Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Lamentation of the Twelve

Sing Muses, Olympus-born, of the tragic burning of Hellas:
Of the gathering anew of your father and the Twelve
veiled in mist on the ancient mountain, your home of old
where the ambrosia has lain untouched and the nectar is undrinkable.
Of the tainting of the god-touched springs where your blessed bodies bathed.
Of the reaping of lush forest long home to your nymphean games.
How your father has called forth once again the Twelve
long abandoned by the mortals whose love they once commanded.

Sing, divine daughters of Aegis-bearing Zeus, your noble father:
Of his anger when the strong-willed Titan dared to steal Fire
to give to man what was meant for gods to wield.
Of Zeus’ anger, forever cleaving the bond with man asunder,
no longer welcome at the magnificent tables of the gods
Of the punishment of mortals for this gift -
Pandora, artfully molded by lame-born Hephaestus,
a woman for Prometheus’ manly folly.

Sing, fair-breasted Muses, from your mountain vale:
How the divine cast off their eyes from the misty peaks
to survey the burning of Hellas.
From Evia, Taygetos, the destruction of Ilieas
to Artimeta and the ancient ruins of Olympia
to the once bountiful forests of Parnitha, and the hills of Imittos
to the tree-guilded fingers of Halkidiki.
Of how the searing flames of the Achaian lands
reflect in the iris of each Olympian.
Even the immortals shed tears this day.

Sing, god-touched Muses, with your golden voices:
As your father Zeus, who once cursed mankind,
demands of the twelve to account for how the fool-Titan’s gift
was squandered, consuming the mortals in its fiery blaze.
To Athene, with her love for the Hellenes - where is the wisdom?
To Artemis, who mourns the forests - why does your bow not sing?
To Apollo, who gave man healing power – why do the wounds lie open?
To Hermes, who travels far and wide - what trickery was wrought?
To Hera, who reigns as Queen - where are the blessings of the marriage bed?
To Ares, armored god of war - why was Hellas left unarmed?
To Demeter, whose will the fields made fertile - why are they now barren?
To Poseidon, who rules the sea - why did the waters not rise in wrath?
To Aphrodite, for whom love is all - why was love betrayed?
To Hephaestus, who shapes the world with fire - why can the flame not be contained?
To Hestia, the immortal virgin - why was the hearth unguarded?

Sing, rosy-lipped Muses, while Greece the flames consume:
Of the Divine in agony, holding council to save their ancient home.
Of the Twelve who once used their immortal powers on the minds of ancient men
to twist and shape them to their folly
Of Titan-born Zeus, who but one response to his supplicants with regal nod can give:
“Whatever in my power lie I will perform.
Fate’s great weave Man must now perfect.”

-inspired by Hesiod


bryan-in-greece said...

Did you compose this piece, Mel? Superb topical poetry!!

Cheryl said...

It's powerful...

melusina said...

Bryan - yes, I wrote it. I started thinking about what the Olympians would think about the fires, and was inspired to write in the style of Hesiod's Hegemony. I'm glad you like it.

Cheryl - Thanks!