Many women live by the maxim “Fall in love with a writer” because they suppose they will then be immortal. I, too, used to find the idea of being a muse attractive and romantic – until I became one. Male writers are frequently selfish, ignoring their muse’s privacy and emotional health for the sake of writing material. I grew frustrated with seeing myself in unwanted words, and began to think about the famous female muses through literary history, and how they were denied voices of their own.
Are not eight double moons
Will the bitten Lope suck, angrily,
at his button-holes, evermore?
Or will he turn and flee, like turmeric,
when trodden-on Belisa raises her head
And raises her voice, oh exotic Mooress!
Will not Beatrice blaze on high
though sus-headed Durante
grants no reprieve?
Did never Laura, with her Arabian mane
Spit a sharp couplet, weary of fame?
No! These poets, men, tyrants, all
Care not for those whom they claim to adore
Fame, trifling sweet, fickle friend though she be
Captures their throats from the isle scopuli-
all care is forgotten, love long sailed away
Not a thought more for the onyx and the pearl
that once inked the lines and sanded them dry,
(that once launched the ships and brought down the walls)
No! Glory and fame, the Olympians roar
until – until – the Muse opens her mouth
and takes to the floor.