The Madness of Light

by Andrew Weatherly
Farewell of Hector and Andromache

Anton Losenko, “Farewell of Hector and Andromache” (1773)

The Madness of Light

Zeus spoke to Hector urging him
to fight harder calling him coward again and again
sending His messenger Iris to whisper in Hector’s ear
sending Apollo again and again
to berate and chide Hector
when he would be cautious
and so inspiring lust of battle
lust for Achilles’ armor
lust for Patroclus’ body as a trophy
And after nine years who was more mad?
Cassandra, his sister who saw Troy burning
(but to whom no one would listen?)
or Hector?, Heir to Troy,
most puissant of warriors, the leader of the fight
And what does that do to a man
to have the gods pushing shoving
manipulating deceiving appearing as favorite friends
but always with that special aura
that warned of immortality
What does it do to drink of the firehose of the gods
instead of the spring of the earth?
How do you even know who you are anymore
when nine years of war have plagued you
when friends die every day around you
as you strive with the gods’ blessing to stop the curse
to stop destiny?
Can loving your wife and children mean much anymore?
Are honoring your father and mother
comparable to serving the gods?
Can it be other than rocky ground strewn with stones
all ready to twist your purposes
while the audience listens, knowing
your fate is to be dragged dead back and forth
on the blood watered plain?
What madness is wrought in the mind
how twisted the heart
if he holds pride in his strength of arms
in his doing the will of the gods
even as he is set up to fall
to fail no matter how hard he tries
to hesitate to do what is right


For Apollonaire after ‘La Brasier’

What the Rookery where sphinxes
              are born and mature
              lined in feathers and fur
              pages of a library of wisdom
              an elixir too strong for man
              too delicate for his palate to perceive
              more than words and images.

It is no wonder that riddles
              the only lingua franca between us
              trading shadows
              pointed as flint arrows
              crooked as the shaft
              make sense only as
              death envelopes us.

What the barn where centaurs
              are born on fresh hay
              cut by flint sickles
              mares clustering
              blocking the miraculous view
              so that stallions
              shunted off to knowledge of the world
              and its mysteries

and so they strive to match
to meet to stand
beside as mate to wisdom
and men merely acquainted with stallions
              knowing not how much they miss.

Where are the mermaids born
              in the blue deeper than sky
              and growing from such depths
              no wonder they seek sunlit shores
              to sing siren songs
              and in frivolity play with men’s minds
              with notes and harmonies deeper
              than a man can comprehend.
              And what of those men who pursue
              not the depths of wisdom
              but the melody of waves crashing into shore.

What the hatching place of aliens in space
              where we cannot touch for fear of death.
              what exalted knowledge of the spheres
              and dimensions
              steps above our doors
              on the other side of a wall
              our satellites scrape clean
              seeing humanoid forms in white or green
              bipedal with two eyes facing
              hands openly waving hello or goodbye.

And mere men always seeking
              always finding only themselves.

About the author

Andrew Weatherly

Andrew Weatherly (he/they) lives in Asheville, North Carolina where he hears inspiration from dying trees, Hawaiian shirts, fires, and other poets. He is blessed to teach kids to think for themselves, dance in the streets, and slip off to pilgrimages to sacred mountains. He’s been published in Belle Reve, Axe Factory, Former People, Danse Macabre, Cordite, BlazeVox, The Literary Nest, Commonline Journal, Hot News, and Crack the Spine.

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