Thursday, March 9, 2017

Opening the Spring of the Muses

Hooves on Helicon

Harder. The hooves drive sparks from the rock.
The great wings beat the air, driving a warm wind
Across the snowy slopes of the mountain.
Again, the hooves come down. And again.
The rock groans and yields, releasing the jets
Of the secret spring. I am down on my knees,
Catching the water in my open mouth.
Shockingly cold and pure, it floods my senses
And a figure takes form before me, from the mist.
I know her as grey-eyed Clio, muse of History.
Her sister appears at my other side. I know she is
Sophrosyne, or Tempering. She is not on the roll-call
Of muses; she has come because I need her instruction.
Above my feminine guides, huge as the mountain,
Is their mother, Memory. Knowing is remembering.
I am here to help people remember the origin
And purpose of their lives. My sun-father shines
A blessing on the peak, twin ravens, black and white.

In the myth, the Hippocrene spring on Mount Helicon, sacred to the Muses, is opened when Pegasus drums his mighty hooves on the rock. It's a way of creation.

Sophrosyne is, indeed, not in the roll-call of the Muses. But she appeared in the lucid dream that gave birth to this poem.

Image: Apulian red-figure vase, 4th century BCE.

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