There is something in the collective solemnity of this image of the Maenads written by Le Guin. Something profoundly powerful, silent and timeless. Something which reminds me of one of the Matrixial stories told at a session in The Lab, in Dublin. An exhausted, pregnant Mother in the Airport really needed a seat. The men took up all the nearby seats beside the door so she sild down the wall and sat on the floor. Then the women came. They got her a seat somehow and gathered around her and she knew she was safe because the women protecting her were mothers. They located her partner, got her water and something to eat and made sure her partner understood what she needed. They stood around her and she knew she was safe.
Le Guin creates a similar, powerful image with the following poem.
The Maenads were followers of Dionysus, important members of the Thiasus. The Thiasus was the parade of inebriated revelers. But I think that inebriated in this case can mean ecstatic. When I think of the word ecstatic I don't think of being out of control but rather connected to a different kind of powerful energy which is greater than the bounds of our own regular perception. An energy which allows us to see-feel- move with something infinite.
Anyway here is the poem.
Ursula K. Le Guin, 1929 - 2018
Somewhere I read
that when they finally staggered off the mountain
into some strange town, past drunk,
hoarse, half naked, blear-eyed,
blood dried under broken nails
and across young thighs,
but still jeering and joking, still trying
to dance, lurching and yelling, but falling
dead asleep by the market stalls,
sprawled helpless, flat out, then
would come and stand nightlong in the agora
as ewes and cows in the night fields,
guarding, watching them
as their mothers
watched over them.
And no man
that fierce decorum.