The Captured Goddess a poem by Amy Lowell (1914)
Over the housetops,
Above the rotating chimney-pots,
I have seen a shiver of amethyst,
And blue and cinnamon have flickered
At the far end of a dusty street.
Through sheeted rain
Has come a lustre of crimson,
And I have watched moonbeams
Hushed by a film of palest green.
It was her wings,
Who stepped over the clouds,
And laid her rainbow feathers
Aslant on the currents of the air.
I followed her for long,
With gazing eyes and stumbling feet.
I cared not where she led me,
My eyes were full of colors:
Saffrons, rubies, the yellows of beryls,
And the indigo-blue of quartz
Flights of rose, layers of chrysoprase,
Points of orange, spirals of vermilion,
The spotted gold of tiger-lily petals,
The loud pink of bursting hydrangeas.
And watched for the flashing of her wings.
In the city I found her,
The narrow-streeted city.
In the market-place I came upon her,
Bound and trembling.
Her fluted wings were fastened to her sides with cords,
She was naked and cold,
For that day the wind blew
Men chaffered for her,
They bargained in silver and gold,
In copper, in wheat,
And called their bids across the market-place.
The Goddess wept.
Hiding my face I fled,
And the grey wind hissed behind me,
Along the narrow streets.
Amy Lowell (1874 - 1925)
Fiery flames and smoldering vapor plumes
Wildflowers and wild grasses
An elemental goddess at the mercy of humankind
American poet Amy Lowell's 1914 prescient and haunting poem, The Captured Goddess, is told through intense imagery: from Houston's Memorial Drive wildflowers to the blazing flares and glowing smoke plumes of our city's ship channel. A seven minute mini-opera, The Captured Goddess illuminates contemporary urban life and our ever-pressing forward, ever-changing world.
Music by Dominick DiOrio
Misha Penton, soprano
Meredith Harris, viola
Kyle Evans, piano
Toni Valle, dancer and choreographer
Misha Penton, director
Raul Casares, director of photography
Cliff Davis, editor
Audio recorded by Todd Hulslander at The Geary Performance Studio, Houston Public Media