Sunday, May 17, 2009

New Poem: Love Letter from Ares, God of War, to Aphrodite, Goddess of Love and Wife to Hephaestus, God of Blacksmith'ry

(Draft 1 - critiques welcome)

“A Love Letter From Ares, God of War, to Aphrodite, Goddess of Love and Wife to Hephaestus, God of Blacksmith'ry”
Andrew Ek

Can you feel the sunshine, love,
bearing down warm upon your face?

You spend so much time underground
with him, the lord of volcanos, but
the world deserves your beauty;
your belief that you do not deserve
its beauty in return mystifies me.

I do not understand why you
render yourself absent so often,
and yet you do, Aphrodite.

His reason is simple; he is outcast, as am I, markedly different.
His mark a disfigured body, mine a disfigured soul
both too twisted for the realms of perfection
and yet I strive sometimes for normalcy, for calmness.
It is in these moments of lucidity that I can think.
These moments unnerve me, but I find myself in one now. 
Still, I much prefer the blind passion
of battle, of love, of conquest.

You, you are love incarnate,
and found in carnality, in the flesh.
We are kindred in temperature
and temperament, with none
of the cool rationality that marks
him to whom you bound yourself.

But Aphrodite, you and I are
creatures of passion, and the
blood coursing through your veins
is much the same as mine,
as is the blood left on the battlefield
by my work in the affairs of men
and their foaming at their mouths.

It is all the same, all made of heat.

Aphrodite, your name means “foam-born”
and your very birth was an act of violence
when your father stabbed his father
and stole the throne
you were borne of the droplets of blood, of conquering
it is only natural then that we should love each other.

We are not like your husband working at his forge,
steely and deliberate; the impulses he delivers with his
hammer are different from the impulses which govern our lives;
They are arguably more pure.

He loves you deliberately, beautifully, but not like I do.
His love is a cool and solid thing.
He is the better man.

We are that which we create, Aphrodite:
lust for flesh and lust for blood;
you and I create passion, blind and fervid.
We are the genesis of the uncontrolled,
making men and women out of cowards,
but it is just as often that we make cowards
out of men and women.  Surely you remember
how we fled the shores of Ilium?

I create bloodlust and hatred;
I am rage and destruction.
These are hardly conditions for you.

Your husband, Hephaestus, creates strength;
his creations at the forge are solid, ornate, beautiful.
You inspire him in a way that you never did me,
and every shield, every breastplate, every buckler exists
to bring a warrior back home to his lover after the fighting ceases,
after my work is done.
I am the cause for death, grieving, tears and destruction.
He preserves life, such that you might make life joyful
after the burnt farms have grown back and the dead are buried.

It is too often that our works destroy each other, Aphrodite,
and so it is better that we are apart,
lest we destroy each other too.
It is better that you are underground.

But even with this distance, Aphrodite, I still wonder:
can you feel the sunshine, love,
bearing down warm upon your face?

I do
like waves of blood
on the fields of slaughter.
The feeling reminds me of you;
there is a certain serenity in it,
a certain sense of peace.