Posted tagged ‘yet another poem about Eos and Tithonus’

Eos At The Never-End

September 30, 2014


Eos At the Never-End

She took
to locking him in a room.
She took
to rolling rugs against the jamb.
She took no one
into her confidence,
not the sons of her womb,
the sons she’d won
by taking him,
then beautiful.

She, who gave birth to herself
each day anew;
she, who gave birth
to each day anew;
could do nothing–
against the decay
of his loved limbs,
the wither of his skin,
nor yet against
the forestalling of
the dust of him.

She took to polishing
burnishing the door’s brass handle
until it fretted into the flute
of an icon’s
pilgrim-palmed foot,
the metal worn to its marrow
by eons’ pleas.

She hummed, polishing,
as if dusting thin air,
but truly to guard against
the threadbaring
of the rolled rugs, their insufficient
for she could not bear to hear
his gristled babble,
his dried tongue,
the chirping
of chapped bones.

Oh how she ached, when there;
oh how she hurt, when apart;
but still she could not enter,
not even in those dark hours
when oblivion corralled
her pale chariot,
and rose was a shade
not imaginable.
not then.


Here’s a sort of poem for dVerse Poets Pub’s poetics prompt, hosted by Abhra Pal, to write a poem arising out of myth.  I have resorted to the myth of Eos (the Goddess of the Dawn) and Tithonus, the human lover she captured, who, upon her request to Zeus, was granted the boon of immortality.  Eos forgot, however, to request that Tithonus also be granted endless youth; thus he was doomed to live forever, growing older and older.  There are numerous versions of the myth–in some Tithonus becomes so old and parched that he turns into a cricket; in others, he simply becomes very very old (and I guess, senile) and Eos locks him away in a room so that she does not have to hear his feeble babbling. 

The above is a photo (supposedly in the public domain) of  Eos and her son (by Tithonus) named Memnon, slain in the Trojan War.  (So, it’s not Tithonus–too young–but a beautiful figure.)  This is from an Attic red-figure cup, ca. 490-480 BC, signed by Douris (painter) and Kalliades (potter).  It is sometimes called the “Memnon Pietà.”   (It’s in the Louvre Museum. No copyright infringement intended.) 

PS this has been edited since first posting;  one edit was done on the iPhone and left out a word!  But I think I’ve fixed that now.