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what perseus couldn't see

by erilea

medusa looks in the mirror and hates what she sees.

in her eyes are a thousand heroes cement-cold in the setting sun,

a thousand ballads cursing her name.

she wishes on every statue she can't bear to look at

that one day, she can sleep without remembering how their hands trembled,

how the word "monster" sounded from their lips,

how she ran between forgotten heroes, the whisper of breeze a death sentence--

for her innocence or for the fool who came searching, she will never know.

medusa looks in the mirror and hates what she wants.

she wants to wake up a stone girl in her stone world,

unfeeling, mercifully blind to her sins.

it's a coward's wish, the easy way out,

a shroud covering a blood-stained life--

she shouldn't forget. for the families she's broken, the lives she's taken,

she stays alive, makes herself open her eyes every morning,

look at the statues,

and remember.

medusa looks in the mirror and hates what she feels.

the pain in her chest never fades.

she lives in fear, each day a question,

a plea to gods who won't forgive her.

so when perseus arrives, she closes her eyes,

imagines a head of slate, a body of quartz, a heart of granite

and the breaths come easier.

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987 Reviews

Points: 117440
Reviews: 987

Fri Sep 06, 2019 4:34 pm
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alliyah wrote a review...

Ah! You are really a fantastic poet erilea, I always always always enjoy seeing another one of your poems, and can totally imagine you creating a little portfolio of Greek mythology poems.

So let's take a look at this one!

I think I love most the little chorus throughout the poem

"medusa looks in the mirror and hates what she /sees/wants/feels/" it's a little twist on the usual image of looking in a mirror and hating what you see, so it's relateable honestly, but also makes the poem build with each progression to a sort of crescendo where we've looked at how she sees, what she's done and then finally just her emotions. It's really lovely, and gives the poem a firm continuity in narrative progression too.

I also appreciate that you didn't throw in every imagery piece that could possibly relate to medusa, but stuck to a few key images that are carried throughout the poem - stones, breaths, memory, sight. This keeps the poem really tight, and creates a fuller picture instead of a bunch of loose threads. I wonder if you could pick one particular person/family to dig deeper into so it wasn't quite as general, and moved towards specificity. You do get to perseus at the end, but towards the beginning the poem feels a bit general.

Your formatting, capitalization, punctuation all seemed consistent, so I didn't really take issue with any of that. Normally I'd complain about uneven lines, but I actually thought this poem flowed fairly well even with the uneven lines, maybe because it wasn't broken up into stanzas, and was short enough to read all in one go.

A few critiques:

in this line:

"she lives in fear, each day a question,

a plea to gods who won't forgive her."
-> it's not quite clear what the "question" is, so that felt like a loose plot thread.

and then I'd agree with mellifera, that I don't quite understand where this line is going,

"she stays alive, makes herself open her eyes every morning,

look at the statues,

and remember."
-> I think maybe it should be "remembers" instead grammatically.

Overall, I really enjoyed this piece, thanks for sharing it with us!

- alliyah

Happy Review Month!

erilea says...

Thanks for the review! The "question" is whether or not she will die or live, but I guess I should make that more clear. Keep reviewing! :D

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339 Reviews

Points: 13965
Reviews: 339

Wed Sep 04, 2019 2:35 am
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mellifera wrote a review...

Hey erilea! Swinging by for a review today :D

Quick disclaimer: I'm not a poetry reviewer normally. If this reflects in my review, I apologise.

Okay, let's get into it, shall we? First of all, this immediately caught my attention, because I've never gotten over my love of Greek Myths.

I've seen some discussion about Medusa's legend and I think it's fascinating- and terribly tragic. She was abused for being beautiful, and then killed for being a monster. She really couldn't win here. So, again, obviously I am very hyped about this and got really excited when I saw your summary as being "Medusa is misunderstood."

she stays alive, makes herself open her eyes every morning,

look at the statues,

and remember.

This reads a little stiffly to mean, but I can't really figure out why? It doesn't flow quite right in my mind. Perhaps "to look at the statues" or even
"makes herself look at the statues,
and remember."
I think the repetition would work well for you here? I've actually spent a lot of time complaining about the wrong kind of repetition, but I think it would work well here.

This really gets into Medusa's emotional state and I adore it. I love how deeply you describe what she's feeling, how she sorely she regrets what she has to live through. You did such a good job with handling the emotions and ugh, my heart hurts reading this but also I love it??? The guilt she carries and the force of her hatred for what she became (*coughwascursedascough*) runs like giant roots. Oof.

Really nice job with this <3 Super happy I read it! Thank you for sharing this!

I hope you have a fabulous day, and Happy RevMo!


erilea says...

Thank you so much! I agree, that line is a little stiff. Keep going on RevMo! :D

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107 Reviews

Points: 1690
Reviews: 107

Wed Sep 04, 2019 12:29 am
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Gnomish wrote a review...


May I just say, that this is the first of your works I have read, but looking at the related section I am excited to read more.

Alright, so I have always felt bad for Medusa as well, and in this story I think you capture well what she is seeing/wanting/feeling. I also really like the format of this poem, and how you return to the line "Medusa looks in the mirror and hates what she...". It makes it really interesting to read.

I didn't notice anything to improve on except that there are no capitols, which might be on purpose, but usually there is at least one capitol for the very first word of the story.

I also really liked the ending of this story. It's final, but leaves room for the imagination, and encompasses the real story of Medusa well.

erilea says...

Thank you for the review! :D

The most important thing is to preserve the world we live in. Unless people understand and learn about our world, habitats, and animals, they won't understand that if we don't protect those habitats, we'll eventually destroy ourselves.
— Jack Hanna