The Poets

October 15, 2009

Poetic Fragment

Aghast he walked among the stones
In search of iv’ry bricks to keep,
But flinted there were harlotries
Whom Venus raging put to sleep.
Their rosy cheeks and modest hues
Went pale before the Cyprus groves;
For shame they lost their chastity
To stony hearts no longer Jove’s.


Of the Poem:

This piece of poetry is a fragment of a slightly larger work in progress (it is in fact its opening lines). I posted it here in isolation as it was initially intended to be a single stanza pertaining to the Greek figure Pygmalion.

Without going into too much detail at this time suffice it to say that he was a talented sculptor who, according to the myth, was astonished at the improprieties and harlotries committed by the women of Amathus (Cyprus). This horrified his moral conscience to the point that he made an oath never to marry or come to love a woman. As it turns out, he sculpts a piece of ivory into the most beautiful maiden he had ever laid eyes on, and falls in love with it.

The work in progress will be about that story, but the stanza above, which employs Romanized aspects of the Greek myth, pertains to the women of Amathus who had become so obstinately reprobate that their hearts were like flint, where all signs of innocence- rosy cheeks, modest hues, their chastity- all vanished as a reuslt of this and a curse Venus put on them.


Nancy said...

Hi again, John. I was thinking about your poetry on my way to work and was reminded of a guy I took some of my college art classes with... he was color blind so mixed his paints entirely by theory. Consequently his colors would turn out fresh and unusual and his watercolor paintings were strikingly brilliant.

Not to imply an impedement of any sort, but that is how I feel about how you choose and put together your words. It just seems so fresh and creative and surprising (at least to me) and is a delight to the mind. You are a rare talent. Thank you as always for sharing this gift.

John W. May said...


Hope that will help, Nancy. I removed the initial post from Facebook due to the change, but your 'thumbs up' is humbly acknowledged.

Have you seen the the post below of Autumn Tree?

Doug P. Baker said...

A very cool start! I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of this poem.

John W. May said...

Thanks Doug Baker ...

I hope to have it completed soon- next month, maybe the following? I have to know or ‘feel’ it’s right internally. I’ve post two poems in the past- one here and another elsewhere- prematurely, and not only are they my least favorite, I almost regret forcing my efforts … so I’ve adopted the habit of waiting.

Nancy said...

Which ones? Though all are worth the wait if you ask me.

Thanks for your comment, John. When I saw the added info I thought I going bonkers - blonde moment? or blind moment? - and had just missed it. Sometimes I breeze through too quickly. My bad.

Yes, I saw Autumn Tree, both here and FB.... it is pure and lovely. It not only captures the essence of fall (my favorite season) but also the inevitable cycle of life and the promise of future for those who love the Lord. Beautiful.

John W. May said...


Of the two poems, the one in this blog is: Does Propriety a Better Poet Make ...

As of April 9th, 2010