A Drive With Clymene, For Phaeton
My eyes were closed, but I knew
we were driving for the horizon
to disarm our son,
burnt as he was,
low by the restless sea.
We’d brought my hopes along –
overlapping prisms, like charms,
in a bell jar
held in the evening light.
I had caught them for you.
I was weightless
beneath my consciousness,
and could only hum along
to your cynical melodies;
the words so close to your heart.
I heard them taint the discordant oceans,
heard them end,
like your favours,
at our destination.
Phaeton (son of Ocenanic nymph, Clymeme and sun-god, Helios) attempted to drive the sun chariot across the sky. However, he lost control of the horses and Jupiter was forced to kill him with a lightning bolt. Phaethon plunged, blazing into the river Eridanos.
Ovid, Metamorphoses 2. 333 & 355 ff :
“Clymene, distraught with sorrow, said whatever could be said in woes so terrible and beat her breast, and roamed the world to find his lifeless limbs and then his bones, and found his bones at last buried beside a foreign river-bank. And, prostrate there, she drenched in tears his name carved in the marble and hugged it to her breast . . .