Wednesday, September 30, 2015


Telesilla of Argos

“…an impulsive daring, divinely inspired, came to the younger women to try, for their country's sake, to hold off the enemy--Under the lead of Telesilla….” ~Plutarch, Mulierum Virtutes [Moralia 245c-f]

Before a sanctuary to Aphrodite
in relief Telesilla’s poetry gave song
unto the day she donned an impudent coat & won
well-armed against a wrong.

©2015 Poetic Justice stephanie pope
#ohjDailyWords #ohj coat, impudent (impudence)


~Plutarch, Mulierum Virtutes [Moralia 245c-f]

Of all the deeds performed by women for the community none is more famous than the struggle against Cleomenes for Argos (494 B.C.), which the women carried out at the instigation of Telesilla the poet. She, as they say, was the daughter of a famous house, but sickly in body, and so she sent to the god to ask about health; and when an oracle was given her to cultivate the Muses, she followed the god's advice, and by devoting herself to poetry and music she was quickly relieved of her trouble, and was greatly admired by the women for her poetic art.

But when Cleomenes (I), king of the Spartans, having slain many Argives (but not by any means seven thousand seven hundred and seventy seven [cf. Herodotus, VII.148] as some fabulous narrative have it), proceeded against the city, an impulsive daring, divinely inspired, came to the younger women to try, for their country's sake, to hold off the enemy. Under the lead of Telesilla, they took up arms, and, taking their stand by the battlements, manned the walls all round, so that the enemy were amazed. The result was that they repulsed Cleomenes with great loss, and the other king, Demaratus, who managed to get inside, as Socrates [FHG IV, p. 497] says, and gained possession of the Pamphyliacum, they drove out. In this way the city was saved. The women who fell in the battle they buried close by the Argive Road, and to the survivors they granted the privilege of erecting a statue of Ares as a memorial of their surpassing valor. Some say that the battle took place on the seventh day of the month which is now known as the Fourth Month [tetartou], but anciently was called Hermaeus among the Argives; others say that it was on the first day of that month, on the anniversary of which they celebrate even to this day the 'Festival of Impudence', at which they clothe the women in men's shirts and cloaks, and the men in women's robes and veils. 

To repair the scarcity of men they did not unite the women with slaves, as Herodotus (VI. 77-83) records, but with the best of their neighboring subjects, whom they made Argive citizens. It was reputed that the women showed disrespect and an intentional indifference to those husbands in their married relations from a feeling that they were underlings. Wherefore the Argives enacted a law, the one which says that married women having a beard must occupy the same bed with their husbands.

Sunday, September 20, 2015




I hear

being no thing, once burned
like a tree of life and

went up in smoke.


displayed itself

a cold matter

being a cloudy word, shows
behind it all things disappear

all image


Our sense of incompleteness, an empty
loom where, in spirit, a deep loneliness

has woven being larger than
any sense of love can reach

the son― let him go.

©2015 Walking Beyond Autumn stephaniepope


The poem is influenced heavily by another poem, Kirsten’s Path and the following notation by Leonard Park on spiritual loneliness:


A. Interpersonal Bitterness.
B. Holding a Grudge.
C. Love of Psychological Trauma.
D. Self-Hatred.
E. Fear of Change.
F. Lack of Full Selfhood.


Friday, September 18, 2015


ZEUS SUCKLING AMALTHEIA ~sketch, Jacob Jordanes 


a mother drops the pail & screams
all the birds scattering like a black cancer…
                  ~Richard Scow Williams, Vietnam September 16, 2015

A mother drops (blind to shutters) into golden time (& timing).

An in
finite, incarnate, big as Christ or big with child (twins!)
flowers showering mother's drop, milk language, starlit pablum.

Who knows of this anymore? One cannot moon fetch
standing still so let us all go live the years that make us old.

Once upon a moon fetch
Jack and Jill
Hjuki & Bil
gathering & separating
belonging together & dissolving
filling & emptying
never is the bucket empty
never are the children old

Or how falling overturns heartbeat's bleating love
love's paler pail's lingo splatters diving down
in an uprising that fills time
time, filled tenderly, that tenderness fierce.

An image of mother cloaks this opening blossom’s watery light
blackened with temporal quality; mistaking it for something
(a muddy center) or someone
will quantify it (back to black just like that)
downward love rendered opaque in dead skin shedding itself
tries to dive down underneath again; showing through, a new skin.

When times cannot fulfill a myth logical space always expanding
time will outgrow the old story, shed it like skins; skin upon skin,
a mouth opened wider and wider in a honeyed line that doesn't;
myth to mythology, blind to shutters, I’s closed;
Soul must eat death again.

