Sunday, February 8, 2009

Song of Dionysus (New Poem with Poet's Comments)

"Song of Dionysus"
by Tim Kavi

when the day had
all been spent
the songs
and revelry

alas all the
fair maidens
whose clothes
have been rent
were no longer

their muselike
Dionysus cried
for he had lied
to those
he loved the most

they fled from him
in the night
shadows like a ghost
for they feared him

in his madness

for he thought
he was great
and begged
for mercies
to befall him

just a little gladness

but not a one
to call him

there is no
in greatness
he sang
if there is no one
to love him

so he humbled
and wrote poetry
and some gods
sang it

and the damsels
danced around him
again and again !

the next day
took the grapes down
from the wine tree
and passed them
all over town

pissed his pleasures
in drunkeness
they all did

and when in the
daily rising
not one fox skin
was left

where was his promise
of immortality kept?

for his song had
died in the night

and when
she bore him a son
the little cherub
took flight

when seen
he came like
a sun so bright

so he looked
around his lonely self
and composed
the next rhyme
in the fire light

shed his skin
when the music
did begin

and as the swaying
bared their chests
he departed
like the notes
in the wind

to the place
of eternal rests!

Poet's comments:
this poem celebrates the wild Greek god of revelry, music, and the arts. He was also known to the Romans as Bacchus. Dionysus was worshipped by various groups in festivals that were well marked by parties of extreme drunkenness (he was known also as the god of wine) and abandon. To me, this poem represents the soul of the lonely, lost masculine poet, who turns to drunkenness to cope with the intensity of emotions and expression he cannot understand. (Or becomes so expressive in his artistic expression that his state seems like intoxication). It is also tragic in the sense that this is a poet whose muse seems to have left, a man whose woman has left him and leaves him with nothing to sing, and in the face of imminent death. (masculinity without femininity is dead). It also reveals a theme that is in much of my poetry, that is, the tragedy of a masculinity that is not redeemed by femininity, as well as the existential loneliness and even collapse and failure of an artistic man without a woman in his life (or love of another)--the tragic poet turns back to his poetry and to his music, and soon femininity (love) returns to his life albeit briefly, just before his almost willful death. This poem expresses the artist's inner and outer encounter with femininity (as the anima). Such an encounter enables the return of a creative spirit. This poem is also a conscious homage to Jim Morrison, the poet of rock and roll music, whom I honor as an artistic influence and also see as a similar fallen hero--as Dionysus himself. If anyone embodied Dionysus, it might well be Jim Morrison, who is still dancing in the firelight with the attire of a fox as Dionysus, the god who still returns to write poetry and make music even in the banalities of postmodern existence and a state of continual war. For even in the face of a lingering fascination and encounter with death, poetry expressed in music and performance continues to speak truths that only suffering artists can speak. In fact, one of the lines in this poem is deliberately very similar to Jim Morrison's song Break on through (to the Other side) which was recorded with JIm singing as a member of the rock band, The Doors. For example, the line in the poem that says ' pissed his pleasures there' is very similar to the line sin the Morrison song (above) that reads: We chased our pleasures here...Dug our treasures there. -- T.K.

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