Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Long afterward, Oedipus, old and blinded, walked the roads.
He smelled a familiar smell. It was the Sphinx.
Oedipus said, "I want to ask one question. Why
didn't I recognize my mother?"
"You gave the wrong answer" said the Sphinx.
"But that was what made everything possible" said Oedipus.
"No" she said. "When I asked, What walks on four legs in
the morning, two at noon, and three, in the evening, you answered, Man.
You didn't say anything about Woman."
"When you say Man," said Oedipus, "You include women, too.
Everyone knows that."
She said, "That's what you think."

(A portion of "Myth" by Muriel Rukeyser)

Assuming that one's own cultural biases are universal is dangerous. That holds for whether you are dealing with humans, systems created by humans, or non-human entities. And just because something has become enshrined in teachings and literature, does not make that something so.

For the past several years, I posted a poem on this blog for Valentines Day (usually John Donne). This year, I did not, although the reason had to do with my being between desktop computer systems. (Nettie the netbook is great for reading email or facebook, but for writing, research or juggling several open windows, I really prefer a full sized system.)
So, instead, a post-Valentines day, and Happy Birthday to Susan B. Anthony, poetry post.


Penny said...

Never have I seen it put better. Thank you.

Lavanah said...

Thank you. Although I certainly cannot claim any credit for the work of Muriel Rukeyser.