Every man who has a serviceable soul
by Keith Shorrocks Johnson
Is not whole but contains a chimera
The twin girl child of his earliest youth
Whose emotions live on enveloped.
[No doubt it is the same for woman
With the polarities and negatives
Reversed - the ambivalent Sappho singing
Of the imperishable hero Achilles.]
But as manhood rises, the she-soul fades
Trapped in the frame of masculinity
Though she is never wholly transmuted
Whispering as she does of lost divinity
Singing softly from the mind's shades
Of the perils of mortality and eternity:
A shadow of His mother, sister, lover
Sotto voce - the silent S'ibilance of He.
Now we know of what the sirens sang
When Ulysses, chained firmly to the mast
Of his nameless ship heard the enchanted
Sounds - straining for the dangerous coast.
And why Orpheus looked back in Hades
Unable to return to life the nymph
From whom he will never be parted:
Paired victims of Elysium's serpent.
And why Hylas gazed deeply, knowingly
At the naiads who drew him down to drown.
And why Narcissus at the surface found
Only hopeless longing in reflection.
Remember also Aphrodite and her revenge:
Psyche's beauty sacrificed to a dark god
Nightly awaiting the unseen lover
Too trusting of sisters, too lacking faith.
All betrayals of the substance of Eros:
The theft of the rib and not the fruit
The ripping apart of male and female
And the imperfections left in duality.
And this unfolding, this drawing down
This enfolding of hidden opposites
Of which dissension is the essence
Bedevils our good-standing with the gods
Of which I have no answer - only this
That we should engender harmony
Between the shadow and the soul
And share our secret selves in love.