Talking Boats

After reading Robinson Jeffer’s play, Medea, in college, I had always wanted to write about Jason. As a hero, he needed a lot of help from Medea. And when he was done with his tasks, he dropped her for a pretty blonde princess and a more conventional life, being a king, raising children. The first attempt at a poem involved a washed up Jason sitting in a bar when Medea happens to walk in. This poem started in college and got some revision later, but it’s an old poem, the equivalent of that college paper that you thought was brilliant. I think I do a few things better now. I can see Medea’s point of view more. She wasn’t just the temptress I put in my poem. I’ve included that old unpublished poem below.


Jason at 50

Am I drunk and dreaming?
Is it you, Medea,
Come for me at last?
I could lie and tell you
the past doesn’t matter.
That I gave up my regrets
like my sword and shield.
But you know,
your legs still bewitch.
You put on the satin skirt
flaming around your hips.
You painted your eyelids
the cool green of sea.
Is it still my fault?
How many men and women
have you left that question?
Let Euripides drink donkey piss.
Anyone who has danced
in your web knows.
Have you come to tell me
you saved a son after all?
That he waits to avenge
the gray streak in your hair?
Don’t bother. I’ve lost
a brood since then.
Have you come to see
what lust can shake up
in these old bones?
Will your magic make me
a great unhappy man again?


*Putting an unpublished poem in a blog is like driving it to the vet to be put to sleep. It means that poem will go no further.

Some people roll their eyes at poems based on Greek myths. I like writing them. Using myth gives me enough emotional distance to be honest with myself. After one more poem on the myth from an unnamed crewman, I decided to read more about it. I read the Wikipedia entry on Jason and the Argonauts. I downloaded the Argonautica to my Nook. From that I learned that the myth was a little like an action movie. It was loaded with the stars, the heroes of the day. For example, Hercules and Orpheus were on the Argo until they found better adventures along the way. This time the crewman had a name, Hylas. He disappeared like the guys in red shirts on Star Trek. I’ve included a link below.

Poor Hylas | Jason Primm

The other important thing I learned from the further reading was that the ship talked. I imagined that when the men slept, early or late, Jason and the Argo would talk. The poem is from the point of view of the ship, years after all the glory chasing. It’s a very long poem. I am so pleased that Light/Water published it. See link below.





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