Stolen

What dreadful fate is to be born

out of the semen of a randy god

and placed in the realm of heroes

as a woman; as something men think

they must own, must woo, conquer,

deal as they please or simply steal.

.

What strange prophesy must be fulfilled?

What twisted game of ironic gods

demands she be so perfect, that even

Aphrodite will use her as a bribe

to someone as worthy as that Paris,

for something as precious as an apple.

.

Stolen once, then once again, the toy

of daring men who never knew

the colour that she liked, the beating

of her heart when not immersed in fear,

the child that would cry on Troy’s walls

for the absence of her brothers.

.

Relevant link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helen

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3 responses to “Stolen

  1. On how Helen was conceived, there’s nothing better, I think, than W.B.Yeats poem “Leda and the Swan”. Please take the time to read it here:
    http://www.web-books.com/Classics/Poetry/Anthology/Yeats/Leda.htm

    On how Helen was played for an apple, please read here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judgment_of_Paris#Mythic_narrative

  2. George Konstantinidis

    Who was Helen after all?

    She was born out of the semen of a randy god
    and placed in the realm of heroes as a woman.
    But She was stolen by Theseus when she was ten years old.
    Handed over to Menelaus by Tyndareus.
    Raped by Paris.
    Stolen once again by him.
    And finally She was dragged back to Sparta
    and lived briefly with Menelaus again.

    According to Euripides in his play Orestes, Helen left the mortal world having been taken up to Olympus almost immediately after Menelaus’ return to Sparta. The poem laments Helen’s dreadful fate, but above all it reveals to us Helen, the child…the young girl who became the toy of daring men who never knew
    the colour that she liked…
    Who never knew the beating of her heart, when not immersed in fear.
    The young girl that would cry on Troy’s walls
    for the absence of her brothers…

    The poem covers a lot of Mythological and Historical ground, in a sincere, emotional and masterful way. At the end it gives Helen her stolen heard and mind.

    Respect and tribute to Helen was long overdue.

    Thank you!!

  3. Thank you George. But I often wonder whether the poem would work if one had only a sketchy (or none at all) knowledge of the background stories. The ending, for example, comes from a detail in the Iliad, where Helen, at the behest of Priam, king of Troy, stands on the ramparts and identifies persons in the attacking armies of the Achaeans.

    “Now I see all the bright-eyed Achaeans
    whom I know well, whose names I could recite.
    But I can’t see two of the men’s leaders,
    Castor, tamer of horses, and Pollux,
    the fine boxer—they are both my brothers,
    whom my mother bore along with me.”

    This part moved me very much. Her brothers (Castor and Pollux/Dioscuri/Gemini) had died two years earlier but she didn’t know it yet.

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