May Sarton: The Muse as Medusa

I saw you once, Medusa; we were alone.
I looked you straight in the cold eye, cold.
I was not punished, was not turned to stone–
How to believe the legends I am told?

I came naked as any little fish,
Prepared to be hooked, gutted, caught;
But I saw you, Medusa, made my wish,
And when I left you I was clothed in thought…

Being allowed, perhaps, to swim my way
Through the great deep and on the rising tide,
Flashing wild streams, as free and rich as they,
Though you had power marshaled on you side.

The fish escaped to many a magic reef;
The fish explored many a dangerous sea–
The fish, Medusa, did not come to grief,
But swims still in fluid mystery.

Forget the image: your silence is my ocean,
And even now, it teems with life. You chose
To abdicate by total lack of motion,
But did it work, for nothing really froze?

It is all fluid still, that world of feeling
Where thoughts, those, silent, feed and rove;
And, fluid, it is also full of healing,
For love is healing, even rootless love.

I turn your face around! It is my face.
That frozen rage is what I must explore–
Oh, secret, self-enclosed, and ravaged place!
This is the gift I thank Medusa for.


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