Saturday, September 11, 2010

Poetry Prompt #22 – Making the Myth

Many of us learned about Greek and Roman mythology as school children and, perhaps, some of us learned about other mythologies of the world. Myths have been part of culture and civilization from the time of the ancients and have offered "religious" explanations for humankind's being. Most myths were originally created and disseminated through an oral poetic tradition. For this prompt, you will use mythological characters, references, or allusions to create a poem. Now, think of a myth or mythological character that you can “connect” to your own life (any myth or character, from any source). Use elements of that myth, such as people, places, settings, conflicts, etc. to explore your identity, your personality, and the way you and others think about you. Alternatively, you may experiment and "create your own myth." Be sure to read the examples before you start writing.


And, by way of sharing, here's my "mythology" poem.

by Adele Kenny

Imagine Icarus before the air let go,
before the sea lunged up. Imagine the 

downward pitch, the boy wing-tipped
and sticky. Of course he failed, we all 

fail. Things come unglued. And not 
surprising – this mutability of mutable 

things. The way Breughel painted it, 
life goes on: ploughman, shepherd, 

oblivious sheep. Life goes on: the 
garden passes its shadow to the fence; 

birds murmur and settle their wings 
like prayers spoken in hopeless places. 

The earth curves into place. Water. Silt. 
Sky. The moon rises and keeps on rising.

(First Published in Tiferet, Issue 5 (2007). Reprinted by Permission.)

A collection of poems that "meshes" with this prompt 
(a book I wholeheartedly recommend) 
is Renée Ashley's The Revisionist's Dream.

Also of interest: the Greek Muse of Poetry was Erato. Since the Renaissance, Erato is usually depicted with a wreath of myrtle and roses, and holding a lyre or a small Kithara (a musical instrument invented by Erato or Apollo). Other depictions show Erato holding a golden arrow; at times she is accompanied by Eros and is holding a torch.


  1. This quote seems appropriate:

    "The poem is a little myth of man's capacity of making life meaningful. And in the end, the poem is not a thing we see – it is, rather, a light by which we may see – and what we see is life " (Robert Penn Warren)

  2. Like a Pan of stone,
    ensorcelled, cast in pain
    from home in mystic plains.
    Immortal held below
    mundane sky.

    Mercurial phase.
    Experience teaches as ratiocination
    never will.
    Solitary sojourn.
    Search cascading stills,
    divine signs.

    I fish for gutter snipes,
    smoke to assuage hunger.
    Haven't you?
    Silly me, to contradict
    your view.
    When we met, I was still
    so new.

    Practice willful skills to habit.
    Mindfully design impeccable spells.
    Immerse in scintillating tidbits,
    encrypted tones of Temple bells.
    Silly Buddha tricks
    are for kids, who sell
    services for circuses.
    This phase relaxes -- sings out for fun
    Enjoy! The next track looms ahead.
    Stone bases crack, licked by the Sun,
    Spirit dishonoured as dead

    Glorious battles can start
    in an era of heart.
    Glorious peace can be found
    in an era of mind.
    Stories absorbed in the womb of man
    in the day to day,
    cast an unconscious play.
    Until the Covenant is broken.
    Astronished, stone breathes, alive.
    Mature, Pan, self-freed, grieves
    lost time.

    June 2010

  3. Libramoon,

    Thanks so much for sharing your poem!

  4. Thanks, libramoon, for sharing your poem. Your allusions to Pan are interesting; he was the god of shepherds and flocks, of mountain wilds, hunting and rustic music, and the companion of the nymphs. The last phrase "grieves lost time" is a great "dismount."

  5. This is a really challenging prompt – makes you think! Drawing imagery form Classical sources is interesting.

    Thanks, Adele for a truly wonderful blog and great ideas for getting (and keeping) the creativity going.