In Musing, Poem

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!

Pandora

I did it on purpose.

I know you’d like to think

it was an accident,

that I was ditzy,

or stupid,

or innocent.

I know you use it

to prove how silly women are

because why else would I

unleash emotion

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,

an Eve,

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,

and feeling,

heights.

 

I examined the contents of that jar,

yes jar,

not box—that mistake so minor

but representative of the twisting of it all.

I studied and considered each emotion,

their potential,

their purity,

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.

You dismiss

and denigrate me.

I,

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.

Actions,

consequences,

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.

Daughter,

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,

self determination,

independence.

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.

Be.

Feel.

Absorb.

Transform.

This I give to you,

for now and for always.

I will keep opening that box.

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