[MR] Atlantian Poetry Meetup Reminder

Cindy Watkins cindylou0527 at gmail.com
Tue Sep 15 04:50:48 PDT 2020

Good mythical morning Atlantia! This is your invitation to come sing me
your praise(poem)s today at 6:00pm during Atlantian Poetry Meetup. :)

Google Meet ID: meet.google.com/chu-kmca-ycc

Prompt of the Week: We continue with praise poems! This week, consider
writing a poem in praise of an object, animal, or idea. Check out these

“Horse, Hawk, and Cheetah” by Abu Nuwas are three early 9th century Arabic
hunting poem in praise of those animals as hunting companions, translated
by JE Mongomery. My favorite is “Cheetah”.


I move through black cloud night—
Dark, at war with Dawn,
Quivers with a fine blade’s sheen—
With a vigorous, widejaw cheetah
Thickneck, spine-welded-scapulae
Leanbelly in taut-twist well-rope body
Cheek-folds plump in a scowl,
Sheeny; black teardrops on masseters2
Bactrian lungs in saffron ribcage
Heavy paws, bull neck, sudden dart
A lion but for the spotty coat
Alert for shapes that shift.

A long search sights two herds
On ground flat as a man’s brow
He’s off, a slow stalk,
A trap about to explode
Puff adder slither
Through ground high and low
Face to face with his prey now—
Havoc! He scatters them across the desert
Full stretch, full pelt
Greedy fury.

Why hunt with any creature but a cheetah?

-transl. JE Montgomery

Here, in “God crafted product of the tortoise shell” 6th century BC Greek
poet Sappho personifies her instrument to praise it. Fun fact: “He is
unrivaled, like a Lesbian” became a proverbial expression for excellence in
song. While I for personal reasons would love to interpret this in a modern
sense, here she is speaking of a musician from the Isle of Lesbos. :P

God crafted product of the tortoise shell,
come to me; Lyre, be voluble

He is unrivaled, like a Lesbian
musician matched with other men.

But when you lie dead
no one will notice later or feel sad.
because you gathered no sprays from the roses
of the Pierian Muses.

Once lost in Hades’ hall
you will be homeless and invisible—
Another shadow flittering back and forth
with shadows of no worth.

-transl. A Poochigan

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