Friday, June 11, 2010

Pandora's Box


Image: origin unknown

“Don’t open Pandora’s box!”

“Don’t open it!”

How often as a little girl I gave into
this demand for containment –
this fallacy that there is safety
in ignorance, denial, and self-deceit.

Well, I am a woman now,
and the road I’ve walked has taught
me that Fear
can mistake blessing for threat.

So, the other night I did it,
I lifted the lid of Pandora’s box.

Two savage canid-like beasts burst forth -
hard-bodied, sleek and shimmering black,
with eyes that burned like crimson torches.

Hounds of hell…snarling,
one careened to my right,
the other lept to my left.
There, just out of my line of Sight,
it growled and churned head round to tail,
planning my last moment.

I screamed the primordial scream
taught to me by a jolly mystic,

and awoke, startled,
as my voice
uttered a profound squeak.

In the light of day,
I remembered this:

If you want to know the truth,
offer your demons
back scratches and belly rubs.

Time passed…
But not much of it before tongues lolled
and drool seeped in between
the floor boards.

And They spoke the tale we should
have been told:

manifestation of the Great Goddess,
provider of gifts that make life and culture possible,
had at her side a pithos
a large jar, not a box as Hesiod claimed.

And oh how this jar was shaped –
wide at top,
narrow at bottom,
gently curved down the sides…

Pandora’s jar –
a sculpted, highly decorated
celebration of the womb.

You and I emerged from the original jar,
as did our ancestors.

We are all of Pandora’s box.

We are all of Pandora’s box.

And indeed what evils our introduction has wrought,
intended or naught –

How the air, water, land…

How the leafed, winged, finned, and footed…

How our own psyche have suffered.

How strangely tragic our journey has been from mother to Mother.

Some might still shout out in shame and regret:

“Don’t open Pandora’s box!”

“Don’t open it!”

But not those who know that in Pandora’s sacred,
unbreakable pithos
one thing remained,


And that was, that is…


Hope remains.

When the sacred union is consecrated,
Hope will be fully embodied into this world.

We need only hold ourselves open to the possibility.

© 2010-2017/Jamie K. Reaser
Published in "Note to Self: Poems for Changing the World from the Inside Out." 

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