(Part of Living Poem)
Hear audio: Metamorphoses%20181004_0192.MP3
So Apollo committed the first rape.
He’d come back from exterminating Python,
The Bane of Humanity, now his arrow-victim,
And stopped to mock Cupid’s puny shafts—
“Fit for girlish romance,” Apollo laughed.
Like any miscreant embittered by dismissal,
Cupid weaponized his stigmatized missile
And provoked in Apollo himself an infatuation
With Daphne, a river girl Cupid had dubbed virginal.
Captured, she becomes a tree, which Apollo caresses.
I shudder at Daphne’s abnegating withdrawal
Once she’d seen no escape from the rapist’s thirst.
That’s the second example of rampant evil
Cited by Ovid in Metamorphoses. The first
Is when Lycaon feeds human meat to his guest.
The guest was Jove, who’d assumed human form
To see if creation had gone sickeningly wrong
And learned humans were worse than he’d thought.
The twist is that Jove’s son Apollo comported
Himself with the same depravity deplored in mortals.
And, of course, there’s Jove’s abduction of Io.
He’d changed her into a cow to avoid detection
By Juno, his wife, who’d then penned the heifer
In a meadow to moo at the horror of her transformation.
How can we let that image die in our perspective?
I look up to our pantheon, the courts, the Senate,
And see the male gods’ ethos represented:
Apollo’s creed. And conclude that rape is central,
Along with pride and avarice, to the illness
That seems to be historically ever with us.
It makes me reflect on the question of ALS.
How can something systemic be coaxed to reverse?
Checks and balances fall to rampaging forces,
Causing indelible traumas and fueling hysteria.
It had begun, in myth, with Apollo’s assault on evil.
And now I laugh at my birthday, April 23rd,
The day of St. George who slayed the cursed serpent.
“The dragon represents Winter, and I am Earth!”
He says as he slides his long sword into its sleek sheath.
It’s symbolic. No need going off swinging bollocks.
Why do rapists rise to the upper echelon of society?
I’m simply drawing from classical mythology. My theory
Is: They must compensate for their damaged morality.
Look at how many sin-hating senators are sinners in practice.
Amorality, that’s the topic; and how it works as a tactic.
--Rob Neufeld, Oct. 3, 2018
Poignant in so many ways!