Thursday, July 7, 2011

Ariadne's Daughters

I can't find it online.

This one grabbed my attention with the first two lines:
Nasty girls make mouth music. They fist the air
and leap and shout 'Fuck'. They drink until they puke.
Yes, I've known teenage girls like this. They inspire love and protectiveness and admiration, and the poem conjures up all of these emotions. S1 continues in a similar vein for three more lines, describing the girls' crazy antics (which sound both dangerous and fun). I like all the "K" word endings in these first two lines (make, music, fuck, drink, puke). They sound coarse and tough, which is exactly how the girls want to sound.

S2 imbues the girls with tenderness and vulnerability:
All this with faces small and compact with auriculas,
(here are some auriculas, so that you can imagine this more clearly:

.) They may be tough, but they are still teenage girls. The flower, fruit, and food comparisons in S2 made me want to protect the girls from all forms of danger. But the end of S2 hints that protection is impossible:
The moon strokes them, marks them with must.
(Incidentally, I think this statement of inevitability is also a reference to menarche.)

S3, the final strophe, takes up the theme of protectiveness, and its ultimate futility, in more explicit terms. We
... plait cages,
but they were born with feathered arms and sly fingers
Still, the girls have lots of inner resources, and they'll be OK.

Since I enjoyed Aric's meat chime pictures so much, I'm going to finish with some pictures of other things that Griffiths compares the girls to. (I can't match Aric's MS paint skills, but I can dig up some photos of cool things from Wikipedia.) One picture per strophe.

S1: Brigantines (because of their billowy skirts):

S2: Pansies (because of their sweet faces):

S3: Shark's teeth (because they escape where they started out from, and end up far away):


  1. How cool. The beginning of the poem reminding me of Gwendolyn Brook's poem We Real Cool, but then it took off from there to even more interesting places. Love the pics.

  2. Laurie, I hadn't noticed the connection with "We Real Cool", but you're right; they're very thematically similar. Brooks does an amazing amount, considering the tiny space she gives herself to work in. (Three syllables per line: damn! Glad you enjoyed the pictures.