By Diane Fahey

The Chimaera was, apparently, a calendar-symbol of the tripartite year, of which the seasonal emblems were lion, goat, and serpent… When the goat emblem disappeared, the Chimaera gave place to the Sphinx, with her winged lion’s body and serpent’s tail…
[Perseus] cut off Medusa’s head with one stroke of his sickle; whereupon, to his surprise, the winged horse Pegasus, and the warrior Chrysaor grasping a golden falchion, sprang fully-grown from her dead body.
—Robert Graves
Lion, goat, snake—
emblems of spring, summer, winter,
in the Sacred Year where I originate.
Those who vanquish the Goddess
vanquish her time, invent new calendars;
and I change from heraldic beast
to fire-spurting monster—
no longer: strengthener, healer;
now: destroyer, betrayer.
Pegasus, once Moon-horse, rainmaker,
bears the solar hero who beheads me,
is made pantomime packhorse
for Zeus’s thunderbolts…
We are both
fictions shaped by other fictions.
But no creature ever ceases to exist:
by the waters of Pegae, I contemplate
the moon, imagine myself
back into being,
see the winged mare,
born from Medusa’s wise blood,
flying beyond death, beyond the moon.

This Poem Features In: