Raven Haired Medea

Raven Haired Medea

A Poem by Vanessa Whiteley
"

Anthony Frederick Sandy's Medea by 1868

"

 

I am woman. I am powerful; no shy wife weak and worn out.

I am the witch, Medea.  The maid and wife who Jason forswore.
All my love now turned to hating – is lost in his forsaking. 

For a new and radiant maiden my husband’s sworn to adore.

But, he will remember this wife whom he promised to adore.

And not forget what went before.    

 

Creon, the king of Corinth, offers Jason up his daughter. 

And for her, he casts me off. Craves her body to explore;  

in new and lustful seeking - like the frogs beside me mating. 

Thread, fire, glass of ember yielded from the earth’s core.  

Fixed in ember his betrayal is burned to my bosom's core;

I don’t forget my craft before.

 

I, Medea, am dark beauty. I am she of the raven hair.   

I am steeped in midnight mystery, witch of forbidden lore.

Through my cunning - Jason killed the sleeping dragon

and stole the golden fleece.  And he fled my native shore.    

For his sake I betrayed my father and I left my native shore. 

Yet, he forgets what went before.    

 

How completely, I remember the betrayal of my brother

and how his young life ended. For Jason’s love I tore   

his flesh. My brother sacrificing – to ensure our escaping  

and I scattered his young body there upon an island floor. 

I left my father broken-hearted there upon the island floor.

I shan’t forget what went before. 

 

And the silken cord bewitching and the red silk thrill me,

fill me with delight, fantastic dread and a mother’s horror.
My sons attend the wedding - this gown is their offering.    

It will inflame her body and kiss away my husband’s w***e. 

I will sacrifice my children to burn away the royal w***e. 

He won’t forget what went before. 

 

Can I kill these beings of beauty who I cradled in my arms,

to escape my husband’s censure.  I, Medea, he can’t ignore

How I finger now this beading – like red droplets bleeding. 

Despite the mother love I bear them.  I crave vengeance more.

Will their spirits now condemn me?  Haunt me forevermore?

No, he won’t forget what went before. 

 

 

 

© 2008 Vanessa Whiteley


Author's Note

Vanessa Whiteley
Inspired by the painting above, which was on exhibition at Bristol Museum. The painting and story was wandering around somewhere at the back of my mind for a couple of weeks. I knew there was a poem there but couldn't think of the form. Then I saw the Edgar Allen Poe Competition and the two fused.
Flirting with the metre and form of the Raven this pastiche is very different from my usual voice, hopefully it captures something of Poe. Love to know if people think I have succeeded in that and comments on flow and rhyme welcomed. Lastly, with Mother's day on the horizon what do you think of the story?

My Review

Would you like to review this Poem?
Login | Register




Featured Review

I can definitely see the Poe influence here and as you know I love Poe, so this one of yours is a definite a favorite of mine. I love how you weave the Medea story with the structure - which is not an easy to do. For all of his faults the Poe was a genius of poetic structure. I also love how you show take Medea beyond the image of "witch" into gone mad with vengeance after all she's sacrificed for Jason, a sacrifice or two more won't be more than she's already one. Chilling, but Medea is a chilling tale no matter how it's told. Excellent work and I'm sorry I didn't realize you'd posted this sooner.

Posted 16 Years Ago


3 of 3 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

Your verse here, the language it is so classic, I loved the weaves of your lines...it was up and down, such a great rhythm, this is truly not only flirting with the metre, you did a great job, such a lightenig flame in this poem with purple necklages she is playing and I think she is saying something like protesting against what someone said to her? I think you are writing in Poe - style even I am not native speaker but I feel so, great writing.

Posted 15 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Well done. You have done what you set out to do and i can find no flaw (Sorry Ness I couldn't resist)
I am actually in awe

Posted 15 Years Ago


Great pic! Loved it. And the poem too!

I like the repition at the end of the line, the theme of not forgetting drummed home. The contradictions of motherly love, vengeance, sacrifice. I'm not clued up on the background but I rememeber something about the golden fleece myth about how she helped Jason - so I wasnt sureif you made up bits of the back ground- not that it mattered! theres depth here, scholaryl and intellectual, shown in the references and the knowledge - through names, myths, characters - that added authority and realism to the poem. The poem also used the symbols fo the painting well. from the frog, the beads etc and the gripping emotions shown vividly in her chocked epxression and the poem.

The opening is great too: am woman. I am powerful; no shy wife weak and worn out.
c.
That seems true from the tone of voice in the poem, here the narrator being the wife in first person and the picture, the solidity of the woman, real flesh and blood yet mythologically enalrged almost against an ancient background.

Nice concept, well executed poem


Posted 16 Years Ago


Oh this is dark dark dark. Is this the true story of Medea or did you weave this tale yourself? Either way its brilliantly told, positively reeks of vengeance and betrayal and, yes, very much in the style of Poe.

Creon, the king of Corinth, offers Jason up his daughter.
And for her, he casts me off. Craves her body to explore;
in new and lustful seeking - like the frogs beside me mating.
Thread, fire, glass of ember yielded from the earth's core.
Fixed in ember his betrayal is burned to my bosom's core;
I don't forget my craft before.

The flow is exact. I am in awe.




Posted 16 Years Ago


The story, the painting and your words all work beautifully together. And a perfect submission for an Edgar Allen Poe competition. Excellent work.

Posted 16 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

Wow, this is awesome. Very well written. Beautifully penned. Great job.

Posted 16 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

I can definitely see the Poe influence here and as you know I love Poe, so this one of yours is a definite a favorite of mine. I love how you weave the Medea story with the structure - which is not an easy to do. For all of his faults the Poe was a genius of poetic structure. I also love how you show take Medea beyond the image of "witch" into gone mad with vengeance after all she's sacrificed for Jason, a sacrifice or two more won't be more than she's already one. Chilling, but Medea is a chilling tale no matter how it's told. Excellent work and I'm sorry I didn't realize you'd posted this sooner.

Posted 16 Years Ago


3 of 3 people found this review constructive.

Well I do declare! I actually got a little scared. I think not your typical woman and most certainly not
your typical poem. This is brilliant. I loved it. Poe would roll knowing that you Vaneessa captured his living souls deepest rhythm.

Posted 16 Years Ago


4 of 4 people found this review constructive.


Share This
Email
Facebook
Twitter
Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


Stats

897 Views
8 Reviews
Rating
Shelved in 1 Library
Added on February 27, 2008
Last Updated on February 27, 2008

Author

Vanessa Whiteley
Vanessa Whiteley

Bristol, England



About
Born in 1560 in Stratford-upon-Avon. I have a passion for writing but my parents wanted me to marry early. I ran away from home to see if I could make my fortune in London as my older brother had d.. more..

Writing

Related Writing

People who liked this story also liked..