POETS ONLINE ARCHIVE: Myth Poems

Poor Sisyphus ... not only doomed to eternal stone rolling, but only to be remembered for that and not as King of Corinth. Do people still read the classics? Do they still ring true in our time? Try a poem using a mythological allusion in a modern setting. A bit fuzzy on your myths? Try this site, or another which has a lighter take on the classics.



        Baucis and Philomen

We look above to a glistening screen
of willow leaves, pulled over us
like a linen warp of yellow and green
threaded through a foot pedal loom.

The wind is the weft we feel as it passes
over and under, the breeze on a shuttle
weaves a coverlet of current around us.
You entwine your fingers in mine

as my cheek rides the curve of your arm
and my hair spreads the auburn rays
of a fan in the grass at our heads
while finches seek finches

with dipping glissando trills.
We find ourselves creekside
where earth smells of water
flowing and lithe, suspended

like silver minnows in a stream
arching and winding our way
finally fused together
in the rings of our aging trunk.
 

            Jbelcanto@aol.com

 



        Captured by Black and White

Like Oedipus before Polyphemus, Susan before
the wide-eye of the Nikon camera,
wants to escape, looks from side to side
for a sheep under whose belly she can ride
from the room, smelling of lanolin, smoke,
wool, and the airy, spicy meadows of the Greek
island where it grazes. Instead she turns
her head while the lens loves her profile,
steals a bit of her soul to mount on heavy
slick paper, to be framed like a trophy by her
bring-it-back-alive husband, the hunter who
kills nothing but the small things he can
not see: desire, hope, and objects of varied
color, for his only film is black and white.
 
            Mikal Lofgren


Hypnos

It separates us from the gods.
Zeus knew not of time, age or sleep.
Night nursed sleep and dreams
and their younger brother too.
But Hypnos was dearest to the muses,
who loved song, discovered letters
and so poetry.

The gods didn't want poetry,
songs, dreams or sleep.
Thanatos sucked slowly at night's breast,
but still could not sleep.

Charles Michaels


Islands In The Myth

"Search.  There is but one...", a voice rang forever true.

Hey you!
Dare.
With you on that ISland, who?

Tourists from
modern-day ocean liners fully manned, an innocent, unknown coo?
Seaplaners on
mission do.

It's Dare, it is.
Dare.
Dare.

Daedalus did dare.
Flee to an island,
build did he.
Webs of sorts, in 3-D.
Oh said they, he gave
"Power of Movement" to
mere statues there.

Going somewhere?

By and by, the next time
you island stay...
think:

'Of Daedalus, is the mythological
energy a spectrum to consider?'

'Am I another Labyrinth builder,
yielding?'

'Be I, the Power of Movement, or the Movement of Power'?
Must it be one way or another?

ISolated?

Daedalus leaves the mystery.
The new-day scenes carry on as well;
with loads of new-day cigars, secret visitors, oh yes, some from 'Hell',
some not.

Carry on. Carry on.

Carry on- flee...
as Daedalus did to an ISland he be.

Where's not an ISland then?
Careful, don't be deceived.

Search.  You must.
There IS 'land', but one.

Look, look to the new-day sun.
An 'Indiana Jones' connection.

Modern-way puzzling, even in, all rather simple.

Simple.

It's the Labyrinth - build as it may;
But the motion of the pieces won't go away.
Here and there, all over the place.
The ISlands as pieces, we too may face.

            Jane Conforti


After Ten Years

"Do not speak soothingly to me of death."
Achilles to Odysseus

It's as if Hermes has led me
past the gates of sun and dreams
and left me here,
sitting beneath an elm tree
where false dreams cling under every leaf.
This place of no pleasure, this flavorless air.


Had I Hades' helmet of invisibility,
I would walk from here
take the coin from under my tongue
and buy passage home.

Ken Ronkowitz



            Wasted Trip

Sun's blaze burdening the venture
through the ever growing jungle mist
Hard to end the trek I've indulged upon
as the destination does not exist

Wandering left to right
returning to the start
Ever remembering how
the dream was torn apart

The phone told me of the
home of Emperor Eiold
Deep within this hell hole
near his treasure chest of gold

So without all of the logic
I have within the mind
Endless funds of fortune
In this jungle I hoped to find

But as I divulged earlier
in this explanation of my fate
Traveling deep within this clog of trees
it seems I came too late

For as I watched the group of men
have possession of the prize
I also watched my life savings
Diminish with my pride

        Rob Shannon


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