Archives for posts with tag: being human
Achilles departure Eretria Painter CdM Paris 851

© Marie-Lan Nguyen / Wikimedia Commons, via Wikimedia Commons

Worn on the sleeve
or exposed at the heel,
	once the organ has surfaced
it is ready to bleed. Transfusion
will occur.


Following on from my experiment earlier this week with clichés, today’s verse explores idioms. It is also influenced by my current read – an engrossing book about ancient Rome and Jerusalem, in which the author mentions the influence of Ancient Greece a great deal. (For those who are interested the book is Martin Goodman’s “Rome & Jerusalem: The Clash of Ancient Civilizations.”)

In popular discourse Achilles’ heel features as metaphor for vulnerability. Similarly, to wear one’s heart on one’s sleeve is to divulge emotional weakness, usually in the form of love. The poem started with an exploration of physical and emotional defencelessness. However, in researching for this post I was reminded that Achilles was a warrior. He was prone to anger and acted to avenge. He lived by the sword and died in combat. (In another version he is shot by the brother of a Trojan princess with whom he is in love, rather than perishing in battle.)

The heart is the seat of courage. Courage derives comes from the Middle English for the seat of feelings. We often think of the heart in connection with love and romance. We seldom think of the heart in connection with rage and the transfer of aggression or avenging slights. That belongs to idioms and clichés about blood (consider “his blood was boiling,” “there was bad blood between them” and “he was spitting blood”). In its quiet way, this poem explores the transfusion of both rage and of love; both of which reflect our lifeblood of passion and our vulnerability.

Twitter: @BeadedQuill
Facebook: BeadedQuill
Books:
In the Ocean: a year of poetry
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
Shining in Brightness: Selected Poems, 1999 – 2012

Alfred Stevens Le Bain

Alfred Stevens, “Le Bain” (1867) courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

In the facecloth
parcel up the little cry. Let it
well with the suds.

With your fingers, with what is left,
crunch up the crystals from the soap dish.
Rub such salt
against forearm, shoulder,
shin and knee skin;
sand out
the rough grains of today.

In the giant bowl of liquid,
soak off the dead lees.
This could be the basin
that dissolves sharp edges.


With poetry above and life advice below, it’s two for one in this post:

“When it’s been one of those days, the best thing left to do is sometimes to have a little cry in the bath. Let the taps run. Slough it off with the bath salt. Parcel up the little cry.

Then dry yourself off and have some cocoa, honey with milk or soya with cinnamon.”

At some other point, I must write an essayette about the bath I had the day after my dad died, Frida Kahlo’s bath painting and the metaphorical salve of bathing. Today, tea and lesson prep calls.

Twitter: @BeadedQuill
Facebook: BeadedQuill
Books:
In the Ocean: a year of poetry
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
Shining in Brightness: Selected Poems, 1999 – 2012