Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Day 60: Iris



Myth supplies endless subject matter for poetry. Here, in this lyrical poem from Alice Oswald, we have a hymn to Iris, the Greek goddess of the rainbow. She was depicted in myths as a messenger to the other gods. 

And in this poem, the rainbow is depicted as much the same - a message of hope, of building bridges, of communication - 'may impossible rifts be often delicately crossed...may the unfixed forms of water be warily leaned over....may two fields be bridged by a stile', and in the loveliest line, 'two hearts by the tilting footbridge of a glance.'  All from the hope a rainbow provides, a possibility, 'an afterglow of a passing-through.'

A beautiful poem, with beautiful language. Enjoy.


Hymn to Iris - Alice Oswald

quick moving goddess of the rainbow
you whose being is only an afterglow of a passing-through
put your hands
put your heaven-taken shape down
on the ground. now. anywhere
like a bent down bough of nothing
a bridge built out of the linked cells of thin air
and let there be instantly in its underlight -
at street corners, on swings, out of car windows -
a three-moment blessing for all bridges
may impossible rifts be often delicately crossed
by bridges of two thrown ropes or one dropped plank
may the unfixed forms of water be warily leaned over
on flexible high bridges, huge iron sketches of the mathematics of strain
and bridges of see-through stone, the living-space of drips and echoes
may two fields be bridged by a stile
and two hearts by the tilting footbridge of a glance
and may I often wake on the broken bridge of a word,
like in the wind the trace of a web. tethered to nothing

 
Taken from © Woods Etc (Faber & Faber, London,  2006)
 (*Artwork by Josephine Wall)

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