In honor of my acceptance, I wanted to share with you one of the poems I submitted in my body of work. This is a poem in a series where goddesses (and other women) share their myth in their own voice. For each poem, I connected with each goddess, researched the legends as they exist now, and let them speak. In Pandora’s history, she’s typically vilified for not being obedient (a trait usually praised in heroes). Each woman’s poem is conceived as a message to us as her daughters and the wisdom of her life that she wants us to know. I’ve included a voice recording for those of you who prefer that. Don’t forget to subscribe to this page if you want to receive blog posts automagically!
I did it on purpose.
I know you’d like to think
it was an accident,
that I was ditzy,
I know you use it
to prove how silly women are
because why else would I
on an unsuspecting world.
Who else but a naïve child
could think it was a good idea?
I didn’t think your interpretation mattered
so I never bothered to correct the tale.
The emotions are what mattered—
the ability to get close to ourselves,
to wander our inner landscape
to wonder at the scenery.
To see why the touch
of a loving hand
reminds us of so many beautiful memories—
how that touch contains
hundreds of moments,
dozens of people,
and infinite time.
Why should I matter to this tale?
I was a first woman,
given to man by Zeus
in supposed retaliation for the betrayal of Prometheus.
I was actually a gift from Hera,
(she’s a crafty one)
meant to uplift man to new,
I examined the contents of that jar,
not box—that mistake so minor
but representative of the twisting of it all.
I studied and considered each emotion,
before releasing any of those boons.
I didn’t see that in twisting me,
you twisted my gift too.
You twisted a gift
into a curse.
You vilify emotion
as a mistake.
and denigrate me.
who unleashed all emotion on the world,
is but a brainless Barbie
who stumbled on a pretty box.
By dismissing me,
you could dismiss emotion too.
It’s become your quest
to get all those damn emotions back in the box,
justified by the idea
it was just a brainless accident.
You think it’s a heroic journey to eradicate them.
The legends say I released
war, pestilence, famine.
I did not.
Those already existed
though no one knew why,
it just was.
these were not contained in the box,
could not be contained in any box.
The box was filled with
love, anger, hope, joy, despair, enlightenment, apathy, loneliness,
and every other feeling.
I released them
to free you,
to free myself,
from never understanding Why.
Why we had war, pestilence, famine.
I released the mechanisms for
understanding, insight, growth, and change.
do not let them close your heart.
Be open to feeling your joy swell
as you run barefoot through the forest.
Be open to feeling your heartache
as your first love marries another.
Be open to feeling the devastation
of your parents’ death
and the utter confusion
of being the oldest of your line.
Be open to feeling the surprise of new love,
of walking down the aisle a second time.
Be open to feeling your anger burn
as your daughter lies sick in bed
and you wonder why this danger has visited your house again.
Be open to the sadness
of being misunderstood.
If I had not opened the box,
we would still be the toys of the gods,
no free will,
no ability to choose,
just actors in their script.
I gave us freedom,
But more importantly,
you found them.
I opened your heart,
but you do the work of feeling.
You lean into your emotions,
feel your needs,
see the needs of the universe.
Gather your gifts.
Holding this bouquet
jump into your role in the world.
This I give to you,
for now and for always.
I will keep opening that box.