Sarton:

…Although, I have loved men, I haven’t written poems to them.  It’s very mysterious.  It’s not something you can control.  It does come from the subconscious, from the gods, if you will.  It occurs to me that the poem to at this moment, because of the finding of one’s own secret and terrible self through encounter is ‘ The Muse as Medusa.’

 

The Muse as Medusa

I saw you once, Medusa; we were alone.

I looked you straight in the cold eye, cold.

I was not punished, was not turned to stone-

‘How to believe the legends I am told?’

 

♥I came as naked as any little fish.

Prepared to be hooked, gutted, caught;

But I saw you, Medusa, made my wish.

And when I left you I was clothed in thought…

Being allowed, perhaps, to swim my way.

Through the great deep on the rising tide.

Flashing wild streams, as free and rich as they,

Though you had power marshaled on your side.

The fish escaped to many a magic reef;

The fish explored many a dangerous sea-

The fish, Medusa, did not come to grief,

But swims still in a fluid mystery.

 

Forget the image: your silence in my ocean,

And even now it teems with life.

You choose to abdicate by total lack of motion,

But did it work, for nothing really froze?

Is it all fluid still, that world of feeling

Where thoughts, those fishes, silent, feed and rave:

And, fluid, it is also full of healing,

For love is healing, even rootless love.

I turn your face around!

It is my face.

That frozen rage is what I must explore-

Oh secret, self-enclosed, and ravaged place!

This is the gift I think Medusa for.

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