Let us not write lines blind to shudders in perigees eclipsed
by eyes unfilled (not to mention lines & shovers not forgetful of being)
or the drip calligraphy of  old, old stars read in wonder
old, old woman threading again through cleavage at the breast—even Helen
laced time’s libation with heart-ease in passing it between fathers and sons
a lunar cup
glistening dew
watery light—O!
by the light
by the light
in this moon
So open your own old woman lips stippled with age and myth before myth
begins (and ends); hear the dark flower's psyche sing with hidden in
finitely here, a goat story that isn't evil.

O Aletheia, every word incarnates true, not truth, in water
clear & sweet fed in (to Achelous’ spring), a gift unspoken
(a passage streaming between a father & daughter); disclosures
carry some sense of timing—a strong force, and disappear (Heidegger)
(weaving this back in, penelopean)

But, should the shover of eyes "I" gain foothold remembering
not (negative capability) not forgetful of being, how terrifying
what Helen’s beauty faces lacing heart-ease hospitably to fill time now.
Times seem to sit empty like a hide with a hideous face or excrescent story
cancerous, the milk of Amaltheia missing from its horn.

© 2015 Old Woman Remembers Her Youth stephaniepope


1. Aletheia is likened to a daughter of Zeus and muse.
("Ah Moisa (Muse), I beg you, and Alatheia (Truth) daughter of Zeus… Pindar, Olympian Ode 11. 6 ff (trans. Conway) (Greek lyric C5th B.C.) ) Being true or faithful or attentive or ‘wet-nurse” to the in finite incarnation is perhaps the experience of the blossoming of the wonder of being.

2. The goat goddess, Amaltheia, called “sacred” (Strabo, Geography 8. 7. 5 (trans. Jones) (Greek geographer C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) is said to wet-nurse Zeus. See Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1. 4 - 5 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.)  Suidas s.v. Amaltheias keras (trans. Suda On Line) (Byzantine Greek lexicon C10th A.D.) 

3.  The Horn of Amaltheia
"Amaltheias keras (Horn of Amaltheia) applies to those living in plenty and, steering this straight course,  are flourishing. There is a goat story told how Amaltheia, a word meaning something like “tender goddess”, her name deriving from malassesthai, 'to be softened' 
( see Suidas s.v. Amaltheias keras (trans. Suda On Line) (Byzantine Greek Lexicon C10th A.D.)), broke off one of her horns, filled it to the brim with flowers and fruit and presented it to Zeus who placed both it and Amaltheia among the stars. (see Ovid, Fasti 5. 111 ff (trans.Boyle) (Roman poetry C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.))  In another version of the story it is Zeus who breaks off the horn and who then gives this special horn to Amaltheia telling her it will supply her inexhaustible abundance; she in turn, presents it to her brother, Achelous. He exchanges it for his own horn lost in battle with Hercules. Meanwhile Zeus fashions out of the hide of Amaltheia, the aegis, a beautiful hide with the ugliest of faces. See Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 2. 148 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.)

Contrast this image to that of Pandora, the gift which Zeus commands the Vulcan god to fashion beautifully faced to 'hide’ something far uglier about promethean ways underneath the image's crafted, desirably-fleshed appearances. This moment is the inventing of something. The central motif is an image of beings without being. It is the inventing of and crafting of the cultural identity of the other.  This move is the beginning of othering. it is the beginning recognition of the absence of being and a clue to its soul retrieval in poetic language.

Now compare that to how “mythic” imagination “falls”. Do mythic images fall “down” like an eyelid or blind (and/or like a blind eye gazing upon its own dark lid/Wallace Stevens) begin to see the way mythic being sees?  Does mythic imagination fall or not? Do mythic images open but close like shutters turning  “mythic” nothingnesses  in finite, mythic dominants over into a mythology and in timing lose the glistening, mythic imagination falling gloss to mud? Or does mythic imagination fall open letting a poetic line stay (as in curb or check) closing (enjambment) to continue opening inwardly showering a fetched experience of fully fruited ripeness moonlit upon the brow?  Examine the play in the phrase 'stay closing'. A poetic gesture of moving  towards an eternal falling/closing action and never "The Fall" to me invokes a mythic imagination in which a mythic pattern (something archetypal) activates the archetypal imagination letting something of being's nothingness manifest a mythos in a logos beyond which,  that, turning in the direction of a mythology to story through, otherwise kills. 

4. To help in pondering the nothingness being is, not itself a being, i.e. a “thing” see, “The Forgetfulness of Being”.

5.  Jack and Jill went up the hill
     To fetch a pail of water

For more in regards the moon pail, the moon’s mana and  Hjuki & Bil see Jules Cashford “The Moon: Myth and Image” (London: Caswell Illustrated, 2002),  Water In The Moon pp. 181-183.