"The Sculptor and His Muse"

A weekly poem, read by the author.
Aug. 23 2011 6:51 AM

"The Sculptor and His Muse"

(Rodin, 1894)

Click the arrow on the audio player to hear Greg Miller read this poem. You can also download the recording or subscribe to Slate's Poetry Podcast on iTunes.

The lithe muse rises from his crotch,

right finger and delicate thumb

poised where I watch

her rise

from his shaft's hidden head,

her left foot rising from his thigh

as from a bath,

falling counterclockwise

head-to-head, their shared wreathlike hair

like Venus shed

or cut from Zeus to be thrown free

until the spinning lines make me see

her large left hand is his also,

she his shoulder

shock-stopped

by that face—least finished,

blinded and turned inward—

those pert, small breasts

the clock's top, where he's dropped:

that giant right hand that's covered

the beard—the mouth—

vomiting and making.  What lifts

his muse from the stone scrotal sack

or earth-womb opening between

his knees—earth-wounded—wracked by lack

and surfeit, stone lactary-sheen?

.

Greg Miller is the author of Iron Wheel(1998), Rib Cage (2001), Mississippi Sudan (2006), and Watch (2009). He is Janice Trimble chair of English at Millsaps College in Jackson, Miss.