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Cleopatra VanGogh

My inspiration for this week’s poem for the open links at Real Toads and d’Verse Poets is a lovely bust that was gifted to me.  I’ve long said she looks like a 1920’s version of Cleopatra.  Of course, I fondly refer to her as Cleo.  Please ignore the dust that has settled in her creases, as she lives in my basement and is horribly neglected.  You see, my “That’s cool,” that resulted in her being gifted to me was more of a, “That’s a cool museum piece rather than in my house.”

Cleopatra VanGogh

Miss Cleopatra VanGogh
departed her gilded cage
each morning precisely
at half past six o’clock
to walk quickly to the beach
and stare at the dawn sky
floating upon the ocean.
Golden sunlight bathing her
in glorious mourning light as her
vacant blind eyes searched
green foamy seas for any sign
of old sea turtle and love goddess.

vacant eyes

Their return was promised
along with happier days
when Aphrodite would rise
again from the same ocean
on the back of the sea turtle;
The goddess promised love,
happiness and peace once more,
so everyday at half past six,
Cleopatra Van Gogh walked
softly along the sandy beach,
waiting for her new lover’s
arrival with the sea turtle.

DSC_0006ew

Everyday she waited and
walked with sandy feet;
still, her love did not arrive.
No turtle carrying the
ancient goddess of love
to fulfill the promise of
a lover delivered to her,
so Cleopatra VanGogh
set off on her own and
walked into the ocean,
her white dress clinging
against her slight form
as the flower from her
soft copper hair floated
on green foam out to sea,
plucked from the water
by the goddess of love
and an ancient sea turtle.

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15 thoughts on “Cleopatra VanGogh

  1. Wow! SO sad, the loss, the dream, persistence following to the sea bed. Knowing your statue predated the story helps alleviate the fate, somewhat–even makes it funny–funny with the catch in the throat for the promises believed and betrayed and the despair that sometimes follows.

  2. I like your Cleopatra Van Gogh, Teresa. She had her mind set, would her dream come true? I think there is a book named “Cleopatra e Van Gogh.” I could be wrong, as I didn’t peruse things further after finding it.

    You bust is nice also. I am thinking it could have been a gift from a student?
    ..

  3. ha. i like the story you have given to her…and that tired of waiting she walked on into the sea herself…pretty funny how that bust came to you as well..ah, a gift is a gift…smiles.

  4. This is wonderful — what a great contemporary take on the old tale, love as it can only be these days cast as Cleopatra VanGogh (!) on a pilgrimage back to the scene of the ancient crime, with the same old hopes intact. I sure thought the sea would delve that old rite back, but not in the way it actually happened … and the end of this salt tale here suggests that maybe the myths need us more than we need them. Without our faith (even when it despairs), they cannot exist. Loved it — Brendan

  5. The blind eyes are so haunting. Our darlin’ dog Lindy has inoperable cataracts and we spend much of every day reasssuring her that we’re still here.
    But I like this poem, Teresa. Sea turtles are wonderful, and you’ve woven a tale that is believably ancient.
    K

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