Friday, 9 May 2014

PROMETHEUS, A SNEAK THIEF


When you write a poem do you worry about not being understood? That the allusions are too personal? Or that not everyone will know about the life in ancient Egypt and so won't get it? I do. You walk a changing line when writing.

Take this poem. Do you need to know that Prometheus, in Greek mythology, is a trickster who created humans from clay and stole fire from the Gods giving it to humanity and so kick starting civilisation? For this theft he was bound to a rock and eagles pecked his liver. Every night it would grow back and the whole awful scene act itself out once again.


I think you do, and I suppose that is why I am telling you before you see the poem.

Prometheus, a sneak thief,
saw the opportunity and ran with it.
Later he would have time to fully reflect on his action,
each dawn, after a night of regrowth
almost as painful as the coming day.
Still look at what we made on the deal!

It has to be said the deforestaion of
Mount Olympus could have been handles better.
Though the evictions were necessary.
It was not spite, once we had clockworked the world,
they simply were not needed anymore.

Prometheus? We ignore him;
there was the odd poetic reference,
the even odder novel.
At least we allowed him to stay,
you can see him in any food bank queue,
looking like we owe him something.


I didn't write it in one go, I had the idea of Prometheus and wondered if he regretted his act just before the eagles began again. Then I thought about humans and what we have done with his gift. Joseph Campbell in The Hero with a Thousand Faces, his study of mythology, states that Prometheus is an parable of gaining knowledge quickly without undertaking the apprenticeship. I am not sure. Prometheus is a trickster and we tricksters don't think in such logical arcs.

Here is a Mountain Goats video, Sax Rohmer. Enjoy

1 comment:

  1. I love your poem. I like the last stanza and the irony of it. I like the turn of phrase in "Clockworked the world" very good! Thank you for sharing. You can look over my poems at https://thelostpoemsoftheunworthypilgrim.blogspot.com/

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