Trump’s Victory

He comes on stage

self-riveting manhood

slow clap death knell

posture’s chance

He had it like it always would

Like he always knew

He would win

Without trying

In vain

Opponents’ disdain

Was there ever

A chance

It could all go wrong?

This prize fall

Into Gotterdammerung

We hope

for safe landing

some assuring

sotto voce

and obsequious

But another

voice rises

A leader once,

Fallen and derided

Long lost in the crowd

Now straight-talking

purposeful

Backpack strapped

striding off into the gloom

with that same undaunted confidence

And sanguinary air

– Megan Payne

Sappho’s Phainetai moi – Poem of Jealousy

Got intrigued by Germaine Greer’s reference to above poem in her scathing criticism of Naomi Wolf’s book ‘Vagina‘.  Greer pointed out that this poem is about love for a distant object, not a free-for-all celebration of the supposedly dual clitoral/vaginal female orgasm that only a select third of the female population supposedly experience.

Actually Greer cleared up decades of angst over the issue for me with her reference to urologist Dr Helen O’Connell, you know feeling so inadequate because I only ever seem to achieve a ‘clitoral orgasm’.  What O’Connell says is: Helen O’Connell: “I think if you’re trying to separate out the two then it’s probably, you know, like barking up the wrong tree – I think they’re clearly one and the same structure.”  Oh the immense comfort!  (thanx Germs!) But that’s another story….

I know next to nix of ancient Greek language, but on researching the poem (just for something to do) found a very interesting web page of poets throughout the ages translating Sappho’s poem from Catullus to Sir Phillip Sidney in the 16th century to Robert Lowell and beyond.  This poem with its theme of unrequited love and the very real personal agony it causes, seems to be an unending source of fascination to poets.  I suppose that’s what you call immortal poetry.  I’ve had a lot of experience with unrequited love so thought I’d try my hand at it, although ending up with three stanzas rather than the usual four:

My take on Sappho’s  Poem of Jealousy

So like a God
To me who
Sits and watches you who
Hears your voice
And laughter

And seeing you
My tongue cracks
Voiceless fire burns live words
The beating heart
Beneath the skin
My eyes opaque
And ears are dead
To listening

And now
Your dark shade
Sits as death in cold sweat upon me
Pale shade of the green grass
I am

So poor that I suffer all.

– Megan Payne, 13/12/12

The Orchid Show – Circa 1970

Umina was a small town slung to the side of a long sandy beach where we would go to visit our two great-aunts, who lived in two different houses.

I remember that late morning it was summer and hot and sticky. The sky was pale blue with a white haze and the streets burned in the blazing sun. My empire-line, short sleeve dress of floral nylon did not help matters much either, causing me to sweat uncomfortably. But Aunty Mary and Aunty Olive took us three young girls off in our best dresses to see the Annual Orchid Show, which was being held in the Umina Town Hall.

The large interior of the Town Hall, with its mellow, polished wooden floors was not much cooler. Each exhibit of orchids were displayed in separate tents so that they could be viewed to best advantage without having to vie for attention with other orchid displays. The owner’s names and sometimes a prize were displayed proudly on each bench the orchids rested on. Despite the slowly whirring ceiling fans it was almost intolerably stuffy, the only thing to drink were cups of hot tea served with biscuits and warm, brackish water from the creaky tap in the kitchen/server at the side.

So I had to take my mind off the suffocating, enervating heat by focusing on what was beautiful. Each orchid display beckoned me into its world and impressed itself deeply into my mind with their almost fleshy contours, their flute like columns with their gaping, often blood-tinged lips springing from a bed of petals and heady but subtle and delicate scents that stole around me and wove a hypnotic spell.

Most of the orchids were what Mum referred to as Cymbidiums with sprays of large, insolent flowers with wide petals and dragon lips to smaller more delicate ones, their long, dark green, spear-like leaves offsetting their beauty. There was a fantastic array of colours. The most striking thing about the orchids was their individuality. No exhibit was the same as another.

There was a spray of pure alabaster white orchids in fresh, glowing health that had won first prize. There were deep pink orchids with striations of deep, magenta red and a magnificent array of ochre yellow orchids.

Some of the orchids were green with their columns and lip speckled with a smattering of red freckles. Another was a handsome chocolate brown and green stripes with lips of red tinged cream.

Then there on a rock crouched an exhilarating cluster of white rock lilies with their slim, scimitar curled petals, emanating their distinctive honey sweet, heavy scent.

There were a flock of tiny native duck orchids with eggplant coloured petals that looked exactly like ducks flying. So odd, that there ever could be flowers like that.

I don’t know how much time had passed, but I had lingered and gazed at each exhibit utterly enthralled.  No other flowering plant has such individuality, magnetic allure and air of mystery as the orchid.  Though some are more extroverted and insolent than others, there are the shy members of the orchid family as well.

In the temperate rainforests of NSW, the small Greenhood orchids flower.  They are hard to sight, being camouflaged by the profusion of ferns and mosses they cohabit with and can usually be found by the side of a muddy track.  Then suddenly you notice whole patches of them in the dappled sunlight under the trees – sentient, translucent little helmets tinged brownish-green each nodding on the top of a slender, six inch stem.

My mother, a keen naturalist, has a special affinity with the Greenhood orchids and has written a poem about them:

Baptistii

Hooded
Intent
Spurred on the moment
Riding into the silence of the spell

-Carlotta Payne

Mother and Child

mother and baby dead
by some cruel and anonymous bomber
Somewhere they still exist
Together
Smiling and happy
In green fields with flowers
But in another time now
Leaving woe and
That sundering silence
Untimely death
That I did not know as a mother
The child I named
would sail to her completion
so far
But what right have I
to expect the name to last?
Those names
Are faceless in eternity
The granite curtain of
whatever happens
may come crashing down
Exactly when
We never know…

– Megan Payne

 

Prehistoric Venus

The earliest works of art that we have ever found

These figurines of women,

From the icy air of the Old Stone Age

They emerge

Pendulous breasted,

Rotund bellies and great hips and thighs

 

Ballerina like

They stand erect in space with their hands clasped

Neatly before them, hugging the body

As if ready for service to mankind

 

But it is their small heads

Some with eyes

Of empty space

That bow melting

Into the flower of being alive

Like bees

 

Burrowing into the consciousness

Of someone else

To become them

O Queen

 

Figurines of three women

Venus Figures

And here is a link to suggest what the mysterious figures may have been about…

And just for fun:

Woman at the beach

Lady at the Beach

Megan Payne

Galway’s Shame

What happened in Galway
Should not happen anywhere
When all the cries of unwanted children,
stoic in their grey robes that set them up
for jibes and torment
from all the others
are heard
voiceless and cracked as cold concrete
that covers their bones

Take them away
from the places that sanctimony has blasted
To the sacred, sacred places on earth that bear no names
And hears no prayers
To the green hills aged beyond memory
and the grasses
swaying gently in the cool winters wind
To warm arms that never seek to forgive
And the ones that will play with them
all day long.