Friday, April 19, 2013

St. Petersburg

Peter lifted a great city from out of a swamp,
like a big, drunken, bearded midwife,
with ambition his doula.

Black butterflies rise,
holding up the gaudy double eagle,
and they are the carriers of the souls of the thousands
who died to build St. Petersburg.

Everything had to be brought in--
breath of lumber, breath of bricks
to bring the cry of creation to this muddy shore.

Now, Tatiana stands by the window.
Beyond her, the majesty of architecture--
the bold, solid embodiment of a giant's vision.

Tatiana wears very little.
She is curved, like the earth.
She doesn't know her Czars from her motorcars,
but she is well aware

that when she stands there like this,
the magnificence outside the window may as well not even be there.
It melts, the admirer's eye already full with better design.
 
She conquers the way the Moon does,
inevitably,
with desire and insanity,
and with only as much blood as may be needed
in order to get the job done.
________

for Isadora's challenge at Real Toads.

I have no idea if the photograph is actually of a place in St Petersburg, but it looks as if it could be.
 

25 comments:

Kerry O'Connor said...

Regardless of the origins of the picture, you took us to a place and time and asked us to consider the human effort, and its waste in the face of human passion and love. I think you give the best history lessons, Ma'am.

TexWisGirl said...

nicely woven.

Helen said...

I'm in awe of women possessing this kind of raw power!!!

Kay L. Davies said...

Fantabulous, Shay! The title misled me somewhat, but then you pulled off Izy's "melting" prompt with skill, ease, and humor.
I am ashamed, however, to admit I visited St. Petersburg without giving a thought to the people whose lives went into the construction thereof.
In Rome it is easy to think of slaves long dead under the Roman sun, but in the chill of the north of Russia such lives go unremembered, while the palaces they built are admired and applauded.
K

Sherry Blue Sky said...

You tell the best stories. One rarely thinks about the human cost of building such structures in days when everything was done by hand. It's cool you made us think about that.

Robyn Greenhouse said...

A poem worth many reads! Enjoyed the history in your poem.

Peggy said...

I like this--solid and concrete yet philosophical as well.

Marion said...

J'Adore the photograph and this last verse especially:

"She conquers the way the Moon does,
inevitably,
with desire and insanity,
and with only as much blood as may be needed
in order to get the job done."

You rock, Ms. Moon-Poet!! xo

Susie Clevenger said...

She conquers the way the Moon does,
inevitably,
with desire and insanity,
and with only as much blood as may be needed
in order to get the job done....Wow! This lady has power! Fantastic piece!

Loredana Donovan said...

What a great picture and your poem matches it perfectly ... vivid and seductive imagery in your words.

sharplittlepencil.com said...

Shay, love the picture of you, hee hee.

Your lines, "Peter...,
like a big, drunken, bearded midwife,
with ambition his doula," struck me because I know a doula and the idea of her being a big drunken man just slayed me.

Just as African slaves built most of America, so St. Petersburg was built by people whose lives were considered cheap. People's value should be based partly on their hard work, but mostly on the dignity with which they treat others. Thus, Peter comes out looking very bad, having done none of his own work and treating others like pack mules. Ditto America with African-Americans.

Potent poem, Shay. Amy

Marcoantonio Arellano said...

I'm in awe not only by the architecture in the Pic and the seductive beauty of this female figure but also in equal 'aweness' of your creative writing.

Gracias!

myheartslovesongs.com said...

i despise women who have a space between their thighs like that. maybe she's anorexic ~ her arms look thin, too. skinny little smug bitch!

nice poem, though. {grin}

Isadora Gruye said...

You know you would have me at st. petersburg, no? But there is so much else here. I love the and second stanza's building up Peter and the city. Double props for likening him to a big drunken midwife. And then enter tatiana, she who is curved like the earth and does not know here czars from her motorcars.

There is a duality here, but clearly one side has more heft and pull. Great work, as always! Viva la my dear friend.

Roselie May said...

You took me in a journey wit this poem Shay and I love the picture...

hedgewitch said...

Incredible imagery, and your way with characters shines as well, both in the czar birthing his city, and in your lovely vision-woman. If I were a quoter, I'd be slapping down every other line here, but the last five are just stunning. Amazing handling of a prompt that I thought very difficult, almost impossible--but you make it seem easy, as always.

Paul said...

Well written and perfect picture to go with.

Poet Laundry said...

I am often at a loss at how to comment on your work Shay. As in this instance, I sit here with my mouth hanging open thinking…w-o-w… Can ‘wow’ cut it if I go brain dead oogling over your words?

I’ll try. Your opening stanza to me exemplifies one of the things that you do so well. You put two things together we never would have thought would go together, blasting our brain cells--and wah-lah…genius.

The history you remind us of is so poignant and well told, but there’s Tatiana and she steals the show, and thus your point is made.

So, wow. Ha :-)

Lynn said...

A truly powerful woman (and written by one, too!)

parker said...

The wealth from the double eagle and what it can control and buy. The kept woman named Tatiana who understands only what her beauty holds over her keeper. She has no feelings for the lost souls because she was not taught to feel. She gives only and with no feeling what she must. Survival!

Just my take on a tantalizing story!

Mama Zen said...

"She is curved, like the earth."

I love the way this moves.

Rune said...

I'm going to e-mail you my response. :)

Rune said...

Okay. Now I'm back to tell you my favorite lines. :)

"with ambition his doula"

"Black butterflies rise" ... I love this to the nth degree.

"holding up the gaudy double eagle"

"breath of lumber"

"Tatiana wears very little.
She is curved, like the earth.
She doesn't know her Czars from her motorcars,
but she is well aware" ... Stop looking in my window. ;)

~~~~~~~~~~

Okay, now this enters an entirely different category of poetry; you seriously upped your game here:

"when she stands there like this,
the magnificence outside the window may as well not even be there."

"It melts, the admirer's eye already full with better design."

"She conquers the way the Moon does,"

"inevitably,
with desire and insanity,"

"and with only as much blood as may be needed"

"in order to get the job done."

And although what I quoted above is technically one chunk of fluid text, I read its magnificence in six different pieces of fabulosity for slow-intake emphasis.

Bravo, girlie. Impressive work. Vacation is treating you well, once again.

Poet Laundry said...

btw I misspelled 'oogling' and 'wah-lah' in which to accentuate my brain deadness, but I got to thinking I did not want you to really think me an ignoramus! So ogling and voilà...

Have a great day Shay :-)

Daryl said...

doesnt matter if it is or not ... as long as in your brilliant creative mind it inspires