The Empress (of Peace)

Cries in the spray; howls of wind
echoing growls of thunder, louder
as rain spits mud at the dozing herd,
the trough is empty and they now gaunt.
Knowing only the fiery heat of
a persistent sun, swatting flies
settling on flank and lash,
the mud-drops cool, provide relief.

Diseased thought born in thick blood
driven mad with heat and passion
flares in earth’s souls. It perpetuates
the sear and carnage wrought by
violence, revenge, more violence–
eternal wars of the tribes who want;
fired by the fires of never enough.

The slip stream slides, clouds rolling,
building higher, white dreams
whipped stiff with hope, hinting change.
There benefactions dimly dreamed lie
beyond the murky cast of smoke and ash.

Out of Empyrean, a dream perhaps,
where an ethereal beauty shines like a
monstrance, a sceptre. Her heart
like a cut and polished jewel,
a beacon for calm that bestows cure.
She waits shimmering at the edge
of the earth’s meniscus extending
an offer to end the wasting drought.

She holds out her miraged boughs
heavy in summer heat. Sticky-ripe. the
pomegranates fall spilling seeds on
the desolate land. At once, a new
tree sprouts, a bird sings, a pool shines.

The promise of water and wheat abundant
gleams in her distant eyes.
At last the lost sense and cease their cries;
sheathe their weapons.
Take up words in a body determined,
a tribe unified to one purpose.
Her promise discerned–
not misery, but peace that yields bounty.

© Gay Reiser Cannon * 6.25.12 * All Rights Reserved

Hosting the event this week is Brian Miller
Join us there by linking your poem and reading your fellow poets!

 


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34 thoughts on “The Empress (of Peace)

  1. She waits shimmering at the edge
    of the earth’s meniscus extending
    an offer….. you paint the scene so well gay.. i wish we could see and understand the gleam in her distant eyes and put an end to war and all this useless struggle and destruction…love esp. the pomegranates fall spilling seeds on the desolate and new things can grow from it..

  2. ah if only we would heed her over our war toys….lovely written gay….your descriptions are delicious leading up to your marvelous close….easy to visualize….

    saw your note too on dverse about rethinking your poetry…that intrigued me….drop me a line when you get a chance, or if you dont mind, and let me know your thoughts…would love to hear more on it…

  3. Pingback: The Empress (of Peace) « thebleedingpen

  4. Hi Gay – a lovely poem and beautiful image – I especially like the pomegranate as the grains are such a beautiful alternative to drops of blood or jewels. Very stately and lovely, and such great contrasts with the opening. (My only distraction was picture – which I really liked – but I kept thinking of some French empress in Mexico – Napoleon III’s wife? Emperor Maximilion! Ha! I don’t know who –it had nothing to do with the poem, which amply identifies the empress at issue in the title! ) K.

    • K, well ..I am not sure who she was. Found her at some copyright free site I have bookmarked. It wasn’t really annotated. So, I pulled her out of her boring background and put her in a forest picture where I think she rests quite serenely on a log. I liked the juxtaposition of formality and nature. I didn’t identify it, as there isn’t anything to much link to. I think she was just a 17th or 18th C noblewoman. However, I wanted something different from the idea of the Tarot card, The Empress (Waite deck) from which I took the symbolism and the name.

      • No, I like! She’s lovely – I just was on a different wavelength at the beginning because I pay inadequate attention to titles. The title perfectly clear and lovely poem. k.

  5. Interesting, how your choice of words, images, and the flow convey peace…rather than the usual ranting and raving against war. A beautifully wrought piece 🙂

  6. “The slip stream slides, clouds rolling,
    building higher, white dreams
    whipped stiff with hope, hinting change.”

    ssssswhwhwhwhhhhhh ~ even in the sounds threat changes into something more like promise . . .

    Such a haunting view of heat and dessert and fly covered cow plops—“passion flaring”–it’s a wonder they sensed her at all. And that is the TRUTH! It has to be possible! I love how you wrote it.

