Madragana Wears Her New Name
Madragana wears her new name
tight under the chin and scrubbed of all
impure exotica: such a short
syllable, a stub, a stutter, and
it hobbles her. Maior, she has become,
or Mor, for short, a Christian name, all dots,
no dashes, all staccato. Her steps
are circumspect, tidy. She walks
a dotted line but won’t sign anything.
A name should sashay across a room,
should swing its syllables and sway its consonants
and toss its vowels. A name should be a dance
out the door and over a dazzle of sand
in time to the phrases of the oud.
For your immortal soul, he said, standing
Godfather. He knows she knows she has
no immortal soul. Neither does he,
although he’s a good man and a good king.
Bad husband, though, but not her husband, though.
His ear is to the ground, and the ground
rumbles. She knows he knows she knows
he’s thinking of the children. But her new
name hangs stiff as penitential garb
under the Algarvian sun.
Nancy Vieira Couto
"Madragana Ben Aloandro, later Maior or Mór Afonso (Faro, Algarve, Portugal, born c. 1230), was a woman from the Algarve known as a mistress to king Afonso III of Portugal, in the 13th century, when he ended the Reconquista in Portugal by taking Faro in 1249. Faro was at that time the last part of the Kingdom of the Algarve still in Muslim hands, and there her father was the Qadi." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madragana
The poem was first published in Writers of the Portuguese Diaspora in the
United States and Canada: An Anthology, edited by Luis Gonçalves and Carlo Matos
(Boavista Press, 2015)
Nancy Vieira Couto has been poetry editor of Epoch since spring of 2000. She lives with her husband, Joe Martin, in an old house on South Hill in Ithaca, New York. When not writing poetry or blogging or swabbing her cheek for yet another DNA test, she loves to travel, either virtually or actually. At this very moment she is (virtually, not actually) walking to Istanbul along the route of the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express.
In the cemetery the tall guy told us he had written a letter to his governor to suggest that he might want to go for a walk in the cemetery. It being a somewhat old and fine cemetery surrounded by highway, a bubbly crick, poison ivy, a cigar bar, and an old house that won’t let anybody in to see it’s basement. Something went on about how his father walked somewhere with the governor’s father. How he knew the governor’s wife likes to go for walks. How his children like to go for walks.
(go to story)
Since I don’t really have anything to tell you, let me mention some things that happened on Sunday, August 20, 2017. I was dropping off a bag of used clothes at The Thrifty Store where even rich people shop for twenty-five cent shirts. Slumming it is big now and everybody loves a bargain. The place was closed and management prefers folks to not drop off donations on Sunday but people do anyway. Which makes it a good day for poor folks to get something they can afford, namely, something free. (Go to Story)
I have read poetry, novels, books that have inspired me, and listened to music that makes my breathing uneven.I hae seen art so powerful that I had to put my hand on a wall to keep from being dizzy (page #2 of this magazine). There is, however, only one time I felt something that came from inside of me; an idea so fully formed I could not escape it. A vision that would not fade. (go to article)
Inspiration is the process of clearing ourselves and bringing in wisdom, guidance, divine revelation, healing energy, or the sacred breath from Spirit. Call it channeling one’s muse, if you like. It is the process of connecting with the divine, getting our human selves out of the way, and allowing Spirit to move through us. (go to article)
Our Poetry section includes some of our favorite poets, click on ther names to bring yourself to special inspiring poems:
Robert Graves -
To the Muse Goddess (visit)
Dante - ‘’Purgatorio’’,
Canto I, lines 7 to 12 (visit)
Peter Fortunato -
Four Poems (visit)
Mary Gilliland -The Language of Bees (visit)
Nancy Cuto - Madragana Wears Her New Name (visit)
The Atlantic, June 1961
The original significance of this word has long been blurred by dishonest or facetious usage. The Muse, or Mountain Mother, whom the preclassical Greeks worshiped on Parnassus and other sacred peaks, seems to have inspired the poet in much the same sense as the loa gods of Haiti now “ride” their devotees. And, although by Homer’s time her invocation had become a mere formality, subservice to the Muse has ever since been avowed by counterfeit poets in the service of politics, learning, or the church. True possession has occurred sporadically down the centuries as a phenomenon that can neither be provoked or foreseen. (go to entire article)
The nine Muses are the offspring of Zeus and Mnemosyne, the Goddess of Memory. Before the invasion of the Olympian gods, the Muses, goddesses or guardian nymphs of springs and groves, tutelary spirits, belonged to a preliterate, oral culture. The original three are the daughters of Mnemosyne, memory, although they were raised by a wetnurse or foster-mother, Eupheme. Even this biographical snippet must be a late revision, since Mnemosyne is said to be the mother of the Muses with Zeus, so is already a literary corruption, the first euphemism. Mnemosyne is a personification: Memory. (go to article)
the Second Attention
(Emphasizing the Recall)
I closed my eyes and immediately recalled the Elders advice.
“Nothing might temper the spirit of a nation as much as the challenge of dealing with impossible people in positions of power.
If you face the uncertainty with impunity, you will acquire the strength to withstand
even the incomprehensible.
And for this, peace will guide your way - then you shall know how to proceed”.
(go to the beginning of article)
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