Saturday, September 17, 2016

Jack Scott writes

[Part V]

As they say if you believe
you’ll be believed
or not, and then so what;
no law’s been broken.
Don’t sweat last call,
there’re many more to come.
So what the zoo is closing,
you have your own cage.
Bedtime for the seesaw.
If tomorrow’s lost
in tonight’s leftover haze,
that’s just another kind of clock
alarming sleep from sandbags
between the dream and dreamer
sleeping tight,
negotiating morning
against another supersaturated night:
another shoe, another floor.
Read the paper
reviews hot off the press,
can you remember what you drank,
what you had for dinner if you ate,
who you said whatever to.
If so, you’re safe and healthy,
another lie which you believe again.
That glass you see half empty,
is sloshing at the brim.

His canvas:
hammock between too distant trees
upon which he levitates
in barely shade
while watching tennis games
between the Muses and the Furies
on his inner eyelids.
He’s taken a commission:
a portrait of reality
which won’t hold a pose,
so he works from memory
and intensity of vision
breaking all the rules
with no resistance from his subject,
surprising him.


  1. In 1997, the Swannanoa Chamber Music Festival commissionedLawremce Dillon to compose “Furies and Muses” for bassoon and string quartet, which Jeff Keesecker and the Cassatt String Quartet.premiered there. It was described “as a musical juxtaposition of violence and elegance: throughout the piece, aggressive gestures are suddenly transformed into phrases of great delicacy, and vice versa.” Some of the earliest sources indicate that the Furies and Muses were both aspects of the same goddess in her creative and destructive phases. In some tradition, Furies and Muses alike were the daughters of Uranus and Gaia. According to Hesiodos, Gaia (Earth) bore Uranus bore many children, including the Titans, the Cyclopes and the Hundred-Handers. But as soon as they were born Uranus imprisoned them inside their mother. Gaia then made an adamant sickle and gave it to Cronus (Time), her youngest Titan son, who waited in ambush until Uranus came to copulate with Gaia, at which point Cronus castrated his father and threw his genitals into the sea. Aphrodite (love) was born from the resultant crests of white foam, while the Erinys, the Gigantes, and the Meliai emerged from the drops of blood when it fell on the earth. The Meliai were ash tree sprites from whom sprang the race of mankind. The Gigantes later battled unsuccessfully against the Olympian gods and were buried under volcanos, the cause of volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. But the Erinys were female deities of vengeance (who were variously called Furiae on Earth, Eumenides in Hell, and Dirae in Heaven.) Other accounts traced their descent from Gaia and air, or from Nyx ("Night"). According to Publius Vergilius Maro (“Virgil”), there were three of them, Alekto ("endless"), Megaera ("jealous rage"), and Tilphousia ("vengeful destruction"). They were crones with snakes for hair, dog's heads, coal black bodies, bat wings, and blood-shot eyes; they carried brass-studded scourges and dwelt in Erebus, and they punished bad behavior (by the young to the aged, by children to parents, by hosts to guests, by householders and city councils against supplicants). Aeschylus gave them an important role in his Orestes trilogy of plays In “Agamemnon” the victor of the Trojan War was slain by his wife Clytemnestra to avenge his sacrifice of their daughter Iphigenia to obtain favorable winds to sail to Troy; in “The Libation Bearers” Apollo ordered their son Orestes to avenge his father by killing Clytemnestra and her lover Aegisthus, causing the Erinys to torment him for his matricide; in “The Eumenides,” Apollo sent Orestes to seek help from Athena, who presided over his trial by a jury of Athenian citizens, with Apollo speaking in his defense and the Erinys as his accusers. After Orestes was acquitted, the Erinys threatened to torment the Athenianss and poison the surrounding countryside, but Athena placated them by making them protectors of Athens and giving them the role of satisfying justice rather than vengeance.

  2. The Mousai (Muses) were the goddesses of literature, science, and the arts and the source of knowledge; their name probably evolved from the Proto-Indo-European root *men- ("to think"). There may have been three of them originally (and much later the Roman scholar Marcus Terentius Varro wrote that one was born from the movement of water, one made sound by striking the air, and one was embodied only in the human voice; Pausanias named them Melete ["Practice"], Mneme ["Memory"], and Aoide ["Song"]; and three Muses -- Nete, Mese, and Hypate, the names of the 3 chords of the lyre -- were also worshipped at Delphi); but, beginning with Hesiodos, who wrote they were the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne ("Memory"), most writers regarded them as being nine in number. Sometimes they were described as the daughter of Harmonia, the daughter of Aphrodite and Ares (Love and War). Diodorus Siculus claimed that Osiris recruited them in Ethiopia to help him teach the arts of cultivation throughout Asia and Europe. They were often worshipped in association with the hero-cults of poets, such as Archilochus on Thasos and of Hesiodos and Thamyris in Boeotia. Before books were widespread, teachers relied on memory and mnemonic devices such as poetry to relay information; when Pythagoras went to Croton to teach, his first advice was to build a shrine to the Muses at the center of the city to promote civic harmony and learning; Thales wrote the first Greek astronomy treatise in dactylic hexameters, and the Pythagoreans (and Platon) explicitly included philosophy as a sub-species of music. Solon established recitations of his poetry by Athenian boys at festivals each year in order to perpetuate his political reforms. The Library of Alexandria was formed around a mousaion ("museum," a shrine of the Muses) near the tomb of Alexander the Great; Herodotus’ “Histories” was divided into nine books, named after the nine Muses, by his Alexandrian editors. But it was not until Hellenistic times that they were given fairly stable names and attributes. In Renaissance and Neoclassical art, they were finally assigned props to distinguish them in paintings and sculptures.


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