  7. Painted with an assured hand,
    every word made to measure:

    She waits shimmering at the edge
    of the earth’s meniscus extending
    an offer to end the wasting drought

    great job gay 😀

  8. The drums of the tribes who never can have enough when what they really need is so little and all around them…beautiful images and resounding language, Gay.

  9. Hello Gay ≈♥♡≈ Her heart like a cut and polished jewel, a beacon for calm that bestows cure. Amazing imagery. I hope peaceful hearts prevail. Wonderful write.

  10. This has such gravity–there’s a classic feel throughout and I like the notion of the empress/goddess bringing peace, not death. Great balance and pace throughout, paying off in a fine last two lines. Very effective.

  11. It’s all beautiful, but I especially love these:

    “She waits shimmering at the edge
    of the earth’s meniscus extending
    an offer to end the wasting drought”

    “Sticky-ripe. the
    pomegranates fall spilling seeds on
    the desolate land”

  12. white dreams
    whipped stiff with hope’ adored ~

    ‘an offer to end the wasting drought.

    She holds out her miraged boughs
    heavy in summer heat. Sticky-ripe. the
    pomegranates fall spilling seeds on
    the desolate land and at once a new
    tree sprouts, a birds sings, a pool shines. ~ hope

    The promise of water and wheat abundant
    gleams in her distant eyes. ~ hope
    and ‘At last they sense’ the
    peace that yields bounty.’

    ~ I loved it all Gay, the sprinkling of pomegranites, glinting sticky red
    and the messge of hope and peace that resounds throughout -Lib

  13. The build to this, is everything:

    She holds out her miraged boughs
    heavy in summer heat. Sticky-ripe. the
    pomegranates fall spilling seeds on
    the desolate land and at once a new
    tree sprouts, a birds sings, a pool shines.

    The possibility of this is overwhelming after what has preceded it.. nicely done, Gay. Very mucjh enjoyed this.

    • Thank you Becky. I always admire your astute commentary. I did want to open, & then – turn, turn, turn as it were–not linking the stanzas directly. After I posted, I realized that the connection to the “wasteland” (for lack of a better reference although this ostensibly was not meant to be a reference to that poem) in the first stanza simply end stopped without anyone understanding why it was there. So I added a line to let the reader know the cattle were depleted and it helps the transition through the rest of the poem I believe. The poem should circle around the Empress who in herself is something like a merger of Demeter and Persephone I think.

  14. Such scrumptious language and lulling thought I didn’t want to leave but lie beneath the canopy of the trees and listen to her voice, kissed by her rain. The raging wildfires across the West, the melting poles, and the ever beating drum of war all need this Empress. Lovely!

    • Thank you Anna. It’s not meant to be a “protest” poem as such but was inspired by studying Eliot again and taking a symbolist approach to the world as it has changed. I so much appreciate your comments and your taking the time to come and read!

  15. This is really powerful mythmaking at work. I love the beginning that evokes such earthly dustress in vivid, visceral terms. Your narrative sears my mind’s eye as I watch wirkd and human in utter desolation. Then the beautiful way you describe the goddess, and her beneficence, astonishing in its creative energy.

  16. This is not only a condensed epic of the world, this is a classic.

    Gay, I am absolutely blown away by your ability to weave these words into such a brilliant tapestry and a compelling truth/poem at that.

    There is such a sensuous vein through all of this….the juxapositioning of the top with the bottom….these two opposite elements….and what a beautiful poem you have wove here.

    The morality is spot-on, and that is a delicate issue in general, but here you give sanity to an insane world. I would say your words spoke loud and clear.

    I would love to hear this in your voice. I believe that once a poet gets used to reading outloud…and with a purpose….they are the best presenters of their own work.

    Beautiful, Gay….absolutely a literary masterpiece.

    Lady Nyo

  17. A truly epic tale, I sincerely felt the anticipation in the waiting. Excellent word usage and alliteration to heighten the tensions Gay, you’re a master of the pen you weild. Missing your texas tweets x

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