Orphan of Silence

Noctilucent clouds, Kuresoo bog, Soomaa National Park, Estonia. Used with permission.

Sculpted emblems
of oceanic penumbra
wash watercolors
upon the elemental
temptation of my
ineffable surrender

gifting a profound
epyllion of you, precious
Leander, my poet, and I,
your muse, your Hero
mythic mélange liberates
the oubliette of our
star-crossed passade
a transformative wanderlust
could but fate conspire
to secure our union

I would chose again
only the indivisible wave
of your anarchic,
meandering heart
await your crossing
of the Hellespont
each night revealing
your vulnerability,
an ablution in purity,
an alchemical introduction
to a fragrant promise

climb these temple steps
to our lingua franca
mutual intelligibility,
euphoric meta-language
of telepathic desires
free roaming the
boundaries of thought
where your foreignness,
like my lantern of
noctilucent clouds,

reflects sunlight
across this deep twilight
allowing your seductive
advances, intimate encounters
as immigrant and emigrant
meet in new territory
your fluent tongue
flickers against mine
demonstrating new words
rhythms of sensual delight
undertow and tides
of lovemaking

Notes: In the myth Hero is a priestess of Aphrodite who dwells in a tower on the European side of the Dardanelles, and Leander is a young man from Abydos on the opposite side of the strait. Leander falls in love with Hero and swims across the Hellespont each night. Hero lights a lamp at the top of her tower to guide his way. Succumbing to Leander’s soft words Hero allows him to make love with her. This bliss lasts through the warm summer until one stormy winter night the waves are too powerful and the breezes blow out Hero’s light. Leander loses his way, and is drowned. When Hero sees his dead body floating in the surf she throws herself over the edge of the tower to her death to be reunited with him.

This poem will be linked to dVerse Poets Pub for Open Link Night http://dversepoets.com/2012/11/06/open-link-night-week-69/. Please join us.

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62 thoughts on “Orphan of Silence

  1. Ahhh….. you can’t beat a good romance, even if it ends in tragedy. What a lovely picture you painted Anna. I could see the poor boy fighting not to drown and her willingness to join him once she knew his fate. Sad but, so beautiful.

    1. I think we love these stories because all love stories end in tragedy at some point- the lovers part or are parted one way or another. Hero and Leander is sort of the quintessential love myth. I’m so glad you enjoyed my poet/muse recast.

  2. your fluent tongue
    flickers against mine
    demonstrating new words
    rhythms of sensual delight
    undertow and tides
    of lovemaking…love that…and truth be told even further up a line or two to the immigrant as well…great opening as well including the watercolor, it sets up a beautiful poem…def emotive as well…but love just the same….great story telling anna

    1. Again you’ve pulled out the part I felt I was most likely to be ridiculed for so it’s wonderful to hear you felt it worked. I seem to be having some sort of romantic poetry writing fit, haha, maybe a reaction to all the non-narrative experimental stuff I was writing before. Thanks so much for the kind words of encouragement.

  3. wash watercolors
    upon the elemental
    temptation of my
    ineffable surrender…love how you set the stage with this…like in a painting…and then the immigrant and emigrant part of course…meeting in new territories..right up my alley as you can guess…smiles…wonderful anna..

    1. Thanks Laurie, I am in love with these clouds, this is their second appearance in one of my poems. Initially I had to look them up as I had no idea what they’re called. They turned out to have a poetic name (also polar mesospheric which is not as poetic) so it worked out nicely. I began this piece by brainstorming the words that floated to my mind when considering this myth. A couple of these words are some of my favorites.

  4. I feel the desire, the madness, the loss…and is it okay I might be blushing a bit too? Damn that prude…you weave a myth more beautifully than those who first spoke it…fantastic work!

    1. Haha, if this one makes you blush then it’s good you skipped The Archway (and especially the recording). I have been called prude many times in my life and finally just accepted it. Your enthusiasm always brightens my day, thanks so much for the visit!

  5. A story of love that goes through the trials is grand, even if it does end up not so much in the end, which does seem to be the trend, nicely spun. Sure brought the words forth to make it come alive with ease.

      1. There is so much romance and the Liszt piano– climb these temple steps
        to our lingua franca / mutual intelligibility, / euphoric meta-language / of telepathic desires—not an easy read— demonstrating new words
        rhythms of sensual delight
        undertow and tides
        of lovemaking—delightful.

  6. “Your fluent tongue flickers against mine…” Yes, so much for lovers to say, especially those kept apart coming together with the passion of burning stars shining on the waters of the Hellespont. Love a classic romance.

    1. This myth lays out the archetypes for so many of the romances that followed. Here I thought with Leander cast as poet he could learn the language of poetry from his muse, deepening their love affair.

  7. Anna…lovely. Your gifted talent is a wonderment. Like I’ve said before you stretch my mind to encompass all your words and I love the challenge. You elevate us all n I do love the verses n the tragedy. Happy endings or tragedy, both emotionally filled. Thanks.

  8. Love the interactions between language, visual image and music. The format of the poetry works especially well to echo the opening of the music. When I read the poem, I wasn’t sure why you were using such layering to create density, but the music explained that for me. I have no ida if that was your intention, but it certainly made sense to me that way.

    Love the meaty aesthetics you offer..always much to savour and reflect on.

  9. I love the short, dense lines here–so well done, Anna. This stanza is pure perfection:

    I would chose again
    only the indivisible wave
    of your anarchic,
    meandering heart
    await your crossing
    of the Hellespont
    each night revealing
    your vulnerability,
    an ablution in purity,
    an alchemical introduction
    to a fragrant promise

    I could read this a hundred times and never tire of it.

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