Potina’s Charm

In this excerpt from the screen novella, Potina, Lady of
the Stag, Potina speaks to Kaptara, the god of the
volcano that she approaches. She is an initiate in the
mysteries and is a sacrifice.

Remember the children in cover,
The delicate nature of skin,
Remember the soft arms of mothers,
The creatures of feather and fin
____…arms in movement of feather and fin.

Who shelter beneath your tall tower,
Who tremble below you in fear,
Who bow before you, who cower
When your bellowing voice they hear.
____...cowering gentles herself.

Be quiet Kaptara, be peaceful
And rest on your pillows of cloud,
Be gentle Kaptara, be easeful,
You needn’t be wakeful and loud.
____…sweetly wagging finger.

I give you myself as a meal,
I come like the corn with a song
To sacrifice life for the people
In flame that you not do us wrong.
____…offers herself to the mountain.



Michael Curtis is an architect, sculptor, painter, historian, and poet, has for more than 40 years contributed to the revival of the classical arts. He has taught and lectured at universities, colleges, and museums, including The Institute of Classical Architecture, The National Gallery of Art, et cetera; his pictures and statues are housed in over four hundred private and public collections, including The Library of Congress, The Supreme Court, et alibi; his verse has been published in over twenty journals; his work in the visual arts can be found at TheClassicalArtist.com, and his literary work can be found at TheStudioBooks.com.

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4 Responses

  1. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    The mellifluous flow of rich language and the exquisite imagery in this wonderful excerpt has transported me to days when stories soared with the magic that is sadly lacking in today’s tales. For me, the opening stanza is particularly striking… the miracle of creation, the wonder of children, and the magnificence of mothers is something modern life has scant respect for. Michael, thank you for this linguistic treat. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.

  2. C.B. Anderson

    The quirky sonics and metrics in this poem push the envelope in many delightful ways, and the mood created is fairly compelling. I can remember, as a kid of twelve years. watching The Last Days of Pompeii on the tv show The Million Dollar Movie, five afternoons in a row.

  3. Joseph S. Salemi

    I agree with Susan — the language is rich and lilting and hypnotic in its rhythm. What is disturbing is the situation of self-sacrifice to the volcano god, and the speaker’s calm self-assurance as she speaks to him. There’s nothing wrong with this — a good poem should always be disturbing in some way. The mixture of what is about to happen (her death) with blissful acceptance and a kind of cheerful positivity is what gives an excellent tension and excitement to the piece.

  4. Michael Curtis

    Thank you for the compliments. Much appreciated.

    And compliments in return: You are building the strong foundation of a tradition that is likely to survive the century. Well done.



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