Friday, March 05, 2010

'Medusa' - a poem

The latest poem in our 'Images in Poetry' series is 'Medusa' by Oyinda Onabanjo. This is based on Caravaggio's famous painting of the same name from 1598. You can read a Guardian article about it here.

'Medusa' by Oyinda Onabanjo

I walk into the gallery
Immediately feeling a chill, despite
The mass of people.
I see it and Stop. Still.
Petrified by this sinister, severed head.

I look into her eyes, imagining
The fear of her victims pulsating through
Their veins.
Then I am gone,
Sucked into the vortex
That is the ancient world.
The gorgon herself, there she is, with Perseus.
Her body writhing on the floor
As he takes her head from her,
Holding it up like a trophy.
I hear sweet whisperings of approval,
See a spirit hand caress him.
Perseus then flies off on the horse Pegasus;
Beautiful just as it is, born out of hideousness.

A drop of Medusa’s blood falls:
Creating a snake.
It slithers, and bites me, and I’m thrown
Back into the room, staring at my mother,
Who, uncannily, resembles Medusa.

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