Ancient work depicting Poseidon riding a hippocamp‘Heroes, Victims, and Poseidon’ and Other Poetry by Phillip Whidden The Society April 13, 2018 Beauty, Culture, Poetry 4 Comments Heroes, Victims, and Poseidon The metre of ancient Greek poetry succeeds in “achieving a length and complexity that are unusual in the heroic verse of other literatures.” ~ Michael Grant, The Rise of the Greeks, 325, as quoted in Michael Schmidt, The First Poets, 16. The heroes are heroic much because Of Greek. The feet of ancient Greek stepped strong In beat. Performance and its poets’ laws Required short, lonnnng, short, lonnnng, short, lonnnng, short, lonnnng, Across the stage of theatre and stage Of voice and singing. Syllables are more Duration than a stress and so a rage, A love, great hate, a passion fill the shore Below the city with a god whose power Sucks back the waves and sends them crashing in To mangle beauty, no matter the power Of innocence’s horses. This is sin For everyone except the god. The length Of syllables reveals the harsh god’s strength. Helmeted Brain and Tectonic Plates Athena and Poseidon do not meet inside My mind and doubtless not inside my heart. They face each other off: she virgin bride Of wisdom, he who gives the earth a start With shockwaves from the depths of troubled seas. She looks calm like logic in a marble mind. His trident shakes because he disagrees With normal order. Violence combined With cataclysm is his contention. Her rationality is like a shield With spear. She counters with comprehension. She thinks. She reasons that she will not yield. And yet they both are part of the divine. The Greeks knew both deserved a holy shrine. Phillip Whidden is a poet published in America, England, Scotland (and elsewhere) in book form, online, and in journals. He has also had an article on Wilfred Owen’s “Dulce et Decorum est” published in The New Edinburgh Review. www.phillipwhidden.com Views expressed by individual poets and writers on this website and by commenters do not represent the views of the entire Society. The comments section on regular posts is meant to be a place for civil and fruitful discussion. Pseudonyms are discouraged. The individual poet or writer featured in a post has the ability to remove any or all comments by emailing submissions@ classicalpoets.org with the details and under the subject title “Remove Comment.” Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Related 4 Responses Charles Southerland April 14, 2018 Dear Mr. Whidden, perhaps if you had chosen the Sapphic Stanza instead of sonnets to elucidate your intent, things would come into focus with what your intent was. Sappho or Catullus would be a good start, don’t you think? If you need an example or two, I can provide a couple of mine, if need be. : ) Reply James A. Tweedie April 16, 2018 Charles, While sapphic would be an effective (and amusing) alternate form for the first sonnet I believe the second would have been diminished by it. It is lovely just the way it is. I enjoyed the craft in each poem. I enjoyed the stories that were told and I enjoyed the visual imagery that supported the otherwise abstract and esoteric subjects. I also wish to commend the craft that went into writing them. Thank you, Mr. Whidden. Reply Charles Southerland April 16, 2018 James, I had no issue with the sonnets at all. They are finely wrought. What I had a problem with was Mr. Whidden’s charge of metre of the ancients which is really far from the metre of a sonnet. He missed an opportunity to display qualitative metre and quantitative metre. Most people don’t attempt sapphic stanzas, much less know what they are. It takes a while to get the hang of it in English. Swinburne was pretty competent at writing them. The metre of ancient Greek poetry succeeds in “achieving a length and complexity that are unusual in the heroic verse of other literatures.” ~ Michael Grant, The Rise of the Greeks, 325, as quoted in Michael Schmidt, The First Poets, 16. Reply James A. Tweedie April 17, 2018 Poets write of love and life, pain and beauty; Some prefer the sonnet form, others Sapphic. Sometimes limericks seem best; sometimes Haiku. Each in its season. Reply Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.