The greatest honour a woman can have is to be least spoken of in men’s company, whether in praise or in criticism.
Pericles’ Funeral Oration (after 490 BCE) from Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War
The Assassin’s Creed games have taken your image, placed you at the centre of their storyline as the ultimate villain and laid Pericles’ death at your feet. It makes me wonder if Thucydides was wishing you away when he wrote the Funeral Oration in his play, tongued words of rebuke into Pericles’ mouth to made it clear that you would have been best, sticking to your shadows with the other none-citizens. Or better yet, if you could have pretended the role of a true Athenian wife: silent, and isolated at her spinning in another room, while the men burned hot in their political worlds instead of staking yourself a place among them, and into history, as just too brilliant to possibly be respectable for where’s there is smoke there is always fire.
The men may have their forums, but I still speak and build my own places of discussion, for there is a freedom in love without the binds of law when means my tongue has no need to bow down to politicians or their stages. After two and a half millennium I am dust and nothing remains of what I wrote except in the gossip of others’ which is always a shade of fiction on the truth and too often without inspiration for how to bring down another woman stepping outside the chalk lines men draw. Do not believe all that is written, or all that is said, it becomes too easy to make figures when the known history is soft enough to mould into shapes that suit the reader best.
write a two-part poem, in the form of an exchange of letters. The first stanza (or part) should be in the form of a letter that you write either to yourself or to a famous fictional or historical person. The second part should be the letter you receive in response.
NaPoWriMo – Day Eleven Prompt
If you would like a half-an-hour podcast of who Aspasia was exactly, then I thoroughly recommend Natalie Haynes episode on her from Natalie Haynes Stands Up For The Classics on BBC 4. She was the lover of the Athenian politician Pericles, (known as the father of Democracy) and utterly unique for her time. Once I’ve finished my post on the women of the Peasant Revolt I think I’ll have to spend some time pulling together a blog post about her, because she was an amazing historical figure pushing the boundaries of what women were allowed to do, and what was assumed about them.
First it was the slugs, then the pigeons, this year squirrels and not just the one hiding shells in the grates of our drain pipes. This year there’s a pair of them running track along the broken fence line.
Once there is time I must download one of those meditation apps and learn how to let go of the little things out of my control. I should make space for more me-time, worry less about the lives of others and untangle their questions from my existence. I read a quote once, it said we are more than what people make of us, which was nice but not so accurate when you’re an idea rather than a flesh sack and what people make of you, makes you more and more… I should learn how to trim down for summer maybe? Shed the unnecessary pounds, find a way to slip back inside a double handled jar, put a lid on it, sleep. Tell them all to make their own way for once, that I am done guiding or being blamed for every bad decision that was ever made.
write a poem in the form of a “to-do list.”
NaPoWriMo 2021 – Day 9 Prompt
I love a “to-do” list. I have them at work every day, and outside of work I jot down little lists of things I want to achieve with my free time or important tasks that must not be forgotten. My own list for today looks a little like this:
Write NaPoWriMo Day Nine Post (Done!)
Deal with house stuff. (Done!)
Submit rejected short story to the journal suggested by the editor of the journal that rejected it.
Submit a poem (or poems) to Spelt.
Compile submission document for Interpreter’s House.
Make a list of submission calls for the rest of April.
Write 1,000 words for NaNoWriMo
I always find that if I get the first couple of things ticked off first thing, I’ve got the momentum to get the rest of the list done. If I leave it all to the last hour of the day, nothing will be achieved and I’ll just file the list away with the rest of the good-intentions that never saw the light of day. Have any of you got “to-do list” tips for an expert procrastinator?
I like to imagine someone finding me. Perhaps stripping up floorboards on a Sunday and finding my femur cocooned in the hidden vestments of a priest also long dead, and buried.
Somewhere out there I have ten fingers, ten toes, and twenty-four knobbled bits of spine that have been turned over, kissed, caressed, worshipped more thoroughly than I think I ever was in life.
Funny thing isn’t it, the idea of relics, when with each breath, what dark deeds I slipped into the hidden hours! When no one else was waking or watching and I could move freely, like a wraith.
They built a reliquary around my skull, but gave it another man’s name and called me saint. Then the King’s men came, beat the bone until the alter glittered with dust and there was one less piece of me.
I like to imagine someone finding me, the slow horror on their faces at the bone clack of de-fleshed limbs shifting, their trembling hands lifting cloth to find that I’m still here.
I’m mixing prompts again today. Day Eight for NaPoWriMo was the challenge to “write your own poem in the form of a monologue delivered by someone who is dead.” I mulled this challenge over for a while, and this morning I thought of the perfect way to merge it with last night’s DVerse Meet The Bar challenge.
Write a poem about the body parts (e.g. eyes, hands, feet) as a metaphor and/or story. It doesn’t have to be about your body or family’s history (from the first person experience), if this makes it uncomforable for you. You can write about the body’s experience of someone else (from a third person narrative perspective). You create the mood – serious, or sad or sexy, or funny or filled with nostalgia.
Relics played a pivotal in medieval Christianity, though the validity of these relics is sometimes questionable. During the reign of Henry VIII, and the reformation, ‘Popish’ totems were destroyed and the churches stripped to bring them more in line with the developing Protestant faith in England. Many of these items were hidden away for safe keeping however, and some were brought back out during the reign of Mary I. Some were lost forever. My thought was this, how would someone feel about their body being dug up and distributed across a country, perhaps a continent, under the claim that the bones belonged to a famous saint?
Dark mouths open. Hollow depths, or so it appears until a scream finally sounds.
Before my husband and I started dating, I wrote a fib for him a thank-you gift for fixing my laptop. It was NaPoWriMo that introduced me to the form, and he’d never received a poem as a gift before so he found it quite novel. Now I’m not saying poetry is the basis of my marriage, but sometimes a little fib can go a long way.