All Gifts

Today I’m going to share with you one of my poems. “All Gifts” was first published in A Texas Garden of Verses, the Poetry Society of Texas 2013 summer conference anthology. Enjoy!

All Gifts

“And speech [Hephaestus]
the herald of the gods put in, and named the maid
Pandora, since all those who hold Olympian homes
had given gifts to her, sorrows for hard-working men.”
           –Hesiod, Works and Days

He hunches over his work,
shoulders bunched
with surprising power,
feels sweat drip from his
straight Greek nose,
hears it sizzle as a drop hits the fire.

Made of gifts.

He drags his leg
irregularly behind him
as he moves
from fire to water,
dipping hot metal frame
to solidify shape.

She will be perfect.

When the fire of creation
has cooled,
he plumps her up
with fresh earth,
a shell of clay,
a robe of skin.

Sent as punishment.
The breath of life
washes warmly
from his misshapen lips,
mild with stutter,
gentled by fear.

She… She will be perfect.

And then he must give her up.

© Annie Neugebauer, 2011.
All rights reserved.

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  • Julia Munroe Martin

    I love and enjoyed this so much — so glad you shared!

  • Regina Richards

    Beautiful! Thanks for sharing it. 🙂

  • KelsNotChels

    LOVE this.

  • A. B. Davis

    I am slowly working my way through A Texas Garden of Verses and was looking for yours. 🙂 When I finally got to it, I was struck by how different it was, and yet how well it fit in that collection among all the other fantastic poetry. “All Gifts” is something to be read over and over, then it stays with you.

    • Thanks, Ashley! That collection is interesting, actually, in that the poetry doesn’t necessarily “fit together.” The poems were chosen because they were in some way a part of PST’s summer conference, so there’s no cohesive theme. It’s funny how things find ways to tie together, though, isn’t it? Group unlike things and they’ll invariably show you how they connect. I’m glad you like it, and my poem! That means a lot to me.

      • Peggy

        I was thinking it fit because it’s such a beautiful & well written poem, which is what I noticed about A Texas Garden of Verses.

        • Thank you! Yes, I think it’s an excellent collection! I just meant that it doesn’t have a particular theme. Some poetry anthologies, for example, will all be “poems about ____” (love, death, nature, etc.) and this one is much less constrained. In many ways, I prefer that because it gives the poets more freedom to explore what really speaks to them.

  • Traci Kenworth

    Really like this, Annie!! It really comes alive!!

  • Peggy

    Although this haunting poem certainly stands alone, it raises all sorts of questions in my mind and is even more powerful when the reader knows that it is tied in with your poem, “I Pandora”. I’m very excited about these two beautiful poems!

  • jclementwall

    Wow. This is stunning. And I’m so glad you posted the link to “I, Pandora.” I do hope all your Pandora myth poems get published as a collection. I’m fascinated by that myth, and your poetry explores it so beautifully.