I dreamed of the wind in your face
it smelled of anemones and olives—
its bitter sting like jelly-fish
Zeus himself roused from sleep
to watch it bear down upon you
he gave it a voice and called it ‘woman’
the heat and utter stench stretched
in boredom and sang of your body:
an ill-omened guise of protection
a white star moved across the sky
in harmony with the spirit
yet the flawed tradition flowered
that’s the trouble with art, you said
there is enough beauty
and no one to appreciate the dots and dashes
Lana Maht Wiggins
from her book Notes from Refuge
Plain View Press, 2008
reprinted with permission of the poet
by Gina Ferrara
Begin the lesson by telling students about odes and how they usually address an event, person. or object.
Have the students read the poem silently. Then, ask for five volunteers and have each read a strophe.
Ask if any of the students are familiar with H.D.’s work. Discuss H.D.’s poetic devices such as her use of imagery, her economy of language and her use of classical mythology.
Ask students if Lana Maht Wiggins employs any of these same devices. (Students should be able to see the reference to Zeus and the imagistic quality of Wiggin’s work.)
Discuss the relationship of words and images in Wiggins’ poem.
Have students pick their favorite image from the poem and have them write an ode for the image they have chosen. Invite students to share their work with the class.