Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Psyche / Soul

Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss (1793) by Antonio Canova

". . .  the heart of the star as opposed to the shape of a star, let us say — exists in a mysterious, unmapped zone: not unconscious, not subconscious, but cautious." 
~ Mary Oliver

“The most valuable thing we can do for the psyche, occasionally, is to let it rest, wander, live in the changing light of room, not try to be or do anything whatever.”  
May Sarton

* * *

Midweek Motif ~ Psyche / Soul

          Since Sumana made the last Midweek Motif  "poetry about the body," I thought poetry about psyche and soul logically followed: psychology and spirituality.   Are mind and soul synonymous?  Do either exist without body?

          Psyche is also the name of Cupid's love in Greek Mythology ~ a myth which is a very dramatic story on the order of "The Beauty and the Beast."

Your Challenge:  In today's new poem, turn your attention to themes of consciousness and unconsciousness, to soul or to Psyche herself.

The structure of the souls of plants, animals, and humans, 
according to Aristotle.

I am angry with X, with Y, with Z,
for not being you.
Enthusiasms jump at me,
wagging and barking. Go away.
Go home.

I am angry with my eyes for not seeing you,
they smart and ache and see the snow,
an insistent brilliance.

If I were Psyche how could I not
bring the lamp to our bedside?
I would have known in advance
all the travails my gazing
would bring, more than Psyche
ever imagined,
and even so, how could I not have raised
the amber flame to see
the human person I knew
was to be revealed.
She did not even know! She dreaded
a beast and discovered
a god. But I
know, and hunger
to witness again the form
of mortal love itself.
. . . . 
(Read the rest HERE.)

1802, West, Benjamin, Eagle Bringing cup to Psyche.jpg
Eagle Bringing cup to Psyche
by Benjamin West, American, 1738–1820

Mind ? Body

How do they survive, riven   
as they are, the one undoing   
the other's desire?   

Tell the body to outrun   
the mind, and the mind smirks,   
whispering too loudly 
this way   this way,   
blocking all the exits.   

And the body, luxurious   
sensualist by pool side or in bed,   
doesn't it hear the mind's   
impatient machinery ticking 
it's time   it's time? 
. . . . 
(Read the rest here.)
The Greek letter 'psi', a symbol for psychology
Greek letter 'psi', a symbol for psychology

O who shall, from this dungeon, raise 
A soul enslav’d so many ways? 
With bolts of bones, that fetter’d stands 
In feet, and manacled in hands; 
Here blinded with an eye, and there 
Deaf with the drumming of an ear; 
A soul hung up, as ’twere, in chains 
Of nerves, and arteries, and veins; 
Tortur’d, besides each other part, 
In a vain head, and double heart. 

O who shall me deliver whole 
From bonds of this tyrannic soul? 
Which, stretch’d upright, impales me so 
That mine own precipice I go; 
And warms and moves this needless frame, 
(A fever could but do the same) 
And, wanting where its spite to try, 
Has made me live to let me die. 
A body that could never rest, 
Since this ill spirit it possest. 
. . . . 
(Read the rest of this amazing poem HERE.)

Please share your new poem using Mr. Linky below and visit others in the spirit of the community—

                (Next week Sumana’s Midweek Motif will be ~ Weapon.)


  1. Thank you for another interesting prompt

  2. Thank you for this excellent prompt Susan.
    It has filled my morning in a most wonderful educational way.
    Anna :o]

  3. Ah, coffee in hand, here I am, late and captured by newly falling snow. I'm coming around, ready to meet your poems!

  4. What a wonderful prompt! Happy Wednesday :)

  5. Thank you Susan for this challenging prompt. It wasn't easy to put together but helped me get back to the creative space. :-)

    1. Hurrah, Khaya! And that's what prompts are for. May the creativity continue.

  6. Loved the prompt, Susan!💞 I'll be around shortly to read and comment😊 Happy Wednesday, everybody!

  7. Late start here because we've had the most snow we've seen in at least 14 years in South Alabama.
    Have a great day!

    1. I know, right? Here in Philadelphia, we are having an "old fashioned" winter. But you are dangerously cold, I think. Stay safe and creative.

  8. I hope to write a poem today. We are thick in a winter storm, big winds and rain, power coming and going. Will hope to be back later with something.

    1. It must look awesome from your warm cozy nest. Stay warm and safe!

  9. I'm trying to decide whether to bike or not today but I want to join in! I have to think about this first..let it sink in. I'll be back with a poem!

    I hope everyone is keeping warm and safe in this crazy weather! Group hug!

    1. I no longer bike, but I think that if you don't have a poem in your head when you start biking, it will develop by the time you get home.

    2. You are so right! I can't believe what came out of me was very cathartic.

  10. This was a good and challenging prompt. Thanks Susan. Though my poem is brief, I think you have prompted a deeper search of my soul.

    1. So good to see you, Myrna. I--we--really enjoy gathering the prompts.

  11. Good Evening, Poets! Thanks, Susan, for this compelling prompt! I've written a haibun that explores an experience of the soul. Those of you enduring the snow and cold like me, think warm thoughts! :)

    1. You are welcome, Frank. Thinking warm thoughts.

  12. Replies
    1. Thanks for visiting and bringing your poem.

  13. Thanks for this prompt. Inspired me to write about this lingering question me in me about all the suffering in this world, and how God's beings can do it.

  14. So she took it and then gave it to the Vagabond Woman as a house-warming present. Her main personality turned herself in. Never would have thought it was Vonda in a million years.split rail fence cost

  15. Great prompt- thank you. And timely, since I am feeling old today!


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