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Feb 16
sappho greets her as she
would a reflection:
hand against hand, staring into
her eyes. silence dancing
around them as a long-lost love-
r.

enheduanna sighs at the contact
and the quiet shifts as
her fingers close:
as there is no need for language
when her
inanna will grant them
a holy diadem.

-----

eternity reeks
of nights out on the lawn
daisies growing with the weeds
pillowing beneath the two
dwindling women -
hands clasped tightly,
their eyes closed.
...lapis blooming
within the petals
of the undergrowth...

gods slumber amongst
worthy poets occluding,
heart-soothing each
other without words
or sonnets
or divination.

sappho dared to
look out from
heavy-lidded
lethargy,
for she was
yearning:
at dawn

...her honeyvoiced,
    mythweaving
    enheduanna:
    a sweet-shelter
    of temptation
    and goddesses
    who wage
    tender war and
    drink from pools
    of sun...

at dawn
the ancient
divine
poet
gazes
again

and sappho
forgets she
too is nearly
as old

for her lover wears
an invisible golden-
crowned circlet
of springtime
and illuminated
lands.

but she can hardly think
anymore, when
the songsmith of
glory and prayer
is kissing her.

laying in the basin
of heaven and skies
she pours restless
eternity down
her throat.


----

lapis melts
to pink clovers
of fowlerite

no mortals notice

two bodies blending
between poems
rustling tunics
maidens casting
away their  
fruitful

sobriety.

----

poet
dreams
a woman
of verse.

hardly expecting
shallow-breathed
kisses of burning
solstice and
unrequited
love.
for this piece,  i wrote about sappho and enheduanna. both ancient poets, both incredible women who achieved a lot with their poems and lyrics. i allude to some phrases/words from sappho's fragments, as well as verses from enheduanna's poems.

i also referenced quite a few letters from open me carefully, a collection of emily dickinson's letters (what remains of them) to susan huntington, her close friend and eventual sister-in-law. the references are honestly vague and you might only catch them if you've read at least the first chapter of the collection.

also the title is a fragment from sappho, featured in "if not, winter"

here's some info on all of that for some much-needed context.

sappho: (l. c. 620-570 BCE) was a lyric poet whose work was so popular in ancient that she was honored in statuary and centuries after her. little remains of her work, and these fragments suggest she was gay. her name inspired the terms 'sapphic' and 'lesbian', both referencing female same-*** relationships.  

[some phrases/words from this piece were taken/inspired by "if not, winter" - a collection of fragments of sappho's lyrics and poems].

bio source: wordhistory . org

enheduanna: (pronounced en-hoo-d-ah-na)  was an akkadian-sumerian princess, poet, and priestess who lived around 2285 BCE. not only was she the first author on record - she was also daughter to king sargon of the akkadian empire, a powerful woman figure, and the backbone to a synthesization of two newly unified cultures.

she is acknowledged to have penned the first known example of poetry, and wrote 42 hymns that were read across the akkadian empire. additionally, she was the first named poet to refer to herself with the "i" perspective. through her writings, she combined the akkadian counterpart (ishtar) of the sumerian inanna into a single goddess that brought akkadians and sumerians alike together. though this first served as a culturally-conscious and politically driven move, it morphed beautifully into enheduanna's lifelong relationship with inanna.

enheduanna's success and works as the high priestess at the temple ur helped bridge a gap between self-discovery and religion. many of her hymns and poems - especially "the exaltation of inanna" gave a human connection to gods; something far more powerful in the long run, compared to the old ways of gods growing the land, mixing the sea.

[i ripped all this out of a research paper i wrote a few years ago. enheduanna is my niche special interest and i find her life and story so utterly fascinating].

open me carefully: emily dickinson's intimate letters to susan huntington dickinson

susan huntington gilbert and emily elizabeth dickinson were born within days of each other in December 1830. they may have known each other from girlhood; they certainly knew each other from adolescence; and they had begun to correspond by the age of twenty. their relationship spanned nearly four decades, and for three of those decades, the women were next-door neighbors. together, susan and emily lived through the vicissitudes of a life closely shared: susan's courtship, engagement, and eventual marriage to emily's brother, austin; susan and austin's setting up home next door to the dickinson homestead; the births of susan and austin's three children, and the tragic death of their youngest son, gib.

in open me carefully, we see that emily was not the fragile, childlike, virginal "bride who would never be" writing precious messages about flowers, birds, and cemeteries from the safety and seclusion of her bedroom perch in amherst, massachusetts. dickinson was devoted to her craft, and she was dedicated to integrating poetry into every aspect of her day-to-day life. she was engaged in philosophical and spiritual issues as well as all the complexities of family life and human relationships. she knew love, rejection, forgiveness, jealousy, despair, and electric passion, and she lived for years knowing the intense joy and frustration of having a beloved simultaneously nearby, yet not fully within reach.

Emily Dickinson Archive

NY Times Archive
ophelia letourneau
Written by
ophelia letourneau  24/F/north carolina
(24/F/north carolina)   
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