O she is a Sweeney dream
from dead ghosts into winter’s fast,
beckoning duplicity

Give me a dance
to breathe in bloodline’s nursed moan
do not stare, darling

Medusa, my distress,
teeth slaught in seawater, howling
in waves as I dream

as I billow from the earth.

© 2020 All Rights Reserved.

Written for the dVerse prompt: “Let us write our own Jisei. Write a haikai (haiku, senryu, tanka, kyoka, Gogyohka) or haikai-esque poem that reflects on imminent death—and the significance of life in light of it. If you are going for the haikai-esque, keep the lines brief (no more than 10) and use the aesthetics of haikai (simplicity, heartfulness, and pathos). If you feel daring, you can attempt the gembun—a one-sentence haibun, but otherwise, keep away from long forms.”

  43 comments for “Medusa.

  1. November 19, 2020 at 3:45 pm

    I love this description of one of mythology’s most fascinating figures. Just love the matter-of-factness of ‘do not stare, darling’ in amongst all the horror and bared teeth.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. November 19, 2020 at 4:05 pm

    “This is no time to throw the towel in
    I just heard the bell for round two ring”

    Liked by 3 people

  3. November 19, 2020 at 4:08 pm

    To weave medusa into this makes sense… all the misery to the world is to stare into her face in the end.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. November 19, 2020 at 4:18 pm

    As always, dense and wonderful with allusions – and little tones of lightness – I imagine the waltz around the room – and Medusa’s line – ‘do not stare, darling’. ‘Teeth slaught in seawater’ is a great line – portents of Medusa’s (and the poet’s) origins and resurrection.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Glenn A. Buttkus
    November 19, 2020 at 5:13 pm

    Nice to see you create within parameters; another wonderful poetic, chilly, yet laced with levity.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. November 19, 2020 at 6:31 pm

    I’ve said it before Lucy, it is a pleasure to let my mind ride one of your poems. Always well written.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. November 19, 2020 at 7:37 pm

    you embraced it all in a few lines, exquisitely sculptured!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. November 19, 2020 at 9:30 pm

    “howling / in waves as I dream” — This is great. Is it real? And how to know before you wake? — which I see in “and I billow from the earth.”

    Liked by 2 people

  9. November 19, 2020 at 10:48 pm

    I love the rhythm and cadence of this one. You manage to evoke the sensibility of the sonnet in your triplets, while delivering the pathos of mortality by the end. Brava!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. November 19, 2020 at 11:04 pm

    Bloodline’s nursed moan… if we live long enough we will all experience this for sure! Some more than others.
    Very nice works Lucy.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. November 20, 2020 at 3:49 am

    Medusa is an intriguing mythological character, as we only see her from a male point of view as a monstrous Gorgon and a representation of death. But you have captured some of her essence in this poem, Lucy. I imagine the speaker is one of her sisters when she says, ‘do not stare, darling Medusa’, and someone does love her. The sibilance in the phrase ‘slaught in seawater’ sounds like the sea, and I agree with Frank about the rhythm and cadence. I especially love the thought of breathing in bloodline’s nursed moan and the sounds created in that line, and the way she billows from the earth.

    Liked by 2 people

    • November 20, 2020 at 6:49 am

      Thank you so, so much Kim. I love your analysis!

      Liked by 2 people

  12. SteelWarrior/PoetOfSteel
    November 20, 2020 at 7:52 am

    I love how your poems go so deep into the story without that many words, it’s so elegant, so defining, so-
    Instantly turns into stone

    Liked by 1 person

  13. November 20, 2020 at 10:41 am

    Sharp, witty, and compact. Simply delicious.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. November 20, 2020 at 11:37 am

    Well, I never would have thought to see Medusa and Sweeney in the same poem, but you pulled off the irony very well, “dead ghosts” of fear and impotent loss. Beautifully done, Lucy.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. November 20, 2020 at 4:53 pm

    I loved this Lucy! Beautifully written as usual. The “ Do not stare” line was perfect. It reminded me of being a child and my mother telling me not to look at a terrible car accident we passed. There is ugliness in death and we shouldn’t be scared of it. It is better to face it head on, so to speak.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. November 20, 2020 at 5:32 pm

    Medusa is well acquainted with death. (K)

    Liked by 2 people

  17. November 21, 2020 at 1:51 pm

    As always, I’m stunned by your vivid imagery. Like others, I loved the “do not stare” line, and those final lines “howling
    in waves as I dream
    and I billow from the earth”

    I did go off on a tangent in my mind at the beginning when all I could think of was Sweeney Todd and the worst pies in London song went through my head. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  18. November 22, 2020 at 1:56 pm

    What wonderful words! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  19. November 23, 2020 at 12:36 am

    how intense!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Max
    November 23, 2020 at 7:10 am

    Oh Lucy, so very good. Breathless again.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. November 24, 2020 at 4:14 pm

    Nicely crafted! Medusa is such a strong symbol.

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 21, 2021 at 11:09 am

      Thank you so much!


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