Writings and Witterings



Napowrimo small
Athenian red-figure lekythos, Museum of Art Rhode Island School of Design (

You are a rainbow
—a gilded-winged messenger —
a fresh-faced goddess,
refilling rain clouds
with seawater.

Whispers of wind,
Zephyrus by your side,
into the ocean deep,
underworld dark,
unhindered by the caduceus,
unchecked before sea serpents.

Harpy sister
bring to Zeus the great oath of gods,
Iris, take him your ewer,
sweet syrup of nectar.

Swift, sure, storm-like,
rage of the messenger
bent on your twin.
Your joy, iridescence of Arke’s wings
dulled by Achilles, he of the heels.

Harbinger of light
in gossamer gown:
ruby red;
orange organza;
yarrow yellow;
gecko green;
byzantine blue;
incisive indigo;
virtuous violet
—the realm of the rainbow is yours—
always beyond reach.

Polly Stretton 2020

Revised for napowrimo #6

12 thoughts on “Iris

  1. Beautiful myth here–I have taken photos of rainbows recently–they are so amazing. k.


  2. Reblogged this on Smile Circulation and commented:
    Lovely poem


  3. Two words I had to look up: ‘caduceus’ and ‘ewer.’ I always enjoy learning new vocabulary, especially when it’s used in such pretty poetic prose. So thank you. 🙂


  4. Polly, I love mythology in all its guises, and your taking Iris here (oops, almost wrote “Irish,” ha ha ha) and pulling apart the colors of the iridescent rainbow, so lovely. Magical. “Virtuous violet,” indeed! Just lovely. Amy


    • Ha! So you mock the virtuous violet ‘eh? Look out, or those parakeets will be after you…especially when they see the ‘Irish’ comment! heh-heh 😉
      Good to see you, Amy. Hope all’s well with you and yours x


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