Greek myths light verses


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Greek myths light verses

  1. 1. A Little Collection of Light Verse by Scott Emmons illustrated by Chris Harding******************************* Greek Mythology Excerpts from Myth-Demeanors Twisted Tales of Ancient Greece by Scott Emmons illustrated by Chris Harding*******************************
  2. 2. Theseus and the Minotaur or Smite em, Cowboy! In Crete, where brazen goddesses wore all-revealing bodices, Where wild and raucous rituals made palace rafters ring, A man of inhumanity that bordered on insanity Was known as mighty Minos, and he ran the place as king. Malicious and deplorable, he harbored something horrible: The Minotaur, a most bull-headed beast, to coin a phrase. An ill-conceived atrocity of unsurpassed ferocity Imprisoned in a Labyrinth – in other words, a maze. It happened in that dismal time, that dreary, dark, abysmal time, That Athens owed a debt to Crete and felt an awful crunch. For rates were unbelievable. The payment deemed receivable Was seven youths and seven maids to be the creatures lunch! The pride of Athens royalty, renowned for grit and loyalty, Was Theseus, the dashing prince whose triumphs never ceased. With courage most heroical and bearing almost stoical, He volunteered to face the weird and savage Cretan beast. His king and father Aegeus was moved by this egregious Display of selfless sacrifice and proudly told him, "Son, Youll either be victorious or die in battle glorious, So lets devise a signal that will tell me if youve won. "The methods no dilemma, for your sail can serve as semaphore.Well rig your ship with mournful sheets as black as moonless night. But if your great abilities at hand-to-hand hostilitiesShould best the beast, announce the news by hoisting sails of white." With perfect intrepidity (or was it just stupidity?) The prince then sped to Cretan shores to do his hero thing. And as his ship was anchoring, his form aroused a hankering In lovely Ariadne, who was daughter to the king.The princess, stunned and amorous, could not allow this glamorous And handsome youth to perish (as he would, without a doubt). She tossed a spool of thread to him and in a whisper said to him, "Unwind this as youre going in, and it will lead you out."
  3. 3. Then forth into the Labyrinth, the death-inducing Labyrinth, The hero crept, unspooling thread and never looking back, Till deep in the interior, in darkness ever eerier, At last he met the monster, who was dying for a snack.To test the fighters fortitude, the Minotaur then snorted, "Dude, Your kind is whats for dinner!" But the hero boldly said,"No longer will you martyr us. Ill send you straight to Tartarus!"With that he drew his trusty sword and struck the creature dead. Exulting in his victory, he crowed a valedictory, "I really hate to smite and run, but nonetheless, farewell!" He grabbed his lifeline greedily and sought the exit speedily, For deep inside, the Minotaur had now begun to smell.Then wiping beads of sweat away and making good his getaway, He reached the isle of Naxos, and the princess came along.He lost no time in bedding her, but then, instead of wedding her, He sailed away, forgetting her, which I regard as wrong. At last, with utmost gratitude he made it to the latitude And longitude of Athens, having lived to tell his tale. But soon his joviality was checked by grim reality. Hed been in such a hurry, he forgot to change the sail! The king was inconsolable, his weeping uncontrollable When first he spied the dusky sail approaching from the main. Forsaking his metropolis, he jumped from the Acropolis, For grief had left him spiritless and not so very sane. And so the mighty Theseus, the sometimes flighty Theseus, Became the king of Athens in a manner bittersweet.He brought his town to prominence and regional predominance, Which wouldnt be the case at all if hed been killed in Crete!
