by Neil Outar
In stygian gloom on an ebon throne
Lord of the Dead in his unhappy realm
sits crowded by shades, and yet all alone.
The moans of the damned threaten to o'erwhelm
this God, burdened 'neath Cyclopean helm
don'd in war 'gainst the Titans horde.
Among the new Gods he proved the most fell,
scything through heav’nly ranks with wicked sword.
And yet, in the end, his brothers were Lords
of sky and sea, leaving him the dark earth.
Stung, he left the victor's field without words.
Of such mean stuff did they reckon his worth!
Ages of men, Hades dwelt on this wrong
in impotent rage ‘mongst the ghostly throng.
She dances, nimble feet playing above
unbent grass as she twirls in the meadow.
Her smile is Spring, full of hope, full of love,
with the promise of bright days to follow.
Her light tread betrays no fear of a foe,
for what under heaven would harm the child
of Demeter and Zeus, would chance the throw
and tempt a strike from above, frenzy wild
bolt from the Father, or Mother, though mild,
whose wrath would stir the seasons to mourn?
Such was her lot, and proud Heaven smiled
as she wandered the world, bringing the morn.
Sweet Persephone she was, adorned in blooms,
frolick'd in youth, unaware of her doom.
For Proud Hades rises from his throne of jet,
quits the dark halls that are his exiled lot.
Mounting chariot drawn by steeds of mist,
he seeks respite from the dank and the rot.
O’er the world he flies, seeking visions not
of death, but of life, of some high power
that might ease his pain, might loosen the knot
that binds this Lord to a doom most dour.
But Lo! he sees her, laying 'mongst flowers
that she shames with the wonder in her eyes.
Her charms assail his iron clad tower
of grief, watching from his perch in the skies.
He must have her, and so he dares the deed,
begins her bondage, yet from his own freed.
To the halls of woe Hades brings his bride.
She sits in his court of unending tears
to lighten his burden, to stop the tide
of despair that rises, quells the fears
stirred by cries of souls that he alone hears.
She knows in her heart that time there is short
ere her Father and Mother break the bier
of her bow'r. Hades cannot hope to thwart
the power of Zeus, nor hold His daughter
ensorcell'd, for the same power that holds
his madness at bay and brightens his court
makes her proof 'gainst magics, however bold.
Daughter of Harvest, her counsel she keeps,
a mournful blossom in the hidden deeps.
He tries to woo her, Lord of the Grave,
With honey’d words that she refuses to heed.
This unwilling master, eternal slave
of the darkness, with his terrible need
for light and warmth on which he can feed
offers gems, riches, a place at his side
if only she will relent, perform the deed
that will bind her to him, keep her tied
to his fate in the shadows, there to abide.
She spurns his fruit, grown in shadow’d fields,
and refuses by such bait to be plied.
For such petty tokens, she will not yield.
In her joyless palace, the Goddess waits
For Olymp’an arms to throw down the gates.
In Zeus’ high court, the debate rages hot.
Gods argue whether ‘tis folly to chance
deliv’ring Spring from her unhappy lot.
The Father of Gods makes ready his lance,
wearied by soft words, res’lute in his stance.
He knows that he must attempt Hades’ lair
to save his daughter from ill circumstance.
He resolves to travel the road from fair
Olympus to the deeps where only gods dare
to tread, cross the Styx to the abode
of Hell to demand return of his fair
daughter. He steels himself to walk that road.
But not alone does Zeus approach the gate-
armies divine follow him to his fate.
For the plea of Demeter, laden with tears
Speaks harsh words to the Olympians’ pride,
dismissing their protests as little fears
voiced by cowards seeking to step aside,
let Hades take that which should be denied.
She vows as a mother, never to rest
‘til her only child is brought to her side.
Swift action against the thief she impress’d
And cautioned them ‘gainst unmanly doubts, lest
her divine grief, through tormenting seasons
Lay waste to the earth in frozen conquest.
Mad with longing, she stands beyond reason.
In fear for their world, the Gods join the siege
of dark Hades realm, to stand with their liege.
Having shut his prize away from all reach,
Hades stands defiant before the host,
proof ‘gainst parley and threat, reason or speech.
His manner speaks of one who is foremost
‘mongst Gods, and his claim is no empty boast.
From the set of his gaze, they can discern
the truth of his prowess. He was the most
baleful of powers, and passage they earned
would be doubtful- he would suffer to burn
the world, throw down the pride of heaven’s might
in defense of his claim. He will not turn
From his dread course, and makes ready to fight.
‘Gainst all powers stands the Lord of Lament,
Wed to a goddess without her consent.
Yet, unbidden, the Goddess’ heart softens,
as she sees the Truth in Lord Hades’ deed.
His silent servants attend her often,
plant with telling eyes a most subtle seed.
In her mind’s eye, she discerns her Lord’s need.
Though from her captor she withholds her grace,
her presence in Hell keeps its shadows freed
from madness. Here, she has an honored place
and a Lord with a comely, careworn face,
who would defy Zeus for hope of her love.
This is a brideprice she can embrace.
She eats of the fruit, forsakes heav’n above.
Zeus cannot know what awaits underground-
For love’s need, a goddess willingly bound.
Last updated June 25, 2013