The Woman of Many Whiles

The Woman of Many Whiles

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audio: The Woman of Many Whiles
audio of Keith O'Shaughnessy's poem, The Woman of Many Whiles

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The Woman of Many Whiles

Penelope, shell of an echo,
Pines to Poseidon for her hero,
And still the tide cries widow, widow.
Horizons coastlines over-shadow;
With each gulfed stream, tropical billow,
Crafts sound the idyll of Kalypso,
Where brined airs, isled by strait and narrow,
To hog-tied swine with ears of tallow

Like Sirens whine, Wanderer, follow
Us breathless to that deathless grotto
Where waves wash over today’s sorrow,
Away the memory of tomorrow.
Dreams meet their match on a lace pillow;
In patched quilts, nightmares find no fellow.
Wise to a suit’s designs (for willow
Distaffs bend just as driftwood masts bow)

As to rags’ guise, for a memento
Of unforgetfulness, she’ll winnow
From his warped threads, as bone from marrow,
A spinster’s yarn—so still hearths bellow,
As light looms, while across dry meadow,
Through the webbed netting of her window,
Dumb gulls caw, An oak bed’s as hollow
As an oak horse.  The hook slips, let go.