The third part of my ode to Greece in the stanza of Spencer.
Argument: Orestes, the son of Agamemnon, born into power cannot expect to escape its depravities.
There is a rupture, a moment of bleak
Empty wilderness a time lost to all,
Before whence all idealists did seek,
To test their skills unprepared for the fall,
The house of old Mycenae’s blood drenched hall,
Familiar bonds not always so dear,
A king though in stature may be quite tall,
Orestes’ doom, to complacently hear,
Furies’ cry for lifeblood, his lineage clear.
Tell me how could any such Delphic bard,
Make song of sparse eons’ austerity?
When even muses themselves find it hard,
The act of fine vocal dexterity?
Long gone are days of kind sincerity,
A feature so common among equals,
Fully knowing harsh pending levity,
That weight of a Bronze age that now appalls,
The pending curtain call which upon greatness falls.
Orestes, son of family dispute,
To whom it fell the burden of vengeance,
Against his own kindred, to raise his boot,
Blot out the life that gave him essence.
Electra too, in his sister’s presence,
Brought down retribution on his own head,
Furies sought unremitting repentance,
They drove him forth to Athens, where it’s said,
Trial by reason! Passions soothed and put to bed!
Barely come of age, the soft hairy down
Of his chin still smooth, quite easily seen.
Such youth commits matricide for the crown,
For Clytemnestra’s end he was too keen.
The hot-headed impatience of a teen,
Brought about further dynastic shift.
She having been in turn also too mean,
Orestes merely repeating to lift
The knife by which his father too was set adrift.
Hardly avoidable his destiny,
Punish a mother of so little love,
For a husband long lost at war away,
Agamemnon returning felt her shove
His war weary personage from above,
Down into Hades’ waters thereabout,
Polluted bloodshed the peace of a dove,
Long since denied during Troy’s tragic rout,
Likewise, nobody cared for his own final shout.
Despite his depravity, such an act,
The duty of honour should deserve praise,
To avenge a father who but lacked,
Nothing to a son which should amaze,
Agamemnon’s vengeance he obeys,
A brother & sister seem justified,
Forgetting that father’s very own craze,
Iphigenia, their sibling once sighed,
Ritual sacrifice! The Greek cause obliged!
Poetry/ Music/ Photos: Leigh David Cobley