All posts in the Myth category

Eurydice In Hell

Published January 2, 2014 by rlmcdermott

no ticket at the gate

no ferryman to
take you out
or bring you in

a small bird settles
on a leafless branch
it sings–no sound
on earth can bring
him back

the poems were only poems

he never read

the moon
was just
a moon
it came
and went

love was just an empty cup
blue flowers and a graceful stemWoman In A Chair--After Klimt


Beauty Is The Beast

Published December 30, 2013 by rlmcdermott

It’s never why
it’s only when
the extra letter
fits the pain

a man
a tree
a long-haired girl

remind you of the moon

you once believed
but now you don’t

all courage in an empty cup

you drink to him

gall is made
from wine
gone bitter
in a broken heart

you turn away in shame

Narcissus at the touching pool

enthralled by what he sees–

beauty is the beastAfter Klimt


Published December 21, 2013 by rlmcdermott

all hair
and teeth
and bone

she is the
rhythm in
this poem

her days
are numbered

she stops
to slow
them down

the old cowpath
the barrels
the apple tree
the gray porch

her father
coming home
his bones

the men on
the loading dock
calling her name

this is what she remembers

a young girl’s life

danger everywherePostmortem

Mining On The Moon

Published December 4, 2013 by rlmcdermott

On fire in
the afternoon,
a woman
in a shroud
is cleaning
her own skull
of its flesh;
she has
dug herself
up and is
burning in
the bright

Polished bone
is mirroring
back what is
left of her face.
Holes are
no one has
heard her voice
for years.

and buried
now, she
can speak
of return–
tapping bone,
bird song,
hard stone,
and of the
day he came
carring a
small lyre.Eurydice

Waiting For Orpheus

Published September 13, 2013 by rlmcdermott

I waited for someone
who never came–
a woman in black
sitting beneath a paper tree

I saw an old man and his wife
the woman was bent like a harp
he had played her for years
black notes falling from her spine
a song sung over and over until
she disappeared inside her bones

this is the price of love
the fine white powder
of her back scattering
with the white blossoms
falling from the trees
the sap of his bitterness
sealing her fate

this is the garden where I remember my life

blue flowers on a red blouse
the sweet smiles of lost friends
the geometry of an old woman’s back
white cherry blossoms and a stone bench
a little girl who could not be loved
a woman who could not stop loving

the poem in my heart
has no words–it waits
for them like I wait
for you in a Kyoto garden
beneath a painted moonWaiting For Orpheus


Published July 31, 2013 by rlmcdermott

what loves
you chooses
not to come
and so you’ve
lived your
life alone

sitting in
a tree
eating bark
fearful of
the night
and the
dark song

all these
years what
it would be
a man
a woman
a god
but there
was just
the tree

listen are
those footsteps
can you see
someone coming
is that a shadow
or just the moonlight
bending over to
listen to your heart

and that song
so bereft of
melody that
you listen
all night long
it’s like a voice
singing in your ear
of love and death
and the passing
of another yearSegundo

The Salt Doll’s Song

Published July 25, 2013 by rlmcdermott

if the
you love
you down
until you
then love
it from
a distance

the ocean
counts only
the sand
an attrition
that a salt doll

taking the
high road
the blue
beat echoing
slap after slap
flesh on flesh
the sweet
cry of gulls
singing over
the bones
of civilizations
long lost to
the tongue
of memory

the task is
the weaning
away of love
a dissolution
this melting
down of limbs
grain by grain
until only the
taste of you remains.The Salt Doll