The Logos of Athena

Oh, fools of Troy. Oh, Fools of Greece.
Oh, Fools all, yet such grand and glorious fools.
I do entreat you to listen, for often it is men that beg
the favor of the gods, but not often that gods pray for man's audience.

For what is wisdom if scattered by the roadside
an unwelcome burden to carry, a great millstone that weighs down
the aspirations of man. How his glory would soar you claim
were it not for the boulder that must be pushed up the hill.

And yet I ask that you not abandon the weight of my gift
For when the world grows dark, wisdom becomes your home
a small lighted fire upon a dark beach.
shelter against the night of ignorance.

And as the shadows play upon the ships, some will turn to stare
at merely the reflected light, and pay no heed to the fire
or deign to remember that in time, the sun will again rise.
elbowing aside their fellows for another shred of reflected warmth.

And the blame that you have left upon the table, that is not heavy
for it is a simple matter to carry if all take their share.
I offer to take my portion, and admit to a moment of vanity.
I admit to jealousy. I admit that I bowed to the heat of the moment.

I admit that once, I felt I was due to the victor's crown
for merely the accident of my birth. For my status. For my purity.
And yet what had I done, but submit to the authority of my father?
He had chosen, and I merely did my duty, as any loyal daughter.

Yet, doing so, I saw my own works undone, and my own gifts turned
to crush and separate the people from one another.
And I weep for the charnel field that stands upon the site of Troy.
For I know it was my hand that had a part in its creation.

And when my tears have run dry I shall once again
Take up my spear and my shield. For I can not abandon my charge
as long as there are men who will raise a shield for their fellows
As long as there are those who will weave together the parts to make things anew.

And then comes the hardest lesson that any who fight must learn
and here, while the embers still smolder and the blood still rushes
is the time to learn it. So listen, for it is the greatest gift I can grant.
Nike is not predisposed to the virtuous. Olive Branches are worn by villains.

A man who is glorious in victory will be wretched in defeat.
A man who is gracious in victory will be granted clemency in defeat.
A man who denies the victory of others will never stop fighting the same battle.
And a people who will not stop fighting, will eventually sacrifice all else to fight.

A simple lesson. A simple pearl of wisdom, distilled
as if from a simple oyster after years of pain, suffering and anguish.
For it is many an unsung hero that has whispered my name
who bears that burden for all of man.

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Comments

detroitmechworks's picture

Although, I must admit this one is a little more personal than the last few. Smile

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I do not pretend I know what I do not know.

Lookout's picture

is still with us and appears on the state seal of CA
301px-Seal_of_California.svg_.png

Minerva, her Roman counterpart, had a temple in Bath where this was found...
Bath (10).jpg

So the Trojan war was based on Paris judgement of beauty...and Athena wasn't happy with the outcome. Where was her wisdom? I like the idea of gods and goddesses with human faults.

Interesting series.

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

detroitmechworks's picture

@Lookout As far as where Athena' wisdom went, I have to remember that even the wisest make mistakes, and sometimes a lesson cannot be learned without first hand experience.

And every daughter has to learn that her father isn't infallible sometime. Smile

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I do not pretend I know what I do not know.

mhagle's picture

Pondering your poetry.

Thanks again. Smile

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Marilyn

Let's save the planet for our kids. Tree Hugger to the end.

detroitmechworks's picture

@mhagle if anything's unclear, I have no problem explaining or going further into the mythological references.

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I do not pretend I know what I do not know.

thanatokephaloides's picture

..... is fascinating! It sticks close by the traditions of the Mythology, as well!

I've read more of your poetry, more willingly, than of anyone else posting poetry here.

Very well done indeed!

Give rose

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"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

detroitmechworks's picture

@thanatokephaloides I know I often recoil at the thought of reading poetry, but sometimes I find something I really like. Glad that my work is in that category for somebody else. Smile

As far as the mythology goes, I admit that I'm very fond of the Greek myths, and as a result I always cringe a little when I see them portrayed wrong. (Disneyfication is an evil end to a story...)

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I do not pretend I know what I do not know.

lotlizard's picture

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detroitmechworks's picture

@lotlizard I must admit there's a lot of my own regret in this piece. Course, I'm dying to get started on the next one, but I do NOT want to rush this.

Of course, this piece feels a bit better when read aloud. Of course, that has always been my greatest flaw, rushing to the end, so I need to sit back and let this one percolate for today.

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I do not pretend I know what I do not know.

I am no expert at writing anything, but there was one line, the last of v2

"For what is wisdom if scattered by the roadside
an unwelcome burden to carry, a great millstone that weighs down
the aspirations of man. How his glory would soar you claim
were it not for the boulder that must be pushed up the hill."

I thought it would lead to the actual round and round of pushing the millstone all day, grinding or something with the milling.

The next 2 verses(?) play with light, dark, shadows, reflections and then the full sun. It just weaves the images together... Well, like the rest of the verses.

I know that pushing the boulder was part of the myths, ... I dunno, or maybe something else, It just kinda takes a right angle. just me I guess.

Mostly I am very uncomfortable even saying anything. Been sitting here for 2 hours hesitating to send. You have a good way of telling what you want to say. It's your art, all yours and any feedback from someone who isn't a writer is just noise. I'm just noise.

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detroitmechworks's picture

@Snode I was trying to evoke the image of Sisyphus. He's often seen as the epitome of useless toil, his punishment in Hades for his crimes being to constantly roll a boulder up a hill over and over only to have it slip from his grasp and be forced to start all over again.

I was trying to take that image and instead impose something more valuable. While a millstone is also treated as a weight in poetry, I was trying to take into account the fact that it has value. Smile

And any and all feedback is wonderful! I'm glad that the imagery on shadows was working, and again, I'll cite my sources on that one... I was borrowing from the Socratic parable of reflections on the cave wall. However, the image of ships on a beach struck me as much more appropriate for the situation, so adapted it into the current form.

Don't be uncomfortable at all. It really helps me to know what IS working and what isn't. I Honestly have been poring over Susan Price's Book on Antisthenes today and I'm happy that many of my assumptions are backed up by the historical/document record. I just find Antisthenes very easy to understand, even in the moments that the Antiquarians are confused by.

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I do not pretend I know what I do not know.

enhydra lutris's picture

wise warrior maiden who was also goddess of the hearth really shines through.

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

detroitmechworks's picture

@enhydra lutris as much as something that I was remembering.

And I have to admit that a few times on a Beach before I went to Iraq I whispered a prayer or ten to Athena that I'd come home safe.

Even got a Tattoo. Smile

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I do not pretend I know what I do not know.