On Muses

If one could choose a muse, wouldn’t human
nature choose Tiddalik*, that greedy frog
sucking all water (giver of life) to himself?
Creativity is a gluttonous thing, always 
wanting feeding...

This is what I have become - embittered 
like a dandelion head, seeds blown off
in wind or child’s fancy. Brown and frayed
and shucked of grace, I nod here, jabbing 
muses in their belly buttons, accusing; seeing 
only men’s invention in these tricksy, fickle wraiths 
who ooze and shadow behind the ant-team precision
of poetry’s lines.  Stand up straight! And watch your
seeds, claimed by breeze’s chance, to grow
in love or weeds.  Be the parent of your words
until they are old and yellowed and withering
in summer’s sun.  Heed any irksome deeds they foster 
or what heroes they inspire;  unlike our politicians,
their double-tongued shiftiness shirking ownership
like itchy clothes. Beansprout words shot up in 
daubs of cottonwool soaked in mistruth.  Prickly
pear words, short-sighted and long-living,
their monstrous shapes degrading our country.
I neither blame nor credit any muse but my own
erratic brain,  catching thoughts in random flow
past my ears, or diving down burrows - the humid
dankness of my intellectual summing.  Oh yes, it’s 
a clumsy apparatus and I’m glad as anyone for beauty 
or anger to set me off, rolling down intuition's precarious
slope.  Ephemeral or torn, fragile or intransigent, 
glowing or malodourous it may be – I hold inspiration
as my own and will die in the composting total of its history.

*Tiddalik features in a Creation Story from the Koorie people of southern NSW and Victoria. Please follow the link to find out more.

Written for Ingrid’s dVerse prompt “Who’s your Muse?”

44 thoughts on “On Muses

  1. this is a terrific poem, Worms: brilliant throughout, worthy of multiple readings: I love ‘the ant-team precision of poetry lines’ and like you I hold inspiration as the stuff of my brain —

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Worms, Worms, Worms, you leave me stunned at the quality of your writing. It is so evocative and moving. I love where you get your muse from, our brains can be such an intriguing stir of words and imagination; dreams too. I really enjoyed these lines:

    “If one could choose a muse, wouldn’t human
    nature choose Tiddalik*, that greedy frog
    sucking all water (giver of life) to himself?
    Creativity is a gluttonous thing, always
    wanting feeding…”

    I actually thought this was a quote somewhere from a philosopher, so when I saw it in the beginning I didn’t quite realize it was part of the poem until re-reading it. Either way, I find it deep and philosophical what you say in the first stanza as humans are inherently selfish, and comparing that to creativity, how it always wants more to feed it and be satisfied, that is a brilliant, masterful comparison. There are so many outstanding lines in this piece that stick out individually and independently, it is hard to choose which one hits the most. I love this piece, it’s amazing!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi Lucy, you always give such full and detailed responses! Thank you so much for your thoughtfulness and positivity. I am so glad you liked the poem. It was an interesting prompt for me because only recently I was provoked into thinking how little I like the idea of muses. It’s partly a feminist sort of rebellion but it’s also a dislike of giving some mysterious imaginary being credit for my work. LOL It’s like telling my kids that it was Santa who gave them the present they like best. That irks me. Santa has always given the kids the least exciting present in the collection. No doubt there are those who will tell me that I missed the point of the magic of Christmas or something. But I guess I’m not really a magical thinker. I didn’t even like pretending that Santa existed. He seems like an excuse for consumerism these days. Anyway, thanks again for your lovely comments. Sorry for ranting. 😀 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for bringing in a mythological figure to inspire your muse. And how appropriate that it should be a greedy frog, when you talk of politicians:
    ‘Beansprout words shot up in
    daubs of cottonwool soaked in mistruth.’
    That’s the way they talk, alright!
    If you’re mind’s your only muse, it certainly seems inspired 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I actually meant I don’t believe in muses. Lol. Clearly that didn’t come through. I guess it depends whether you think inspiration IS muse. I separate them. I see inspiration as an internal thing. Anybody can go for a bushwalk but not everyone finds it inspiring in an artistic sense. But I still think of it as a bushwalk, not a muse. And if something inspires me, that’s my brain taking advantage of stimulus. Again, I don’t call it a muse. Does that make sense? I want full responsibility.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. No it did come across: it’s just a case of semantics I think, like some people believe in God and others don’t, but we all have our belief system!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’ve been trying to do that all my life but recently I find things go better for me when I let go! It’s a fascinating subject, whatever your beliefs…

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Worms, my friend, this poem reads like a Shakespearean soliloquy, it is very, very clever. I love it, and to be honest I am just a teeny weeny bit jealous of your poetical prowess. Excellent. This is the second of your poems I have shortlisted for my 2021 favourites.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Stellar – Best response I’ve read to the challenge so far. Humanity in its vanity veneered that frog with breasts and a singsong tail fin. Thus we blame it on the muse, this berserker creative mace in my hand. The old initiation ceremonies would have parted the curtains of that anima-lush sigh to see ole Tiddaluk sucking down the lake. Righted him proper from his pose of sulky adolescence and said “Stand up straight! And watch your / seeds, claimed by breeze’s chance, to grow / in love or weeds.” To become a full “grown” adult poet, which ain’t no rock n roll show. Maturation works a different muse, the inspiration and the responsibility to tend it one hand reaching at its mirror. If I want to remember my dreams, I better write down what I can of them. And be grateful the muses still sigh.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. It was once said that if you ate a few leaves of poison ivy in the spring — while it was still young — it would protect you from bad blisters in the summer. Dunno what the effect is supposed to be for gobbling in our out of seasons world.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. If one could choose a muse, wouldn’t human
    nature choose Tiddalik*, that greedy frog
    sucking all water (giver of life) to himself? — it was my pleasure to meet Taddalik and benefit from all the Taddalik truisms, philosophy and advice. Really fabulous work and choice of muse. 🙏

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Your poem has a Shakespearean flavor to it that is quite tasty. I love this part:
    “And watch your
    seeds, claimed by breeze’s chance, to grow
    in love or weeds.”
    And your conclusion.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I neither blame nor credit any muse but my own
    erratic brain, catching thoughts in random flow
    past my ears, or diving down burrows – the humid
    dankness of my intellectual summing. Oh yes, it’s
    a clumsy apparatus

    You know, Worms, this is also similar to how I think about faith in the supernatural.

    Your poem is stunningly powerful.


    David

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I absolutely love every word of this and totally agree with your take … we and we alone are responsible, doesn’t seem right to shift the blame anywhere else!

    I like your use of words and terms, including a dreamtime story, slamming our pollies that so deserve it … and those last few words. This is truly a masterpiece, the prompt triggered you and you came out guns blazing as a wordsmith should 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sorry. If you follow me so I follow you, it’s not how I operate. I mainly follow writers because writing is what I am most interested in. Your artwork is pretty and good on you for blogging about it. But I follow lots of people who don’t follow me. I am not really about numbers.

      Liked by 2 people

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