Poem: Zeus Playing the Cello

Zeus Playing the Cello

When you were a child you read Bullfinch’s and Mary Renault,
tales of gods and heros, Greek and golden,
rife with power and pettiness, a child’s soap opera
of possibilities, far more interesting than the quiet Christ
of Sunday School and Sermons.

Homer ran in your veins, the battlefields of Troy
and the islands of the Odyssey. Your imagination was full
of monsters and maidens and the madness of Gods
that prepared you for the madness you found
in your own surroundings.

Age is supposed to cure you of such romantic notions
but you are not certain you were cured.
your life still full of those who would be gods
as full of petty demons as your childhood imagination,
but far more dangerous.

Late at night, you hear him still, Zeus playing the cello,
a mournful song. Only him. No heavenly orchestra.
No heavenly chorus, the song of a lonely god left behind
by time and age and reason
when he is needed the most.

About this poem

Don’t you miss being a kid sometimes? I do.

Bullfinch’s, for those of us not raised on the classics, was the traditional book that listed stories of the Greek Gods. It once was part of every kids’ education. Mary Renault wrote in the fifties and sixties, about Greek and Macedonian history and heros. And Homer of course, was the blind bard who immortalized Troy and Odysseus. All part of my childhood.

The drawing is one of mine. An old one.


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