Friday, November 13, 2015

Austin Belanger writes

The Muse

In the shadows the muse comes to me,
Hidden behind an illusion of my inner voice,
Most times hiding within the darkened corners of my mind,
Where the candle dares not tread,
It casts its net into the void of thought,
Where feelings and disconnected reality lies,
Grasping words I cannot know,
But do.

My messenger and reflection,
Collects what he will,
From this whirling tempest of ideas,
The chasm of my real beliefs,
My forgotten smiles,
The passing tears,
Hidden by a dark veil,
Only to be revealed upon my pillow each night,
In dreams visiting from the nether,
He presents his catch as a whirling cacophony,
A din of feeling and ideas,
Not tangible at first,
Just a seed,
That takes root in my soul and grows.

And then the child of this strange gift,
Is born upon a piece of paper,
And polished to sound more refined,
But the muse cares not the form,
He just smiles in the corner of my dreams,
Knowing that the message,
Is delivered,
Looking for the next.



  1. In modern usage, a muse is someone who inpires the creation of some artistic endeavor. But originally the Muses were a plurality who represented knowledge and the arts, especially music and literature, though their number, names, and functions fluctuated over time and distance.
    As a triad, they were worshiped on Mount Helicon: Melete or Practice (or Occasion), who was born from the movement of water; Mneme or Memory, who makes sound by striking the air; and Aoide or Song oir Tune), .who is embodied in the human voice. Together, they represented the preconditions of poetic art in cult practice. In Delphi, three Muses were also worshiped but with other names -- Nētē, Mesē, and Hypatē, the three chords of the stringed instrument, the lyre, regarded as the invention of Hermes, the divine patron of thieves, oratory and wit, literature and poetry, athletics and sports, invention and trade; Later these Muses were called Cēphisso, Apollonis, and Borysthenis, whose names characterize them as daughters of the sun god Apollo, the god of music.
    At times they were a quartet of water nymphs born from the four sacred springs that were created when the hooves of the flying horse Pegasus touched ground on Helicon. Athena, the goddess of wisdom, later tamed and presented the horse to them .Another foursome were Thelxinoë, Aoedē, Arche, and Meletē, daughters of Zeus or of the even earlier sky god, the titan Uranus.
    Seven Muses -- Neilo, Tritone, Asopo, Heptapora, Achelois, Tipoplo, and Rhodia -- were fathered by king Pierus of Macedon and a Pimpleian nymph. In a union with either Calliope or Terpsichore the Muse, he was also said to be the father of Linus, the inventor of melody and rhythm and the author of pre-Greek ("Pelasgic") stories such as those about Dionysus, the god of theater, fertility, wine, ritual madness, and religious ecstasy. Linus was killed with his own lyre after he criticized his student Heracles for playing the instrument badly, The son (or brother) of Linus, was Orpheus, the composer of the Orphic Hymns.While living with the Muses in Parnassus, he met Apollo, who was courting Thalia, the laughing muse. Apollo gave Orpheus a golden lyre and taught him to play it, while Calliope taught him to make verses for singing. His music could charm birds, fish and wild beast, coax the trees and rocks to dance, divert the course of rivers, and even have power over Hades, the god of the underworld. He gave various gifts to mankind, including medicine, writing, and agriculture. He persuaded cannibals to subsist on fruit and introduced order and civilization to savages. When Jason and the Argonauts approached the home of the Sirens, Orpheus played music that overpowered their ability to lure sailors onto the rocky shore with their music. However, he was killed by people who could not hear his music; the Muses gathered and buried the pieces of his dead body.
    (That same Pieria was also alleged to be the father of the nine Pierides, whom he named after the Muses, believing that their skills were superior. He arranged a contest, which led to his daughters losing and being changed into magpies -- or, more specifically, into birds named Colymbas, Iynx, Cenchris, Cissa, Chloris, Acalanthis, Nessa, Pipo, and Dracontis -- the Greek names for the wryneck, hawk, jay, duck, goldfinch, and four other birds with no recognizable modern equivalents. A different Pierus was also associated with the Muses: After Clio derided Aphrodite for her passion for Adonis, the goddess of love punished her by forcing her to love Pierus; their son Hyacinth was the first man to love another man.

