Tag Archive: poetry


Marsayas, After the Contest

(Inspired by ponderings of what Marsayas might have said while hanging on the tree after Apollo flayed him.)

You cut to kill, but I may yet survive
and if I do, you’ve given me much to consider.
Laid bare to blood-drenched muscle,
every movement, every slight breeze
sears my nerves with fresh pain.

If I die, surely it will be of agony, not injury.

I don’t think you will be wearing my hide;
such is undoubtedly well beneath you.
Though perhaps someday I will wear yours:
not in death- for you, there is none
but if someday you shed your skin
like you shed a tear, molting like a snake,
if I should come along at just the right time,
I would seize it up and wrap it around me-
could I then be you, for just a moment
before your essence is lost?

Yes, I am delirious.

You may think me a fool to challenge a god,
but even if I die today, I will be immortal.

(On a related note, I would like to point out this painting illustrating the flaying- this is one that I would love to have a print of one of these days. )

Advertisements

Return

And now, it is time for your return

to your sanctuary high atop this stark-faced mountain

where curls of smoke from burning incense

drift and melt into a veil

and bowls of wine and honey adorn your altar.

I wait in your temple, a hymn on my lips;

a prayer hangs from my tongue,

longing for your presence so that it may fall.

Time stretches, then stands still,

holds its breath in anticipation:

your arrival never comes quickly enough.

(written in honor of Apollo’s return to Delphi)

I wrote this little bit about a year ago:

Bleed me dry,
I am damaged again.
Oh God of My Nightmares,
this time you’ve done it:
Ripped the pain out. Painfully.

Well, last night, it continued itself.

Bleed me dry,
I am damaged again.
Oh God of My Nightmares,
this time you’ve done it:
Ripped the pain out. Painfully.
No mere scratching the surface, this.
You cut me soul-deep
and now I’m bleeding out.
God of healing, help me to heal.
And will you then help me to not hurt?

Site Update!

Spent some time today adding my religious poetry, hymns, prayers etc to this site. You can find it here. This includes a page for Apollo, one for other Hellenic gods, and one for non-Hellenic and non-specific gods.

Still a bit under construction, a few thigns need to be tweaked a bit, but other than some minor editsit’s as I want it for now.

Insufficient

To look upon the face of a god,
that is the great mystery,
to fall into such a vision…
to be fixed by the immortal gaze…

Were it that I could paint as I wanted,
I could show you the god who wields
a bow of fire to rain down razor-arrows
from the heavens,
whose touch burns as it heals and whose
sight is second to none.

Whose voice is menacing silk
to the ears of his follower,
uttering terrible prophecy and tossing out
impossible riddles as casually as one
might mention the weather.

And I could show you a god who shines, blinding,
and smolders darkly at once:
The ancient face of youth, perfected and placed on a pedestal
Who grieves as though the world were to end
and meets petty insults with death.

I could show you the god of gold
who dwells in a temple of crystal
perched precariously on a mountain of ice
high above the world.
The wolf and the swan, both,
heed when he speaks- he is one of them
their forms are his forms too.

And there are his eyes, a color you cannot see to name,
whose gaze you cannot meet- or cannot remember meeting-
shadows behind the light,
in the eyes which cannot be met, here he holds all the secrets,
the answers to all questions never asked.

If I could paint as I want,
I could show you every flippant proclamation,
every blatant riddle,
each death, and life preserved,
each wound healed;
the blinding darkness, the obscured light,
the burning touch of his flame-covered hands.

But I cannot paint in blood or fire,
cannot draw with crystal or death.
No canvas vast enough exists
to contain such beauty and terror
and rage and grief, such feeling, as his.
So this will have to do.

I must apologize:
it will never suffice.

(This was inspired mostly by my own ideas, but also a bit by the few decent depictions I could find when browsing around on deviantArt.)

Poetic Ambitions….

Though only a handful seem to be widely known (Daphne, Khyparissos, Hyakinthos and a few others), Apollo is a god of many loves, some of whom are only ever given a single line or two in any of the ancient writings.

I was thinking it might be interesting to see how many of these have enough material to retall a story, or perhaps to even speculate a story for the purposes of poetry. This, I think, could be an interesting project. Would make a great book if there was enough material.

Oooh, now I have ideas.

How could I not have loved the beautiful god
whose hair and skin are like gold
and whose eyes burn a cool fire?

He spoke to me in a voice so sweet,
words flowed from his tongue like silk.
And the songs he sang, so lovely, surely the Muses
must weep at their beauty.

(And a few, I think, would elicit a blush
even from Erato herself, though this is never mentioned
in the stories they tell of a god such as He.
It wouldn’t be proper.)

And when he desired for me to come with him to his bed,
he promised me no great gifts of unerring prophecy or any
dazzling trinkets that gods may offer in the moment of seduction,
but I had no care for these anyway;
He but asked and I went willing, for a song,
for one night that has burned itself on my soul.

