Pen & Ink Drawing of George Frederick Watts’ sculpted bust of CLYTIE . . .  by W.H.B.

 In the verses below, I attempt to express Clytie’s plight when she finds her love for the Son God, Helios, rejected, and she is committed to watch his daily flight across the heavens in his winged chariot .  Eventually she is transformed into a sunflower or heliotrope , condemned for ever to follow the sun’s movements across the sky.


As dusk takes over from the day
I stand on Helios’ shore and weep.
Light for my soul,
Lust for my life;
These no more can I strive to keep.

Yet there is hope because the night
Is followed by expectant day.
The sun will rise
With hope intact,
And I’ll revive my destined way.

The languid sun will lift at dawn
Over the shimmering tranquil sea.
It is my dreams,
My Holy Grail,
And promises new hopes to me.

The sun renews its daily task.
As Clytie, I still strive to meld
Lovers’ aubade,
Their serenade.
With this till dusk my life is held.

Time’s chariot, its path I trace;
Helios arcs across the sky.
Till evening ends
In blood red  gore,
And once again I die.

But then again the cycle breaks
When dawn extends to dusk its kiss.
It’s carmine clinch,
Crimson caress,
Herald again life’s feud with bliss.


Sunset over the Bristol Channel from Ilfracombe, Devon, U.K.   . . .   Photograph by W.H.B.


The three pictures below (click to enlarge) are  of: 

Helios in his chariot, early 4th century BC,  Athena’s temple, Ilion
‘Clytie’ … Painting by George Frederick Watts
‘Sculpted bust of ‘Clytie’ by Watts
Many of G.F.Watts’s paintings and sculptures can be seen at the Watts Gallery, created in is old home in Compton, a village near Guildford, in Surrey, UK.

Further Notes from:
‘As an Oceanid, a water nymph, CLYTIE was the daughter of the Titans Oceanus and Tethys.  She was the lover of the sun god Helios. who eventually deserted her to pursue Leucothea, daughter of Orchamus.  Clytie was enraged and told Orchamus about the love affair. He sentenced his daughter to death by burying her alive.  Clytie thought that the death of Leucothea would make Helios return to her, but it only made him think even less of her.  In the end, Clytie lay herself naked for nine days on the rocks, simply staring at the sun as it crossed the sky each day, without drinking or eating anything.  On the ninth day, she was transformed into a flower, the heliotrope or turnsole, which turns towards the direction of the sun.   

Helios is known as the ‘sun god’ – who drives the sun’s chariot across the sky each day.