Margot Myers lives in Oxford. She has been writing poetry for three years, enjoying the benefits of working with Jenny Lewis’s groups. She is interested in the use of myth in poetry, and is also trying to complete a sequence of poems about the park where she walks her dog every day. ‘In the Museum’ was published in ‘The Land Between’, The Poet’s House, 2013, and ‘Demeter and Persephone’ is one of two poems commended in the Havant Poetry Festival competition 2013. She has read at the Cheltenham Poetry Festival 2013 and at the Ashmolean Museum with Oxford Stanza Two, and at the Ashmolean with Jenny’s Writing Mesopotamia project.
In the Museum
To the underworld Ishtar was determined to go…
when Ereshkigal heard this, her face grew livid…
‘What brings her to me? (1)’
That head of you in the gallery above;
beehive hairdo, curls a tight swarm
behind the ear, eyebrow a river in flood
chin as if you don’t give a monkeys:
got you to a ‘T’. And I can see you now
always a commotion, shouldering
the revolving doors – four thresholds in one
gold and silver scarves shed like skins
your belt of banded agate rattling to the floor
and the lapis lazuli stick you like to carry
dumped in a corner. Now here you are
in this vaulted space; the shivering chrome
the bone-white cups, the drone of those
who never seem to leave. Food un-tasted
the pin at your breast unhooked, you crouch before me.
I know you would take my place if you could.
(1) Akkadian cuneiform tablet in British Museum, short composition of 140 lines , Nineveh 7th century BC, translated in Dalley, S Myths from Mesopotamia (2000) ‘The Descent of Ishtar’ pp155-156
Demeter and Persephone
Today by Interflora
a spring bouquet; daffodils in a jug
tight-packed as long-nosed hounds
their warm yellow breath pepper and vanilla
catching the throat.
‘Love you mum’ a florist loops
in smudgy pen; nothing else.
Call off the hunt, and fill the kettle
just in case. Outside, dark-clouded
the wettest month since charts began
is clearing up.
They had planted saplings in the park, an avenue
of horse-chestnuts, red, white, red and white;
bunting which would blossom across a sky
that would always be blue. George was king
and that year Ivy was Queen of the May.
In the photograph, she has flowers in her hair
posed on a cart by the skeleton trees
between girls in big white bows, the awkward
knees of forgotten boys; and in the background
you can see a row of dark elms which follows
the line of the old fields.
Ivy glides down the avenue now
beneath heavy boughs, a regal apparition
in her self-propelled chair. She crimps her face
against the wind, blossoms toss like shuttlecocks
the uncertain sky is blotched with cloud.
Sometimes she calls to her fat white poodle
who stops to sniff the cankered bark. Today
she pauses by the dog-bin which stands sentinel
red and black; and remembering that it’s May
she looks towards the line of the old fields
where the dark elms used to be.
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