I’m into mythology – I like the gods that fuck and fight and are generally more interesting than the Judeo-Christian sky daddy tends to be – and mostly I like it for how they illustrate human relationships and interaction in the most ridiculously outsized way. It’s just a big soap opera up there for most pantheons. You know, a soap opera where the patriarch keeps turning into animals to bugger young girls behind his wife’s back. So, basically “The Young and the Restless,” I guess?
(This soap opera joke brought to you by someone who has never ever watched a whole episode of any soap opera in their life, so like, someone tell me if it accidentally stumbles into funny.)
One of my favorites is Hades and Persephone. (If you haven’t already listened to Hadestown, stop reading right now and go do that; I don’t even care if you come back to read the sonnet after, it’s that great.) There’s something I like about the Beauty-and-the-Beast Stockholm syndrome romance thing, which I know indicates just how damaged I am. Some part of me doesn’t recognize love unless it bites.
I also like the idea of Hades, the most removed and among the most powerful of the gods, made completely helpless by a girl, just like any other man. I like imagining him confronting what he doesn’t know how to do, trying to learn how to interact in any way but as the Lord of Death. Small wonder he was clumsy.
Watch the flowers spring up in her footprints.
Ask yourself again if you should be here,
if you should dare to taste her atmosphere
or frighten her with your cavern-dweller squint.
Down below, they don’t think you have a heart.
Most of the time, you’re glad to think that too.
If they were here, what would they think of you?
Has Hades found a foe he can’t outsmart?
Feels like it takes you days to find the words,
and then she turns and they scatter again.
You’ve just come up with something better when
the trees nearby fill with Demeter’s birds –
just take her down below, you’ll explain then!
…first thing she ever says to you is “Bastard!”