  2. But most often the Muses were portrayed as nine sisters, the daughters of and the titaness Mnemosyne (memory personified), according to their oldest chronicler, Hesiod. Later poets, however, made their roots more primordial, the children of the titans Uranus and Gaia (Father Sky and Mother Earth). (The historian Pausanias tried to reconcile the discrepancy by claiming two different generations of Muses.) Yet another genealogy made them the children of Harmonia (the daughter of Aphrodite and Ares -- love and war), the husband of the Cadmus who introduced the alphabet to the Greeks. Cadmus gave his bride a necklace which he had received from his sister Europa (or from Hephaestus, the god of craftsmen, artisans, and sculptors). Since this necklace would bring misfortune to all who possessed it, it is tempting to make it analogous to the fruit of their union, the Muses themselves, who were paradoxically portrayed as dancing at the wedding.
    Their standards were high, and their punishment of those who fell short were severe. In one instance,Thamyris, who was one of the three students of Linus, (and who was credited with inventing the Dorian mode of harmoniai -- the characteristic melodic behaviour, or the scale structure associated with it -- and with being the first to play the cithara as a solo instrument without vocal accompaniment, as well as authoring a lost epic, the Titanomachy), challenged them to a singing contest; if he won he demanded the right to marry one of them (or have sex with them all); but he lost, and they not only blinded him but deprived him of his ability to sing, compose poetry, or play the lyre. (He was also said to have been the lover of Hyacinth.)
    In another incident they acted as judges in a contest between Apollo and Marsyas, a Satyr who was the son of Heracles' son Olympus. (Alternatively, Olympus was Marsyas' son or pupil.) The Romans came to regard Marsyas as the inventor of augury and a powerfdul proponent of free speech and of saying truth to power, as well as being the composer of a popular patriotic hymn to the Phrygian Great Mother, which was believed by the Phrygians themselves to protect them from invaders. Athena, goddess of wisdom, had invented the aulos, a double-piped reed instrument, but she cursed it and threw it away after the other gods made fun of her bulging cheeks when she played it. Marsyas recovered it and became expert, exciting the jealousy of Apollo (or, conversely, it was claimed Marsyas challenged Apollo in a fit of hubris.) After losing he first round, Apollo turned his lyre upside down and played the same tune again, which was a feat Marsyas could not duplicate on the aulos. Or perhaps Apollo added his voice to the sound of the lyre; Marsyas protested that instrumental skill should be the only criterion, but Apollo countered that Marsyas did the same thing when he blew into the pipes. In either case, the Muses awarded the victory to Apollo, who flayed his opponent alive and nailed his skin to a pine tree. (Plato insisted that it was made into a wineskin.)
    Before embarking on a tour of Asia and Europe, while passing through Ethiopia, Osiris recruited the nine Muses, along with the Satyrs (male dancers), and they taught the arts of cultivation wherever they went.

  3. Eventually the Romans established a stable list of Muse names and functions, though even then some variation survived:
    --Calliope ("beautiful-voiced") presided over eloquence and epic poetry; so called from the ecstatic harmony of her voice. Regarded as the wisest of the Muses, she was also the most assertive. She inspired and protected her chosen authors and their works until their vision was realized, and then she consumed them. Her name has been given to the organ associated with circuses, as Austin points out in his reference to "whirling cacophony."
    --Clio, whose name was derived from a Greek root meaning "to recount," "to make famous," or "to celebrate;" was the Muse of history and sometimes of lyre playing. She was the mother of Hymenaios, a god of marriage ceremonies, inspiring feasts and song.
    --Euterpe (from "rejoicing well" or "delight") was the Muse of music, song, and elegiac and lyric poetry. Sometimes she was regarded as the inventor of the aulos instead of Athena. She and the river god Strymon were the parents of the Thracian king Rhesus, who was raised by fountain nymphs.After he was killed at Troy, Euterpe announced his imminent resurrection and immortality.
    --Erato (perhaps meaning "desired" or "lovely" if her name is derived from the same root as Eros) was the Muse of poetry, especially lyric poetry..She, rather than Apollo, was sometimes credited with inventing the lyre.
    --Melpomene ("to sing" or "the one that is melodious," derived from the verb meaning "to celebrate with dance and song.") was initially the Muse of singing but eventually became the Muse of tragedy.
    --Polyhymnia ("the one of many hymns"), was the Muse of sacred poetry, sacred hymn, dance, and eloquence as well as agriculture and pantomime, and sometimes of geometry and meditation.
    --Terpsichore ("delight in dancing") was the Muse of dance and chorus and the mother of the Sirens. The daughters of the Muse and the river god Achelous, there were at least two and as many as five of them. They were portrayed as birds with large women's heads, feathers, and scaly feet, or as female figures with the legs of birds, with or without wings, playing a variety of musical instruments, especially harps. Called the Muses of the lower world, their song was a continuous call for their companion Persephone before her abduction by Hades. Hera, queen of the gods, persuaded the Sirens to enter a singing contest against the Muses, who won and then plucked out all of their feathers and made crowns out of them.
    --Thalia ("the joyous, the flourishing,") presided over comedy and idyllic poetry. She and Apollo were ritually considered the parents of the Corybantes, the armored and crested worshipers of the Phrygian goddess Cybele,who kept time to a drum and the rhythmic stamping of their feet. Like music and wine-making, dance was one of the civilizing human activities, and the dance in armor was a male coming-of-age initiation ritual linked to a warrior victory celebration. Besides being guardians, nurturers, and initiators of the infant Zeus, the Kouretes were magicians, seers, and metal workers at a time when metallurgy was considered an almost magical art.
    --Urania (meaning 'heavenly' or 'of heaven') was the Muse of astronomy, able to foretell the future by the arrangement of the stars. The eldest of the sisters, she inherited Zeus' majesty and power and the beauty and grace of Mnemosyne.


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