In time I found that one night had left its mark
upon more than my soul, and soon I was to have a child.
A son I would have loved, but for shame cannot keep.
If I told, none would believe that he was
begotten by a god.

Four days past, in a hidden thicket I lay,
pangs of the birth like no pain I’ve ever felt before.
He sent to my side help, the birth-goddess and the Fates.
When it ended, I cried in relief, and I cried in joy, short-lived
and love for the child, so small,  now in my arms.

It is with great anguish I chose to do this thing.
I don’t know how I will live with it, I’ll worry about that later.
If I think twice now, I’ll turn back.

In this field of violets, surrounded by honeybees, I’ll lay him down.
I’ll walk away, and I won’t look back.
No doubt he will perish, but I will pray for a miracle and try to forget
this child of mine and of the god of light.

One night that has burned itself upon my soul
Now has torn my heart in two.

(If you read my previous post, you know that I have not told the entire story here. Also, if you haven’t figured out, I’ve taken some reasonable artistic license and fabricated some detail. This is a departure from my normal writings,but I think I will be trying this sort of thign again in the future.)

…working on a few things. At the moment, I think I have a good bit going on a poem that I had originally started about a year ago based on the myth of Evadne (Before you comment just to let me know, I am well aware that as I write this, the link isn’t working right now. It seems that Theoi.com is having some issues. But fear not, I am sure it will return soon. Just keep checking from time to time)

It’s one of the more obscure myths, and unfortunately, I can’t find anyhitng more than a one-line summary anywhere else, so I can’t look up some of the details that I want to check out right now. (I’m waiting for an article from JSTOR that might help with some bits, but I’m not holding my breath.)

I may post the first iteration before I can look up the details, not sure yet. Probably will depend on how long it takes to get my needed research done.

Poetic Fragment #1

This is just a fragment…not sure if I’m going to add to it or no, I kinda like it as-is…I started writing more to it, but it ended up not working out as I thought it would.

Bleed me dry,
I am damaged again.
Oh God of My Nightmares,
This time you’ve done it-
ripped the pain out. Painfully.

A Good Thing

I am tired, I am dazed.
I am delerious, I am in pain.
These ties that bind my wrists
eat the flesh raw;

but shoot another arrow into my heart,
go ahead, drive another point
straight through my core

and when you’re finished, peel
back my skin layer by layer
until my skin is no more.

I shudder to think about it,
but your torture is comfort.

I won’t be going anywhere, don’t worry.
I don’t have the strength to think about escape,
and escape is not what I need.
Or want.

So it’s a good thing
these ties that bind my wrists
will hold me up.

Untitled

You: Dangerous.

A keenly-honed edge,
razor-sharp.

Ooh, shiny.

Menacing,
hypnotic.

Deadly,
like a wolf,
claws slashing
jaws snapping.

More precise
than microsurgery.

Burning like a fire,
Harsh as an arctic freeze.

As scarred as a man.

As perfect as a god.

Untitled

Do I make an offering in your temple
when it is I who is offered?
I lay my trust in your hands
as surely as you lay down my shredded body
bleeding on your altar,
its surface now streaked and stained
as red as life and death.
What you want of me, you don’t ask
but take from me violently.

Simple acts of devotion will never suffice.
You, I cannot worship by halves.

Willingly

My trust, you demand
repeatedly, constantly.
Don’t you know this hurts?
What do you want from me anyway?
Don’t you know I follow you willingly?
I sometimes wonder if there’s
something wrong with me,
that I let it go so far
and why I have no desire for it to end.
But your beauty is my incentive
and your touch burns, sublime.
The slice of your blade across my skin
is so familiar now
though the shock never wears off completely
and terror is new every time.
I know you know this hurts.
Now I know what you want from me.
And I know you know I follow you.
Willingly.

Untitled

Oh ancient face of idealized youth,
I’ve seen what lies beyond your
marble shell,
scarred perfection,
horrifying beauty,
comforting terror
of depths which I can barely
begin to conceive the vaguest iota
you protect the would-be victim
from your own destruction.

In you, contradiction contradicts no more.

You.

I come to you broken.
I come to you damaged,
cut and scarred by your own doing.
What will you?
Why do you do this to me?
Why do you call me?
Why do you hold me, claws digging deep
into my flesh?
You are the enigma.
You are the dream.
You are the nightmare.
You make me scream
in pain
and tremble with fear.
But you pull me to you
and hold me with an iron velvet grip
which I have no desire to escape.
You’ve given me freedom
(or the illusion of it).
All I want is to know
what lies in front of me.
But you tell me nothing.
And I only wait.
And follow.
You try my trust.
You lead me blind.
Your gentle touch burns.
Your cruel cut heals.
I bleed by your hand
and rest on your stained altar.
I, a crumpled heap, can barely crawl.
You gave me wings.