Of Springs, Olive Trees and Philomousoi
“The Writing Cooperative and Chalkboard Magnet Poetry Prompt”
The man stands steady
An idle spectacle
As others are tossed
By violent storm surge
Called forth by his ire
That even the giant whale
Which would make Melville’s appear newly born
Is hard pressed not to tumble
Currents swirl like nebulous clouds
Churning from his exploding wrath
Rejecting everlasting spring
In favor of silvered olive tree
An act so against his nature
As to appear antithetical
Yet they rejected it, could not see
What it cost him to provide precious water
For but man’s use and
No reason for it other than their pleasure
Striking the sea floor
In rocky shoaled temperament
The Earth-Shaker is revealed
Tremors swell in ever growing circles
Creating the changing waves
Tsunami or slide to him no bother
But a mere thought of no consequence
Despite it altering landscape above and below
Sending man to his eternity
Then from the chaotic waters
A sound, low note melody
He strains to hear the music
As from the swirling water
Bursts of streamlined energy
The philomousoi swim forth
Bursting from the midst of the maelstrom
And as they clear the turbulence
they begin to dance
Swaying and spinning to the haunting sounds
of lute and lyre
The water rounding the edges of the sound
Finally, it seems no more will join
But he knows better
One more, smaller than the others, emerges and . . .
One hand rests lightly
on her companion’s fin which is graced by
A small purple wreath dark with deep red roses
A replica of the one which sits upon her midnight hair
Given to her by Aphrodite on the day she wed
She dances a measure to recall their first meet
An unnecessary seduction
For when first he saw her, he was caught
Would have cut the heart from his very chest
Given it as an offering
Had she but asked.
The hypnotic motions of philomousoi and his beloved
Bleeds his anger washing it from him
Her skin shines like fire
And splendid limbs stretch glorious and languid
He is entranced
Her face carefully veils the barest hint of cautiousness
And he softens wanting to reassure her
Her ox eyes widen further a mix of arousal and concern
Rarely smiling, he does so now
If but small it’s all heartfelt
For how could he not be gentled
By this Goddess who enables all that he is
When his very name was born of spouse
He knows her desire, heeds her wordless request without rebuke
Restrains his overbearing force
And holds back his oppressive scheme
As the waters return to their normal mystery
He raises a hand to her alabaster cheek
And stares into her liquid eyes
His hand encircle her waist, satisfaction results when
Crescent shaped pupils enlarge in longing to take in all of him
It is a look he loves, and one that bodes well
He lifts her to the equines back
And mounts before her
In a single burst of muscle and sinew
He feels her arms tighten around him
Breathes into her soft curves
Her cheek rests warm on his back
And as their celestial offspring look on
Together they gallop off
On a sea horse steed
An underwater Pegasus
Leaving fiery hoof-prints
In their wake.
As they ride towards the immortal glow of dawn
This stanza introduces Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea, who is considered to be among the most temperamental of all the Greek Gods. His moodiness causes him to be feared by those above and below the ocean. He can become easily enraged and he’s vengeful when insulted.
This stanza recounts the contest between Poseidon and Athena for control of Athens. Poseidon struck the ground with his trident and a spring of water shot forth. Athena planted an olive twig which she nurtured into an olive tree and won. Poseidon felt no one understood how much had gone into him bothering with humans which was out of character, to the point he chose an act that would only please man not the Gods. When he lost, he became furious which is when this poem occurs. This stanza displays his temper
When Poseidon would strike the ground with his trident he would cause underwater earthquakes, landslides and Tsunamis which is why his nickname is Earth-Shaker. When in a rage, he cared not for the human lives that would be lost.
The philomousoi were dolphins believed to dance whenever they heard music.
This stanza introduces Poseidon’s wife Amphitrite. When Poseidon first saw her dancing he fell in love with her but she fled. He sent Delphin to reason with her and Delphin was successful getting her to agree to marry Poseidon. As a reward, Poseidon turned him into stars in the Delphinus constellation.
The cape and wreath mentioned here were given to Amphitrite for the wedding by Aphrodite.
Amphitrite thinks to dance for her husband to get him on her good side, since she knows what she will be asking of him will go against his nature.
Although she is a bit concerned, her husband calms in her presence and smiles knowing that he’ll do whatever she wants.
The line: “When his very name was born of spouse” refers to the fact that his name means husband, a reference to his home in the waters reflecting the marriage of earth and sky. In this poem though, he considers himself to be the husband of Amphitrite.
Their “celestial offspring” included Delphin and some of the other dolphins that served Poseidon and Amphitrite, as well as Orion.
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