Sunday, September 1, 2013
I took this photo at the Diocletian Baths in Rome. From its location you would think that the curators of the museum don't want visitors to notice this sculpture. She was in the far corner on a path that led nowhere. I was just lucky that I happened to turn around and see her.
She is in fact the cornerstone of Rome's mythical tradition around the she-wolf. The wolf is, I expect, a much older goddess or ancestral figure. And in her old form, as you can see in this photo she has wolf paws and legs, eight wolf breasts plus two woman breasts at the top, a woman's head and wings. She is one powerful figure drawing together strengths from many different realms. I have seen other figures similar to this and will post them in due course.
The following poem was inspired by a story I noted down when I visited the Etruscan Museum. And this figure probably draws on Etruscan stories, as does the story of the she-wolf.
Cavalupo means the quarry of the wolf. I have given it a feminine ending instead to make it the quarry of the she-wolf.
in the quarry of the wolf
the remains of two women
they have shared this urn
for three thousand years
your body on my tongue
your tongue on my body
once we were birds
between us multiple breasts
wolf paws and tail
your blood on my tongue
your tongue on my blood
two women in parallel lope
noses twitching airborne scents
thigh muscles rippling in tension
pounce and prance the wolf dance