Corona Borealis

by Brenda Levy Tate
PenShells
Third Place, November 2016
Judged by Richard Krawiec


Ariadne’s Lament

I raise your halo to my thinning hair,
no longer bright with youth – but only this
stellate tiara, winking like your kiss –
you: faithless god I loved when I was fair.

Born under Taurus, still I bear the whorls
from whence my horns were taken long ago,
whose scars a crown concealed. That astral glow
lured you, my sweetheart, with its gems and pearls.

Yet here I drift in loneliness and shiver,
then cast your circlet to the stars, while you –
my faltering admirer, whom I knew
as Theseus – abandon me forever.

A nighthawk rasps and dances through the cold,
but I – your Ariadne – just grow old.


This attempt to match heightened language with a classical story is dangerous, because it can easily slip into something overblown. I think the writer is just able to pull it off, not least because of the understatement of the last, rhymed line. --Richard Krawiec

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