Saturday, January 11, 2014

Eric Robert Nolan- A Poem

Iphigenia’s Womb

Once I knew a girl
Whose porcelain upturned face
Beseeched a passive sky.

I burned her.
I had to – every ship failed to sail
Against Troy – the Gods-confounded winds beached each.

And I, Agamemnon, made my choice.
And it was predictable.  We men
Burn our beauty before us.

Her strawberry blonde hair was cast aside
In her innocent up turned look.
“Father,” her eyes implored – just that one word.

I ignited 
The oil at her feet.  I had to.
Elsewhere, Troy
Garlanded its absconded Helen,
The fairest face of Greece.  We
Needed the reprieve of vengeance. We men
Burn our beauty before us.

The male predilections
For conquest, competition
Lead us to construct vast horses
Of legerdemain, and besiege cities.

But the Gods’ dissatisfaction 
Made our armada static.
All those still warships
Sat flatly on a windless sea.

So I sacrificed.
She looked up.  Her eyes implored me but
Still my hand fell to light the oil.
We men
Burn our beauty before us.

When the flames first lapped her ankles
Her uncomprehending look
Never changed.  Nor did she move
To scale the inverted-pyramid pit
Of the high altar.

The silk of her gown turned black.
Her white legs darkened into charcoal.
Iphigenia’s womb became a furnace.
Her white arms lit up in a frenzy.
Her strawberry hair became a conflagration.
Her pleading wide eyes became burning mirrors –
Crimson-gold to reflect the fire.
Her rose cheeks crisped into orange.
Her mouth was a bright, lean kiln
Where desperate whispers were forged.
“I love you,” she told me.
Flames raced to her lips.

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