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F-14 Dithyramb

Following spirited readings by Pat Frisella and Patricia Fargnoli at the Oct. Hoot, Joy Starr took us for a ride on a dithyramb:

F-14 Dithyramb

This precious hiatus in life,
Clasped in a steel embrace,
Willing and able to respond,
I yield and speed upward
To fly and dance in the heavens.

Twist, turn, spin, soar,
Play hide and seek with the sun,
Thunder through cumulus trailing virga,
Weave contrails amid high cirrus,
Waltz in the ballroom of the blue,
Flirt outrageously with glorious space, and
Blow a kiss at infinity.

Returning to Earth,
Wheels down,
Throttling back,
I revert to the still
And silent


                        --Joy Starr

A dithyramb is an enthusiastic, sometimes wildly passionate, irregularly structured lyric that derives from the Greek choric hymn to Dionysus, god of wine and fertility. Here our poet rolls the form down a modern verbal runway, transporting her speaker to space on the wings of an F-14! Dionysian in image and tone, the poem has her held tight by the plane, responding to its every move as she’s swept into the heavens. The energy picks up in stanza two, as they "twist, turn, spin, (and) soar" across the great ballroom in the sky. The lines here extend outward, complimenting the expansive enthusiasm of the dance. But the heavenly hiatus cannot last—nothing gold can stay. After blowing "a kiss at infinity," the exhilarating ride is over. Stanza three compresses as the lift is left in the air. Wheels down, her mighty partner drops her off on Earth—where that "precious hiatus" reverts to a great stillness, a silence, a solid awareness of NOW. --JP

"F-14 Dithyramb" copyright 2004, Joy Starr. Joy’s articles have appeared in The Washington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, NH Profiles and elsewhere. Her poetry has been published in The Exeter Newsletter, The Poet’s Touchstone, and the Random Acts of Poetry Anthology. She lives in Exeter.

Please note
: the Poetry Hoot is on the first Wednesday of every month at Cafe Espresso in the 800 Plaza, Portsmouth, NH.   Note: Poems submitted to this column should not exceed nineteen lines.