For four months
all those Matisse and Picasso women
plants, balconies, Mediterranean sea, skies
have taunted me
with the beautiful globes of their breasts as I’ve filled
with pages of scrawl, with fecund May, its floods
of green, its irrepressible
wedding-lace white, buttercup gold,
but failed to cover
the image of myself as a misshapen clown
until you reminded me
that in Greek myth the most revered women
were the single-breasted
Amazons who mastered javelins and bows, rode
horses into battle,
whose fierce queens were renowned for their femininity.
Then recognising the fields I’d fought my way across
I raised my shield
of glistening words, saw it echoed the sun.
© 2011, Myra Schneider, all rights reserved. This poem is posted on Into the Bardo with the permission of Ms. Schneider. Any further reposting requires her permission.
Photo credit ~ amazon preparing for a battle (Queen Antiop or Armed Venus), byPierre-Eugène-Emile Hébert 1860 (National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.), public domain photograph via Wikipedia
Amazon is an excerpt from:
Writing My Way Through Cancer Jessica Kingsley Publishers (2003), and
Multiplying The Moon Enitharmon (2004)
Editor’s note: The opening poems of Multiplying the Moon are Myra Schneider’s response to her experience of terrible illness. In the aftermath of fighting breast cancer, she found herself writing poems that explore transience, death, and survival from many different angles. The main theme of `Voicebox,’ the long fictional narrative in the middle of the book, is communication; the poem follows the connections and disconnections between its main characters. In a short poem sequence, the poet draws on findings from the 1901 census to re-create her father’s early life, and the understanding she gains helps her to feel a new closeness with him. This is united by the theme of investigation of the self and its relationship with the outside world.
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Myra Schneider ~ was born in London in 1936 and grew up on the Firth of Clyde. She is the author of four poetry collections from Littlewood, three novels for children from Heinemann, and has three poetry collections published by Enitharmon: Exits, The Panic Bird and Insisting on Yellow. With John Killick she has written Writing for Self-Discovery (Vega, Chrysalis Books) which was re-published in 2002. Her book Writing My Way Through Cancer, was published by Jessica Kingsley in 2003. The book is her fleshed-out journal from the year 2000 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. It includes poem notes and poems and a section of therapeutic writing ideas.