The ‘Atlas’ Sundial, Culzean Castle, Ayrshire, Scotland … Photo: WHB 2003 ©
PUNISHMENT OF THE GODS
The ancient gods of Greece and Rome, omniscient in their sagacity,
Showed no restraint at all in exercising their voracity.
Eternal punishment was dealt by Zeus to those who crossed him;
Ever the vengeful God dispersed reprisal on a whim.
Prometheus, fettered to a rock, Zeus’s ego damaged,
Condemned to have his entrails by an eagle daily ravaged.
For Sisyphus he set the task of rolling a stone uphill.
For all I know that poor old chap is pushing skywards still.
Wretched Tantalus suffered long, his grasp forever taunted
By receding fruit and water, always close, but always daunted.
For lusting after Zeus’s wife, Ixion was bound to a wheel,
Then the wheel was set on fire, a vicious cruel ordeal.
Other gods and goddesses were equally disdaining
Of lesser gods and vulgar mortals of whom they were complaining.
Arachne she was killed by fate, but brought back as a spider,
Condemned continually to weave, forever an outsider.
Actaeon was turned into a stag for just one venial sin,
Then torn apart by his own hounds, his heart ripped from his skin.
Narcissus met his Nemesis beside the mirrored pool.
He pined away with love forlorn; he broke the golden rule.
Atlas he was made to bear the whole of heavens’ weight;
Upon his shaken Titan shoulders, his cursed aeonian fate.
So thus discomfited mankind was taught not to transgress;
Displease the gods who dares, condemned to unceasing deep distress.