A few weeks ago, I started a series of sonnets inspired by an old story of Cupid accidentally scratching himself with one of his arrows and falling in love with Psyche. Here, he is in such a state that he consults Ulysses–whose life is past and is living in the Underworld–about how he survived after hearing the Sirens’ song.
Cupid, to Ulysses
Ulysses, I have come to seek a word
With one once harrowed in his earthly soul:
You broke the bounds of flesh in having heard
The Siren’s song, your form emerging whole.
Then anguished ever after by the strains,
Your yearnings, longings to and of no end–
Your mind’s fell echo raking you with pains,
Soul’s fabric torn, no seamster then to mend.
In human pride you sought this of free will.
But I, immortal, happened on my charms.
Of my own poison comes to me this ill,
No antidote–nor mortal end to harms.
Heroic shadow–counsel, please! Or hope!
This passion scores my spirit beyond scope.
4 thoughts on “Friday Poetry: Cupid, to Ulysses”
I have not been reading sonnets for a while. But the challenging language and the story were compelling. Thanks for taking the time to craft such a short, rich piece. It begs to be reread several times.
Okay, so we have another gem here. “Soul’s fabric torn, no seamster then to mend, ” – Wow. Really, all of it – wow. This is tremendously powerful and begs several readings and deep scrutiny, no doubt. Thank you for keeping me steeped in mythology with your sonnets, and providing the intro before hand to set the stage for those of us who never dabbled in it as much as they should have. Such a delight!
Hmm, quite a turn here, for an immortal to seek advice from a mere mortal. Is this the mountain going to Mohammed? You challenge me with your sonnets, for that I am grateful. I try to imagine where in my mind a story would evolve in sonnet form. Or even in prose. You are making me think!
Great question about a god consulting a mortal. The Siren episode in the Odyssey simply seems to be a nice parallel to what I’m putting poor Cupid through here. Ulysses’s reply will be interesting if I can work out the verse the way I’m trying to. Thanks for reading.