Poetry this week! Three pieces inspired by Greek myths and one Arthurian.
hera’s a jealous bitch, they all say;
she keeps a tally on the wall above her bureau
of all the kids and dames she’s ended
(cause she can’t end the grand old man himself,
they talk about her pride and how you can see it
in her hips and the fall of her hair over her shoulder
she never takes that crown off, they whisper;
she wears it to bath and to bed
(like she’s afraid he’s going to forget he gave it to her
if he doesn’t see it sitting on her brow)
and only turns a little
to bounce reflected light into their eyes
from the circlet which rubs weals along her temples
v. (creation according to bulfinch)
in the belly of chaos stirred the nascent thought of order
and chaos, troubled, spat it out
to take the form of sky and soil, sea and seed of something living.
time — a newfangled innovation — passed
(enough of it for those who lived to know they lived
and think to name themselves);
someone called himself prometheus
played in the mud and mixed up a race of stargazers
weak, naked little things — brainy, though —
the last picked for the bestowing of gifts.
(lion got claws, raven got wings
even stupid turtle got a shell)
so what was left? man asked his maker
and prometheus stole from the sun
to show he loved his wretched, mucky children.
the kids took the heat for the theft, though —
a bomb in a box (with hope at the bottom as afterthought/apology)
and now that they were kitted out with troubles
big enough for grownups
daddy left them to themselves
(sure that fire was enough to get them by).
deep underground persephone sings;
through winter’s brittled earth
rises her voice
(sweet and vibrant
stained with loss)
and far above
in some forgotten quiet place
demeter turns her wheaten head
presses her ear to the ground
to catch and savor every word
from her daughter’s scarlet lips.
i never meant to be a king.
i was some nobody kid
knowing i’d catch it if i didn’t deliver.
i wasn’t thinking straight —
i was out of breath
half out of my head —
so i didn’t think
of just how dumb it was
to wrap my hands around the hilt
the rock was dead solid
(i banged my shin on it
as i went for the sword)
and if i’d been less frantic
i might have listened to the laws of physics
which said i didn’t have a chance.
if i’d been able to put a thought together
i would have remembered hearing
how the big names sweated
trying to get this stupid thing free.
but i didn’t think —
just grabbed it and ran.
(it was heavy
though not so heavy
as this crown.)