  4. 4. Prometheus or Come On, Baby, Swipe My Fire Prometheus the Titan was a rebel through and through. A wily and resourceful sort, As all the ancient bards report, with quite a high I.Q. His lifes a fascinating story,Though some may find it rather gory. He loved the race of mortal men, though they were coarse and gritty;And watching them from up on high, This kind and sympathetic guy was overcome with pity.To make their lives a tad less squalid, He thought hed do them all a solid.For mortals had it rough back then. They couldnt get a break. They couldnt light a cigarette, Flambé a simple crepe suzette, or even grill a steak.To sum it up, their straits were dire,For Zeus refused to give them fire. Prometheus went straight to work. He swiped a spark and stowed it Inside a hollow fennel stalk, Then nonchalantly took a walk and hurried to unload it.The mortals cheered his daring plot.They knew the merchandise was hot! That little spark began a trend that spread like – well, like fire.And soon its golden glow was seenFrom coast to coast and in between, which kindled Zeuss ire.
  5. 5. "Prometheus!" he cried, incensed,And vowed, "I shall be recompensed!" He bound him in the Caucasus or somewhere thereabout. To amplify his great despair, He sent a hungry eagle there to peck his liver out. That organ, in its tiresome way, Regenerated every day. This torment lasted centuries (or so it seemed, at least),And no one heard his anguished pleas Until the hero Heracles, while trekking in the East,Brought down the eagle with his bow And let the tortured Titan go.So ends this grand and gruesome tale of crime and retribution, Of strife and tension unsurpassed, A war of wills that comes at last to peaceful resolution. It moves us to this very day. I think someone should write a play!
  6. 6. Pandora or Who Let the Plagues Out? Zeuss wrath had not abated, Still he fumed and fulminated Once hed fixed Prometheus for bringing fire to man. "Humankind," he said severely,"Has to pay, and pay most dearly!" So, with vengeance in his heart, he made a cunning plan. Seething in his agitation, Bent on swift retaliation, Judging that for vexing men theres nothing like a dame, He had Hephaestus do his duty, Fabricate a buxom beauty Just to rock the boat a bit. Pandora was her name.Warmly welcomed by the mortals, Much to Zeuss grins and chortles,Down she came, and brought along a giant earthen jar.At once she opened this container.(Sadly, no one could restrain her.) Then all earthly ills escaped and scattered near and far. Out flew every foul affliction: War and famine, drug addiction, Not to mention static cling and weak domestic beers,Paper cuts and pigeon droppings,"Fun and different" pizza toppings, Ragweed pollen, freezer burn, and songs by Britney Spears; Finger quotes and diet soda, Yappy dogs that look like Yoda, Poison ivy, hanging chads, and insufficient RAM,
  7. 7. Morning people, rising taxes, Men who get bikini waxes, Paparazzi, shedding cats, and either kind of SPAM! Like a leak from faulty plumbing, Still the evils kept on coming. Hope alone remained inside, for good or else for ill.And so our race is doomed to suffer. Life is tough and getting tougher. Thats the lot of humankind, and Zeus is laughing still!
  8. 8. Demeter and Persephone or Grain, Grain, Go Away!The Greeks had their gods of the sky, earth, and water. Demeter was hailed as the goddess of grain. The pride of her life was her tender young daughter Persephone, truly no plain-looking Jane. The two, as all classical scholars agree, Were as close as a mother and daughter could be. Now one day the girl was out gathering roses Beneath the majestic Olympian sky, And there she unwittingly struck a few poses That caught a much older gods lecherous eye. That lusty old coot was none other than Hades, Who wasnt so smooth when it came to the ladies. As Persephone reached for a tiny narcissus, The earth opened up and a carriage appeared. The god was approaching and blowing her kisses, Which struck her as just a bit creepy and weird. He dragged her on board in a manner quite callous And carried her down to his underworld palace. Her cries reached the ears of her mother Demeter, Who flew to the field, but the girl wasnt there. Aware that the Fates were determined to cheat her, She wailed in her anguish and utter despair. She wandered nine days without food or a bath, Which was rather distressing to those in her path. She begged all the gods to provide information, But no one could offer so much as a clue. She searched every valley and hill in creation And ran a few pictures on milk cartons too. At last she dropped in on the all-seeing Sun, Who told her exactly what Hades had done. "Aha!" cried Demeter, her face like a Fury, For now she was livid as well as depressed.
