Poetry Sisters Project — June 2016

Another month, another poetry project. This one is an ekphrastic based on this amazing sculpture by Mary Pownall Bromet, a student of Rodin’s. Our poetry pal Tanita discovered her at Kelvingrove Museum in Scotland and thought yes, and we agreed.

The sculpture is called The Harpy Celaeno. The Harpy.
A name with so many connotations. Not good ones.
But there’s always another side of the story. At least that’s what I thought.

So. Without further ado….

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Electra’s Daughter
After Mary Pownall’s “The Harpy Celaeno”
By Liz Garton Scanlon

To be part bird but also stone?
It’s enough to drive a woman mad –
the impossibility of flight, the desire

to steal away with what belongs
to her. They call her shrill and sharp
but listen – that is a lament,

a wail, a storm of want,
a wind not in charge of herself.
Unfurl your brow, they say,

lighten your grasp. Until
she has no choice but to turn
on herself, to hold on tight.

Would you like to read the others?

And Poetry Friday is here! Enjoy, friends. And happy summer!

Posted on 06/03/2016 02:57 am


  1. I adore how you’ve gotten right under her marble skin and made us see what’s REALLY going on with her. Yes, being made of stone and yet made to fly…. that would make anyone mad as hell. Brava.


  2. Oh! This: “that is a lament,

    a wail, a storm of want,
    a wind not in charge of herself.”

    A storm of want. Sigh. I feel so much more sympathetic to her now…Beautiful, Liz!


  3. Thank you for helping me hear the wail of her lament.

    Oh, that face!


  4. I love that you have made her so real and humane. You’ve been kinder, I think, than the rest of us have. And I love that she’s being treated like many women when we’re told to lighten up … “Unfurl your brow, they say, lighten your grasp.” I adore this poem.


  5. Kelly Ramsdell Fineman

    I love this. Love it, love it, love it.


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