I shall like to live my life as a Promethean poem
And steal to earth God’s most sacred fire from heaven!
Which prosody, a psalm of echoes in efflorescence;
Which beauty, its raison d’être, the extant of essence;
Which truth, made triune in Pathos, Ethos and Logos,
Lead not the soul up the precipitous brinks of bathos.
I shall like my poem, like unbounded night skies,
Turn long cartwheels across a heaven of seeing eyes
With nary a bolt, nut or hub at its center centrifugal;
With nary an arc or far-off edge at its rim centripetal;
No axle cranks its far-flung revolving eyes of night;
No spokes pent prisoner its far-off pinpoints of light!
Yes, I shall like to live free as a poem of fired art!
But no, old fiends and friends, this tired old heart
Is but one tiresome old fart! One highfalutin cretin
And one low sorry fellow of creation and damnation;
Prometheus-fired poem I am not but lout and tout:
Where my poetry soars, it eats my heart inside out!
Notes for A Promethean Poem
In Greek mythology, the titan Prometheus stole fire from heaven, taught its use to man and for this unforgiveable transgression, was eternally bound by Zeus to a rock inside the volcano Mt Edna where daily, Zeus’ pet eagle would tear and eat out his liver (believed to be the seat of emotion but referred to as ‘heart’ in the above poem), which would then regenerate itself by the next morning, only to be torn out and eaten again. Ethos, Pathos and Logos (Credibility, Emotion and Logic) are the 3 Aristotelian modes of persuasion, of which video presentations are available on YouTube.
The poem employs onomatopoeic and kinetic effects. Verse 1 reverberates with echoes; its key phrase is ‘echoes in efflorescence’. The verse reverberates with echoes created by the use of alliterations (words beginning with the same letter or sound) and internal and end rhymes. In Verse 2, subject to the physical laws of nature, the poet is Prometheus unbound. Kinetic images are emphasized. Verse 3 reveals the poet’s introspective nature: he notes and regrets his failings. Above all, he notes too that introspective poetry is like the eagle that torments Prometheus.
This poem is part of the Poetry Book Arrow of Time