The Ballad of Zeus, Hera, and Our Bodies Ourselves

Zeus Giving Birth to Athena, as Elephant (Ouch!)

Ballad of Zeus, Hera and Our Bodies Ourselves

So when Hera, she was ragging,
I turned to her and said–
Can’t take this women’s lib talk
from a deity I’ve wed.

All day over ambrosia,
all night over retsina,
you whine about the female
and the way that males demean ‘er!

Choice? I said.  You’re a goddess!
And by they way you got those pills?
you know the ones the humans use–
I think they’re called Advils.

‘Cause my head hurts something beastly–
oh sure, all men are swine.
But this hubby needs his Ledas
and a swan is not porcine.

But–ugh–my head is splitting
and swelling up so big,
cramping and contorting
hard as Jagger at a gig–

Help, Hera! Help me, Sweetie–
What?  Don’t forget to breathe?
Is that all you’re gonna tell me
when my brain’s bursting its sheathe!

What’s this?  Wah wah!  A baby?
Oh God–(that’s me)–but Hell–
Okay, her toes are very cute,
but my head don’t feel so well.

I can hear Poseidon’s chortle–
Hades’ quake like a jelly roll
served up on a vibration plate
in his most shallow hole–

What’s brought me this wee darling?
That Titaness I ate?
I never thought just swallowing
could put me in this state!

I mean, I’m still that big strong guy
with thunder under thumb–
but could ya’ help me with the diapers,
you little honey bun?


This is supposed to be in a ballad form for the wonderful prompt by Tony Maude over at dVerse Poets Pub, and also a soliloquy of Zeus for the wonderful prompt by Kerry O’Connor at With Real Toads.  Kerry asks us to impersonate a deity in modern times.

The scene takes place as Zeus is about to deliver Athena from his forehead.  Zeus, although paired to Hera, was quite the Lothario.  His lovers included Metis, one of the original Titan gods who was expected by soothsayers to have two children by Zeus, first, a girl and then a boy who was destined, if he lived, to overturn Zeus.  In order to beat the prophecy,  Zeus swallowed Metis, but after he had impregnated her with Athena.  Athena was subsequently born through Zeus’s forehead.

In order to stick with my strengths, I’ve portrayed Athena as an elephant.

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36 Comments on “The Ballad of Zeus, Hera, and Our Bodies Ourselves”

  1. Jamie Dedes Says:

    First of all, the drawing is fabulously funny. I love it. I think one glance and it is emblazoned on my brain. And I enjoyed the poem too. Well done on all counts … a definite rise to the challenges, K. Bravo!

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thanks. I have to confess that it’s an older drawing as I’ve been quite busy, and I copied the face from a Zeus at the Met. I may have made him more comic on my own, but best to get straight from the source (or a museum.) Thanks much. k .

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      It’s a zeus sculpture, I think–you know from the new Greek and Roman galleries–you’ve probably been, but they are quite wonderful–if you haven’t, I highly recommend.

  2. Loved it! Especially the last stanza and Jagger at a gig – well done!

  3. Haha, I like how you stuck with your strength.

  4. claudia Says:

    very cool take on the myth k. – love the pic as well… and if we mess with fate..ha..strange things happen sometimes.. thanks for the smile

  5. grapeling Says:

    that’s priceless, k! the drawing, the verse – perfect!

  6. Love it..everything from drawing to verse…especially the way you ended it!!

  7. Ellen Says:

    Wonderful to read-it had the enchantment of legend, with your special insight! Fun to read 😀

  8. barbara_y Says:

    Athena as a elephant’s a grand idea.

  9. I love to see your little elephant leaping fully-formed from Zeus’s brow. The narrative voice is sterling! I still can’t help thinking the old man got what he deserved.

  10. Tony Maude Says:

    Brilliant k. The drawing, the ballad, the storytelling – what a delight … smiles

  11. hypercryptical Says:

    Oh well done K. Love the drawing!
    Anna :o]

  12. Very, very deep write! Too bad, the ending though he just got out of rehab again recently. mmm. The first stanza, no wonder, lack of respect, huh? Duh…what a movement.

  13. Truedessa Says:

    I enjoyed this one..weaving myth with a modern twist and the picture made me smile…

  14. Delightful read K ~ Enjoyed the conversation and drawing of elephant growing out of Z’s head ~

  15. hedgewitch Says:

    You’re killin me here, k. Demented, delirious and delightful–and great use of form as well. Who could ask for more?

  16. vb holmes Says:

    What a trip! Fun, fun, fun….of course, Zeus may not see the humor in it, so watch out for flying thunderbolts.

  17. So fun.. form picture and content… poor Zeus he didn’t quite master that trip to our time

  18. Susan Chast Says:

    I chortle too! Never has Zeus so clearly given birth! What fun!

  19. janehewey Says:

    fantastic! the elephant in your drawing really caught me off guard, which was a great way to start reading this rollicking ballad. you’ve nailed the form with humor, myth, and quirk. (and Jagger!!) great read, karin.

  20. Most unique humor! Sharp execution and colliding of tales & the present! However, Expected, you’re the best! Faithfully D

  21. Imelda Says:

    I enjoyed reading your poem especially since I just read the other day, in my son’s history book, about the birth of Athena. I can imagine Zeus doing this exact same rant and Hera’s triumphant “Now, you know how it feels to be a woman.” 🙂

  22. Snakypoet (Rosemary Nissen-Wade) Says:

    Absolutely delightful! LOL

  23. kaykuala Says:

    Interesting mythology and a ballad story! This an education! Great take, K!


  24. Margaret Says:

    Somehow, I can’t work up much pity for him. Excellently told!

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