#MeToo: Daphne and Apollo

I was a being of flesh and not of wood,
but that changed in a moment
when I Daphne fled from Apollo’s grasp.

I called to my father, the river god,
Help me, Father! Help me! No sooner
had the plea crossed my lips than

what had been foot became root
of laurel tree, fingers webbed into branches
leafing out to a startled Apollo.

When I Daphne, as fairest maiden, was lost
to him, the laurel became his own tree
whose leaves crowned athletes in games

dedicated to the amorous god whose sighs
and lamentations were hushed by the wind
that blew through the leaves of the laurel tree.

A Calculus of Sainthood

Before beginning the day’s classes
we knelt on our chairs facing backwards
and recited a litany of prayer to the saint of the day.

Then Sister read from Butler’s Lives
the life and death of that day’s saint––
burned at the stake: Joan of Arc;

drawn and quartered: Edmund Campion;
overcome by arrows: Saint Sebastian,
swooning and slumped on a pole.

Captivated by methods of deaths dealt
we recoiled and marveled, recalibrating
the value of being a martyr, of being a saint.

To Bury Or Burn

My newly published third collection of poems, To Bury or Burn, sweeps
across the spectrum of life, leaving in its wake moments of joy and
grief, childhood and motherhood, poets and their poems, and the
company and loss of cats, all of it against the backdrop of the
natural world.

The book is available from Amazon
https://www.amazon.com/s?k=to+bury+or+burn+judith+robbins&i=stripbooks&ref=nb_sb_noss

from the publisher, North Country Press
https://www.northcountrypress.com/to-bury-or-burn.html

from Barnes & Noble
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/to-bury-or-burn-judith-robbins/1135167314?ean=9781943424535

and from most bookstores.

To Bury or Burn

Judith Robbins’ latest collection of poems, To Bury or Burn, sweeps
across the spectrum of life, leaving in its wake moments of joy and
grief, childhood and motherhood, poets and their poems, and the
company and loss of cats, all of it against the backdrop of the
natural world.

The book is available from Amazon
https://www.amazon.com/s?k=to+bury+or+burn+judith+robbins&i=stripbooks&ref=nb_sb_noss

from the publisher, North Country Press
https://www.northcountrypress.com/to-bury-or-burn.html

from Barnes & Noble
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/to-bury-or-burn-judith-robbins/1135167314?ean=9781943424535

and from most bookstores.

First Snow

The first flakes of November snow
are singular: one––two … one––one.
They come gently down from clouds,
white clouds hurrying over to keep
an appointment with approaching winter.
Suddenly thickly they hit the ground
a cold body of weather fully formed.
For four minutes, five minutes, what
was flurry becomes a full-blown squall
drawing me out of protective quarters
to see if I’ve misunderstood what it portends.

Dying and Rising in the Kalevala*

While reading in the Kalevala about the swan
of Tuonela, and Lemminkainen’s mother
and what she did, a shout went out from me
toward what or whom I cannot say.

Hacked into pieces by the son of Tuoni,
who threw the eight parts of Lemminkainen
into the river, here came his mother, carrying
a rake of iron forged by Ilmarainen. With it

she raked the reaches of Tuonela’s river until
she recovered all the fragments of her slain son.
Bones fitted, she chanted a magical song
for weaving of veins, for stitching of sinew

and flesh. Still no breath. She sent the prophetic
bee to gather salve from Jumala’s** pots. Rubbed
on his body, it would raise her son from dreams
of evil to life and speech. A mother defying

the story as told by someone else, she would
save her son from powers that bade him ill.
Her name Lempi, her action her identity as
Lemminkainen’s mother whose love prevailed.

* Finnish epic
** God

September 17th

Is there any reason on your birthday
to believe that you have not been reclaimed
from the worm of sickness that struck you down?

In August tomato worms abounded
but the physic of the gardener’s attention
plucked them and ended their tomato
dominion. Did the physic of death

end your suffering just so? Now, like tomato
plants of September, do you bear new fruit
as a sign of time well spent in struggle
to be free of the worm at last?