the yawning-open that spells the end

of the endless march of the Golden Age.
I listen to you despair with tones bleak
as snow in this place where snow never falls

and bite back my scolding. I'm old, ugly,
lame -- a bit of a joke. I can't even
read and work in this piss-poor castle job

while you live forever and rule the earth.
Still, I mix a damn good drink. I turn back
to you, tell the dirtiest joke I know.

Your eyes widen as I strip off my garb,
wiggling sagging flesh like a courtesan
and then pantomime sex with a stallion

just for kicks. Like a blocked pipe your laughter
bubbles forth, spewing out the shit of grief
until we both shake with glee on the floor.

Laughter doesn't bring a daughter back from
the dead -- we mortals learned that lesson long
before. Laughter doesn't plug the yawning

void where love once took a shape and spoke and
breathed. It doesn't unpluck the flower or
bring us to time's fragile edge where a

choice could be made differently -- guided, wise.
No. Laughter only shakes the gates of death
and pierces the ground so the green can come forth.

A Greek terracotta figurine of Baubo, of the face-in-torso type. She is holding a lyre from Priene, Anatolia. http://mkatz.web.wesleyan.edu/cciv110x/hhdemeter/cciv110.Iambe.html, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18590768


About whitecatgrove

The musings of a Druid priestess, singer, poet and musician in Upstate New York.
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