Saturday, August 14, 2010

In the Jar Remaining

She opened her eyes and saw
the shining ones, hovering
above her expectantly,  
each wrapped in glory, waiting
for the first of her kind to rise,
naked from the sodden Earth,
arms reaching out,  breathing in
that first breath of birth.

Officiously the fiery smith made haste,
hands weaving mystic gestures in the air,
he added voice to tongue as well as taste,
bestowing strength and beauty with such care
as only his great art, beyond compare,
could bring her forth, live from the sticky clay,
astonishing his betters, by the way.

Once he had perfected her form and face,
two goddesses, the bright eyed and the fair,
adorned his new creation with such grace
that all who beheld her were in despair
as to what finer gifts they could prepare.
While the Graces crowned her hair with flowers
those left out devised more subtle powers.

She felt blood coursing in her veins
smelt sweet garlands in her hair,
bore the weight of golden chains,
knew the  touch of finest cloth
upon her translucent skin;
gentler than the midnight moth,
a lurking evil not yet seen
in that perfect world.

On a golden crown the smith wrought creatures
from the sea, the land and the windy air,
like living things they adorned her features,
each sang with different voices, unaware
that their cold weight was more than she could bear.
To this art the messenger added guile
which formed upon her lips a winsome smile.

When all the gifts had been bestowed on her,
the high thunder said: “let her now be led
to the brother of he who must suffer
such eternal pain, never to be dead,
and in recompense for his theft she’ll wed
this worthy Titan, and take with her a gift,
this jar as dowry and my secret grift.”

She looked at the fateful jar:
fear and dread swelled in her heart
as she clutched it to her breast
and wandered through the wilderness
seeking the one named Afterthought,
but was rejected with mistrust
after travelling so far
to do what she must.

She cried, and beguiled Epimetheus
forgot his brother’s warning to take care
to spurn all gifts from high Olympian Zeus,
and soon was overcome by beauty’s snare.
Enjoying the woman, he did not care
for those who spin, measure or cut fate’s yarn,
or heed the pain of him chained to the skarn.

Left alone, she spied the jar
and felt curiosity:
what fine joys might it contain?
The lid was stiff, and furiously
she pulled hard to get it free.
When all terrors had fled the house,
with the lid safely shut again.
What else, she wondered, might remain?