I’m always reading heavy and serious books like Kafka, the classics, or dystopian science fiction. So I decided recently to read something a little more light-hearted for a change of pace.
The book I picked up was from Rachel’s shelf – The Golem and the Jinni, a 2013 debut novel from Helene Wecker. The novel still has some serious themes, but it wasn’t the type of angsty existentialism I usually dig into.
One look into Medusa’s eyes, you turn to stone
as Perseus knows – but the demigod is brave
he must save his princess
there’s no getting in his way
deep in the Underworld, toss a gold coin to
cross the awful river
Medusa slinks + slithers in her temple
‘till he slices off her head
uses it to kill the Kraken –
oh! how the gods play games with us
one day they’ll pay for this
when they’re gone, forgotten
when we move to monotheism +
Zeus, Poseidon, the rest are studied
instead of worshipped.
(Photo from themarysue.com)
Note: I was inspired to write this poem after watching the movie Clash of the Titans – both the original 1981 version and the remake from 2010.
The Hight Priest of Saturn tends to his parish –
you didn’t expect to find him here
hidden in this Rust Belt town
a town eager for rebirth
a town that’s lost its youth
who’ve fled the flaking steel mills that die
on the banks of the purple river –
The High Priest of Saturn expects a successor
someone to continue the cleansing
the vicarious pleasure of standing
before Saturn, our merciful Maker.
(Photo from sciencenewsforstudents.org)
Note: This poem was inspired by High Priest of Saturn, a musical group self-described as in the psychedelic doom genre. I’ve been listening to more groups like them lately, so I guess the cool band name was caught in my head!
A golem without a master is like a key without a lock
the sorcerer created her, this woman made of clay
now she’s gone astray, wandering New York’s streets
without a purpose –
a golem is made to obey + without a command
it scarcely knows where to stand, desires pushing it
to + fro until someone says the magic phrase +
it disintegrates into dust.
(Photo source: Wikipedia)
Note: This poem is inspired by The Golem and the Jinni, a 2013 novel by Helene Wecker, which I’m currently reading. One of the main characters in the novel is a golem – a mythic creature in Jewish folklore.
Paw prints in snow point the way to the snow leopard
she hides in plain sight, her camouflage makes her a ghost
on these rocky mountain trails – we track her, to no avail
we only want a glimpse of this mythic creature
catch her on film + show her to the world in all her feline glory –
the stories of locals add to her legend
we walk for miles over many months
when we finally see her, we witness an apparition,
only to fade into the wilderness + white peaks of Chinese terrain.
(Photo source: © Mohammad Osama / WWF-Pakistan)
Note: This poem was inspired by a nature documentary Rachel and I recently watched on Netflix called Ghost of the Mountains. A team of filmmakers track the snow leopard in the mountains of China in the documentary, enduring brutal weather and high altitudes in an attempt to capture the creature on film. We highly recommend the movie!
Listen to these sirens sing, see how beautiful they are –
from afar, their chanting quickens my pulse + my
body aches with desire – but beware of this fire
that consumes mortal men, traps them,
sends them to the bottom of stormy seas,
lungs filled with saltwater ‘till life is no more –
sure, you’d like to see these maidens up close,
see their golden skin glow – if only I could
rip off these ropes! I hope their insanely sweet songs
don’t drive my mind to an oblivion from which
I shall never return – how I burn to see them,
to free them! But wouldn’t their voices unleash
destruction upon the masses?
(Photo from theoi.com)