Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


The Maenads

Somewhere I read 
that when they finally staggered off the mountain 
into some strange town, past drunk, 
hoarse, half naked, blear-eyed, 
blood dried under broken nails 
and across young thighs, 
but still jeering and joking, still trying 
to dance, lurching and yelling, but falling 
dead asleep by the market stalls, 
sprawled helpless, flat out, then 
middle-aged women, 
respectable housewives, 
would come and stand nightlong in the agora 
silent 
together 
as ewes and cows in the night fields, 
guarding, watching them 
as their mothers 
watched over them. 
And no man 
dared 
that fierce decorum.

Credit


From Finding My Elegy by Ursula K. Le Guin. Copyright © 2012 by Ursula K. Leguin. Reprinted with permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

Author


Ursula K. Le Guin

Ursula K. Le Guin is the author of several poetry collections, including Finding My Elegy: New and Selected Poems (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012), and over twenty novels, including The Left Hand of Darkness (Walker, 1969).

Date Published: 2012-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/maenads