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Poem: "Medusa's Daughter" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
Poem: "Medusa's Daughter"
This poem was inspired by a prompt from moosl. The "Abdominal Faces" photo reminded me of Medusa. Now that myth is full of some pretty horrifying patriarchal symbolism. So I turned it all on its ear, used some female imagery, and turned out a fairly disturbing poetic myth. It's written in ascending stanzas, each a line longer than the last.

Medusa’s Daughter

Medusa’s daughter was a complete surprise.

Medusa’s daughter was born
after a blind man found her mother’s cave.

Medusa’s daughter had the beak of a sea-eagle,
and a single snake arose from her brow
to wrap a hundred times around her head.

Medusa’s daughter sprouted a lapful of snakes
rooted in her womb when she became a woman,
each of them wearing a human mask
and each of them bearing a different power.

Medusa’s daughter ran back to the cave
when she heard her mother scream,
but she was too late to save Medusa.
When she got there, Perseus had already
hacked off the head and gone away.

Medusa’s daughter changed herself
into a sea-eagle and pecked Jupiter’s eyes out.
She changed herself into a snake, slithered
to the underworld throne, and bit Pluto on the thigh.
She changed herself into a fish, swam to Neptune,
swallowed him and vomited him up again.

Medusa’s daughter said to the gods:
“I can change more than any of you. Fear me.”
The gods said to Medusa’s daughter:
“We fear you. Go away.”
“Give me the Moon,” she said, and so they did.
“Hey, that’s mine!” whined Diana,
but no one cared.

Medusa’s daughter moved to the Moon.
Its pale dust was the color of her skin.
Its shadows were as sharp as her beak.
Its light was as cold as her eyes.
Its face was as scarred as her heart.
“I will wait for you here,” Medusa’s daughter said
to the mortal women in their dreams.
“Change. Grow. Fly.”

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14 comments or Leave a comment
jenny_evergreen From: jenny_evergreen Date: October 14th, 2009 12:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: October 14th, 2009 05:28 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I'm glad you appreciate this one.
(Deleted comment)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: October 14th, 2009 08:23 pm (UTC) (Link)


Thanks for the encouraging words. This one is turning out pretty popular.
(Deleted comment)
wyld_dandelyon From: wyld_dandelyon Date: October 15th, 2009 01:51 am (UTC) (Link)
I like ssessu best, so far, of these. My seventh-grade niece likes the one from her prompt best, but really likes this one too.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: October 15th, 2009 02:07 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I appreciate the continued feedback.
dormouse_in_tea From: dormouse_in_tea Date: October 15th, 2009 04:01 am (UTC) (Link)
This is fantastic. Fun to read, and lots of thinky thoughts after.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: October 15th, 2009 04:45 am (UTC) (Link)


I love it when a poem sticks in the reader's mind. Some of my favorite writers are on my favorites list for precisely that reason. Sometimes I go back days later and post, "That thing you wrote, I had this other thought about it this afternoon on the way home, and ..."
fayanora From: fayanora Date: October 17th, 2009 07:15 am (UTC) (Link)
Oooooooh, I love it!
filkferengi From: filkferengi Date: October 19th, 2009 12:41 am (UTC) (Link)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: October 19th, 2009 01:55 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I'm glad you enjoyed this.
Lara Dann From: Lara Dann Date: November 30th, 2010 02:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
WOW! I love this poem. I am an artist, and I was doing a search for research on Medusa's Daughter and stumbled upon your poem. I have finally found visual inspiration! Wonderful work!
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: November 30th, 2010 06:16 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I'm glad you like this. I would enjoy seeing what you make of it on the artwork side. Also, I sent you a friend request on Facebook.

You might also like to revisit my LJ next week. I do a monthly Poetry Fishbowl and the next one is Tuesday, Dec. 7. People give me ideas and I write poems based on whatever I get.
14 comments or Leave a comment