“And now twelve heifers white as snow they lead to great Minerva’s sacred name to bleed. …thro’ the depths of air she flies, mounts the blue heaven, and scales the liquid skies.”
– Elizabeth Barrett Browning
“But here is, to make the scales even again, the ‘Eloisa’ with tears on it, – faulty but tender – of a sensibility which glorious John was not born with a heart for. To be sure, it was not necessary that John Dryden should keep a Bolingbroke to think for him: but to be sure again, it is something to be born with a heart, particularly for a poet.”
– Elizabeth Barrett Browning, excerpt from “The Book of the Poets”
The Slums of MeL Min-Erva Copyright © Ry Hakari
Garnet 1, XX – A.B.S.
Today I have taken it upon myself to begin a dream diary, as Elly suggested the eve she disappeared, both in body and from the minds of all but me. It has already been one Chance and one Pass to the date since the loss of my one love and one friend, and still I refuse another of both. I, Rye who has no surname, dedicate this task to her surviving memory, Elly Elizabeth of the thousand petals.
As of last Sapphire, I am now 21 Chances old. In the tradition of the people of this sleepy town, as this is the first Pass of Another Chance, following the 7670th Pass of the Tail Chaser since my birth, I am leaving home to find my way.
Opal 23, XX – A.B.S
In the confines of recent sleep, while a dense purple fog swirls around me from below my knees I find myself deep in a forest of petrified wood. I find myself walking against my will, and the low tree limbs I grab onto in attempts to halt the pull of the jinx slip from my grip. Deeper and deeper I go into the wood, and deeper, and deeper still until I am forced into a clearing
A black light moon that never moves hangs overhead, catching a peculiar city limit sign outside the entrance in glowing purple hues and shimmering shades of blue. It says “Come young and live out your last days in Twilight Town” and below, following “Population:” reads “Fluctuates”.”
Intuitively looking up upon the 11th hour, the large hand starts spinning before my eyes, and the smaller hand follows swiftly in it’s train. The silver-gilded Gothic mesh on the ends of the sapphire hands of the clock in the moon strike midnight like two matches and the moon responds with a sound like a fire alarm as it turns a darker shade of blue, bursting into unburning purple flames.
I recoil with verbal frustration and disappointment, as I will not finish the dream this sleep, and will have to wait until this coming evening to resume pursuit of the Shrouded Figure Who Casts No Shadow in the Moonlight through the slums of MeL Min-Erva.
The air surrounding me turns and ripples like desert heat with a much greater temperature. My lungs collapse and my knees buckle as I fall on my back. I try to breathe but fail as my body bakes and my skin burns black on my hands and arms in front of me.
Suddenly, and I would be surprised and horrified if it wasn’t sudden, my body is tugged from my feet like from the recoil of a bungee cord that has reached it’s stretch limit, and I am snapped into the atmosphere to torpedo feet first through a hole in the dial wheel of the clock face in the moon…
To wake up safe, sound and well-rested in my bed at Gil Harglen’s Extended-Stay Inn, in the prosperous city of LeM Min-Erva.
My heart murmurs ‘Minerva‘ —
It’s heard, reverberating
nervously, yearning for her.
Tone — deafening, creating
a baseline beyond measure
of time and space in between
heartbeats, tempo-skipping, spurned
in silent treatment, dreaming
I could egg her on
but she’d get egg on her face
from lips still sealed shut
truth convolutes minutiae
I knew she would already
always be beyond my reach —
knowing mean I can’t believe
Saint Clarity’s dwindling
hides a tone that’s anchoring
“Cobalt salts of alumina“, serene Minerva
sings, “season both July and September birthstones —
your body’s Sapphire-born, but your soul, Ruby…
It’s toxic to potters, overused creatively,
like ’round crowned vases shaped like Coat-of-Arms shields by
New York’s Columbia Blue college students,
which might have been you, you miserable Missourian…
Foreign sown, reaped, grow Cornflower Blue, most valued
Sapphire shade — You’re lost in a maze of maize,
not in a New York snow-globe!“, crows cellmate’s ghost-raven’,
“Left unguarded, your post does become a Straw-Man’s —
every harvest’s lost Cyan cause Faust’s possessed!“
“And now twelve heifers white as snow they lead to great Minerva’s sacred name to bleed. They fall — their bulks upon the pile are laid sprinkled with oil, and quick in flame arrayed.
And now descending midst the darkening skies — Behold the Goddess of the radiant eyes.
The ground she touched, beneath the mighty load Earth groaning rocks, and nature hails the God.
Within her hand her father’s lightnings shone, and shield that blazes near th’ eternal throne; The Greeks with fear, her dauntless form surveyed and trembling, bowed before the blue eyed maid.
Then favoring, thus began the power divine, while in her eyes celestial glorys shine; “Ye sons of Athens, loved by heaven,” she cries “Revered by men, be valiant and be wise, when morn awakes, Darius numbers dare clang your loud arms, and rouse the swelling war: But first to yon proud fleet a herald send to bid the Persians yield, and fight suspend, for vainly to their God, they suppliant call, Jove favors Greece, and Pallas wills their fall”, she said, and thro’ the depths of air she flies, mounts the blue heaven, and scales the liquid skies.
The Greeks rejoicing thank the powers above, and Jove’s great daughter, and eternal Jove. And now a herald to the fleet they send to bid the Persians yield, and war suspend. Thro’ the divided troops the herald goes, thro’ Athens host, and thro’ th’ unnumbered foes, before the holy man, the Persian bands Reverend give way, and ask what Greece demands:
He tells not all, but that he, chosen, seeks Datis their Chief, by order of the Greeks. The mission but in part, he, sage reveals and what his prudence prompts him, he conceals.
Then to their Chief they lead him where he sat with pomp surrounded, and in gorgeous state, around his kingly couch, his arms were spread flaming in gold, by forge Cyclopean made; And then stern Datis, frowning thus began, “What hopes deceive thee, miserable man? What treacherous fate allures thee thus to stray thro’ all our hosts? What Gods beguile the way?”
– Elizabeth Barrett Browning, prose excerpt from poem “The Battle of Marathon”