"Temple of Athena Nike," Werner Carl-Freidrich, watercolour, 1877, Wikimedia photo.
“Temple of Athena Nike,” Werner Carl-Freidrich, watercolour, 1877, Wikimedia photo.

Last year was a poetry-productive year, as I wrote ~ 280 poems. This review will focus on historical poetry sub-headings: “Greek-Ægean,” “Viking-Norse,” and “Arctic-Nunavut.”

Since May of this year, I have written 42 Greek-related poems.* During these seven months, I have wondered where voices and poetic storylines originate. Many appeared in form of dreams, characters and fleeting images of their lives, perhaps what they can or are permitted to share. At times, their words arrived rhythmically in the night, as if washed ashore in lapping ocean surf, their transient time in the present lost like footprints in sand.

Of this group, I wrote two four-part poems: “Legend of Kryrillos and Thyonē,” and “Thyonē: Pilgrims of Poseidon.” The “Kryillos” poem is about deciphering ancient writings found on ancient clay tablets discovered after an earthquake. Thyonē appears again in the Poseidon pilgrim poem, an account of their odyssey to worship at the Sea Lord’s temple.

"The Household Gods," John William Waterhouse, 1880, Wikimedia photo. Emily standing, Ismene on bended knee.
“The Household Gods,” John William Waterhouse, 1880, Wikimedia photo. Brithe standing, Thera on bended knee.

Paintings by John William Waterhouse, Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, and other artists were often inspirational as they provided a visual setting that expanded into personal experiences of the characters. These paintings were included with poem(s) and with artist citations.

In addition to Greek-Ægean poetry, I wrote 16 Viking-related poems, where Brithe was a recurring heroine who faced challenges of Arctic regions, including the near-drowning experience as related in “Brithe’s Ionian Dream.” In this poem, Brithe discovers that she was once Thera, a Greek-related poetry character. While a minor character compared to Thyonē, Brithe returned for a 1050 A.D. Christian winter-pilgrimage to the Faroe Islands, a poem posted this Christmas Eve, emphasizing her quiet yet ever-present Norse-Christian background. As with her Greek-Ægean counterparts, Brithe faithfully followed her gods, pagan and Christian.

Also included in 2014 were nine poems related to Inuit and the Arctic. Two poems from this group stand out: “Ahnah Reincarnated” and “Island of Frozen Bones,” the latter of which is about the lost Franklin Expedition. Both poems are spiritual, involving death and unique circumstances of rebirth.

Of note, I coined a literary term, sosibios, or when two or more historical figures of differing time periods converse in prose or poetry. This term is named after Sosibios, the neo-Attic Athenian sculptor who crafted the Pentelic marble vase in Keats’ poem “Ode on the Grecian Urn,” where Keats asks questions of the time-frozen figures found thereon. A reference to this term is linked here:
http://www.griffinpoetryprize.com/hillary-and-eleanor-9-the-pearl-roundabout/

I wish to thank readers who follow me on Twitter and for their favorites, retweets, and for comments posted on my poetry website. May we enjoy health, happiness, and prosperity in the New Year 2015.

*One of these poems was about life-and-death struggles during the AD 79 eruption of Mount Vesuvius, at Pompeii, Italy with a reader-suggested video from the Melbourne Museum.

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