Sunday, September 30, 2018

Michael Brownstein writes


and there go dream streams, popsicles of color,
rude shapes of violet red scarlet green,
ghosts of skin, happy teeth, excited eyes,
sand filling hourglasses, every hour of our lifetime.
Still the course is clearly marked, the inlet set,
the island chained between two paths of river.
Spring comes again into our consciousness,
the tall hickory, a Rose of Sharon, thick oak.

A jaybird stranded last November
welcomes the songbirds to surround her
and we who have one gold coin fixed to our hand
let it fall onto earth to become seed.
None of us wish to pay for safe crossing.
Psyche Giving the Coin to Charon (Palace Green Murals)
Psyche Giving the Coin to Charon -- Edward Burne-Jones

Artist: Attributed to Henry Tresham | Drawing: Psyche Giving Her Coin to Charon | Date: 1796 | Vintage Fine Art Print
 Psyche Giving Her Coin to Charon -- Henry Tresham

1 comment:

  1. Lucius Apuleius Madaurensi included the story of Cupido and Anima in his "Metamorphoses" in the 2nd century, the only extant complete Roman novel (Aurelius Augustinus Hipponensis -- St Augustine -- referred to it as "Asinus aureus," The Golden Ass). Anima is almost universally referred to by her Greek name Psyche (soul, or breath of life). In a fit of jealousy Venus the goddess of love had Psyche whipped and punished by her handmaids Worry and Sadness, then sent her to the underworld with a box to obtain a dose of the beauty of Proserpina (Persephone). She is advised to take 2 coins in her mouth for Charon the ferryman to pay for a round trip voyage across the river into Hades; she was also advised to ignore a dead man swimming in the river, lest she be diverted from her task. According to tradition, the coin was an obol, a spit of copper, bronze, or iron that was traded by weight; 6 obols equalled 1 drachma ("handful," since that was as many obols as could be held in one hand. 1 obol was worth 3 liters [6 pints] of wine, while a prostitute cost 3 obols). Charon, the son of Erebus (darkness) and his sister Nyx (night), the children of Chaos, was the ferryman who conveyed souls across the river that divided the world of the living from the world of the dead. Charon pushed those who could not afford the passage out of the boat and they were condemned to wander the far shores of Hades.


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