  9. 9. "So craven a crime cant be left to a jury. Ill get my own justice, for my way is best.Since hardballs the game that these jerks seem to like, Ill throw them a curve. As of now, Im on strike!" And all of a sudden the grain crops were failing. The wheat was all withered, the barley was dead. And everywhere mortals were hungrily wailing, "Id give my left bun for a good hunk of bread!" Demeter, as if in some low-budget thriller, Had taken the role of the "cereal killer." Now Zeus was aghast at the whole situation."Weve blundered!" he thundered and started to cuss. "If every last human should die of starvation, Then whos going to offer their tidbits to us? Those mortals may not be good-looking or wise, But no one can slaughter a goat like those guys!" He then sent his messenger Hermes, commanding The Lord of the Dead to surrender his bride. Surprisingly, Hades was quite understanding And said to the girl as he swallowed his pride, "Return, if you must, to the face of the planet, But first have a bite of this nice pomegranate!" She took just a seed, being quite a light eater, Then up to the arms of her mother she flew. The grain was restored by the joy of Demeter, But Hades had worked out a Catch –22. His bride, having eaten, was legally bound To spend half the year in his realm underground. And thats why the grain disappears for a season, When Hades reclaims his reluctant young wife. The myth packs a punch for an obvious reason: It speaks to the constant renewal of life.Demeter was worshipped through all of Greek history, Though frankly her cult is a bit of a mystery.
  10. 10. Echo and Narcissus or I Only Have Eyes for Me Quite often in a fairy tale A maiden meets a macho male and soon becomes his missus. But myths are apt to culminate In sorrows like the tragic fate of Echo and Narcissus. Now Echo was a nymph, they say, As sweet and mild as creme brulée and also nearly mute. Shed parrot back the final word (Or two or three) of all she heard, which in its way was cute. Narcissus was a comely youth, A pretty boy to tell the truth, well-built but not too burly. Surprisingly, this handsome hunk Was chaste enough to be a monk, though centuries too early. One day the youth was hunting deer When Echo glimpsed him from the rear and felt the flame of passion. She thought the words she couldnt say: "Id pluck his bowstring any day!" or something in that fashion. She threw herself into his arms, Bedazzled by his boyish charms and badly overheated. "What makes you think I want you?" said Narcissus, quickly turning red. "I want you," she repeated. Narcissus sneered in sheer disgust At Echos raw, unbridled lust. "Control yourself!" he sputtered."My striking looks, which should delight me,
  11. 11. Just keep coming back to bite me!" "Bite me!" Echo muttered. With that she slunk away to hide. She felt as if she could have died, which would have been her choice. Her body shriveled as she pined, Then disappeared and left behind her disembodied voice. Now many girls had been through hell (And truth to tell, some men as well) for love of proud Narcissus. They called upon the gods above, "May he soon feel the sting of love, so cruelly does he diss us!"The gods of vengeance heard their prayer. Narcissus passed a pond, and there he saw himself reflected. "By Zeus!" he said, "I never thought A bod could be so firm, so taut, but now I stand corrected!" He couldnt pry his eyes away, And so he lingered all that day beside the placid pool. "Dont torture me, dont turn aside, Just kiss me, fool!" he fondly cried. And Echo whispered, "Fool!" Attempting then a close embrace, He tried to kiss that godlike face, which only brought him woe. Instead of touching tender lips, He ended up imbibing sips of tepid H2O. He languished in his lovesick mood And wouldnt eat a speck of food or even take a shower. At last, its rather strange to say, He morphed, and to this very day Narcissus is a flower. Before the change, he beat his breast And wailed, "Im ruined like the rest by passion for Yours Truly. Ive come to see my pride was wrong. I cant believe it took so long!" "So long!" said Echo coolly.