Dr. Zeus – Book I – Canto XVII

Of punishment just
For my perversion and lust
Of overreaction
And how I took action
Of how he did others bend to his will
By showing his skill was far greater still
Of how Aphrodite made it all right
Showing my weakness despite all my might
-Oh Halcyon Muses nine-
For your version I simply haven’t the time
This is one where you’ve been gentle to me
(Though I don’t understand how it ever could be)|
For this was the last, all it would take
For my rule, that binding, finally to break
So I shall sing of what I did do
How from Olympos Hephaestus I threw

The Start Of It All Was My Dear Nephew’s Fall

Hera, my wife, was starting to hate
How I did live – with others did mate

Before she accepted my each indiscretion
To save us from Earth, she’d made that concession

But up until now I’d still shown that I care
Though I philandered, home was still there

But what I now did she would never accept
Her image of me it did deeply affect

For once I’d shown my violence to her
It stuck in her mind as a deep mental burr

It scratched, it itched, did her irritate
Bringing back deeds both past and of late

All of my children to her came to mind
A thought, a plan, through this she did find

Powerful progeny I’d had on my own
I didn’t her need, had left her alone

So she decided, to me, she would do the same
And have a new child to solely her name

So without any man she created new life
Only to cause our marriage some strife

I was enraged – though not at all fair –
And thought what to do when her son she did bear

I thought of the cause that made her insult
An eternal reminder would be her result

I hung her in chains at Olympos’s top
Threatening her with another great drop

There she hung as her child did grow
Hephaestus his name, so he said so

For his mother, disgraced, couldn’t him name
And to us, to other’s, he never then came

A child – he played with every machine
Better with them than any had seen

A young man – he had his own forge
Metallurgical knowledge he’d readily gorge

All grown – he us gods amazed
We couldn’t believe onto what we had gazed

A trio of tripods for himself he did make
Of stone, metal, and the clay he did bake

They moved on their own, walked ‘round his shop
Carried things on their smooth flattened top

As well as their legs they had three pairs of hands
Each at the end of six coiled bands

They helped him there helped with his work
Whilst on his face was a satisfied smirk

I didn’t know then why this he wore
How his mother he still did adore

Despite that her he never had known
Never had been there while he had grown

Too he knew why he was made
But further he knew the price she had paid

As well that he, alone only he
He knew only he could his dear mother free

For while, absolute, of them was my rule
He was better with each craftsmen’s tool

As this was well know he did not try to hide
When to act he did finally decide

So casual, calm, completely blasé
He walked up to Hera and freed her one day

All us were shocked by what he had done
By the loyalty shown by Hera’s sole son

But this show did not placate my wrath
Into which he’d stepped firmly in path

“So” I bellowed “you think it enough?
You think me extreme and frankly too tough?

“As it was you who these actions did take
I believe I shall give Hera a break

“Instead of her I shall do unto you
That which I told her I later might do”

I grabbed him with ease, picked him right up
With my hand his face I did cup

But he didn’t resist, in no way did fight
Didn’t attempt to test my limits and might

And so I strolled to the horror of all
To the tallest peak from which he would fall

Down and down, he did tumble below
Far from our mountain him I did throw

On Lemnos, that island, he finally did land
But no longer, he found, he was able to stand

Though ‘twasn’t the women Aphrodite had cursed
But a nereid instead who there found him first

And for him Thetis did what she could
Though not Apollo her healings quite good

Thanks to her he would eventually hobble
But never he’d stand without a slight wobble

But even when he could walk on his own
For his actions he’d no wish to atone

Though for forgiveness he could now come and beg
He refused as I crippled his leg

But on Olympos machinations unfurled
In his forge machines bobbed and whirled

For his tripods he’s left some instructions
To ensure my station’s destruction

In secret they made wondrous gifts
And his stature they’d readily life

Once they did all them complete
Each who’d receive the tripods did greet

To Aphrodite they presented a girdle of gold
The most beautiful that would any behold

To each of my brothers, a gift of their station
To show which part they ruled of creation

Poseidon received a trident resplendent
To show that he was Ocean’s attendant

For Dis, as proof he ruled all the dead
He’d be unseen with this helm on his head

As well to my wife, his so beloved mother
But the nature of it she’d share with no other

Once the tripods had made all their rounds
They stopped, stood lifeless, no more made sounds

And suddenly ‘gainst me all my kin turned
For more gifts of his they selfishly yearned

They demanded that I go, beg him come back
Foresight and judgement they claimed I did lack

It was clear this issue they’d certainly force
Leaving me simply with no other choice

But when I went down, did plead his return
This offer he did immediately spurn

Again and again him I did ask
Even offered to do any task

But ‘twas clear to me, clear from the start
That in any discussion he wouldn’t take part

So defeated I went back to my home
My heart sat heavy, as though it were stone

For though Prometheus had tricked me before
This task was simple, it stung all the more

For once I feared for my power my seat
Though me and Athene could still them defeat

For if it was rule for which Hephaestus had yearned
He maybe could win if ‘gainst me all of them turned

But when I returned to Olympos above
I remembered there was no power greater than love

For despondent I had taken a longer way back
Allowed my sister to find the right track

For I returned at the end of a wedding
Between the master of craft and the mistress of bedding

For my promised success she had no sort of trust
And though instead he’d give into lust

For each gift was an insult to me
Clearly ‘twas why each of them be

Aphrodite’s though stood well apart
Her gift seemed true of the heart

So down to that island she’d gone once again
To that island lacking in men

Dressed in the girdle to Hephaestus she went
To see if it’s meaning was what she’d thought it’d meant

“Of crafty craftsman” she said ‘pon her approach
“Clearly your skills are beyond all reproach

“This girdle’s the best that I ever will see
But I wonder why you would make it for me”

With a coquettish grin and an eyebrow raised
Clearly she teased while Hephaestus she praised

But Hephaestus was smart and knew well her game
He wished to play too, though not quite the same

“I’m sure” he said “you already know
What ever some think, your mind isn’t slow

“You rule, after all, all love itself
You surely receive many presents of wealth

“You must know what it was for
Do you question all who adore?”

He turned to her, returned a sweet smile
Neither said anything for quite a long while

“Well,” she said “you wonders produce
But too did you stand up to Zeus

“What can I say? they’re an object of lust
All whom themselves wholly do trust

“And I do have ideas, for more than one
Of what you could make with which we’d have fun

“I know that you know I’m both love and lust
If you wish more than pleasure, you can not me trust”

At the ropes of the girdle which he did craft
He grabbed and pulled as she giggled and laughed

He pulled her in close, so close to him
Both breathing heavy, both full of vim

He said “no need to worry for while I wish you my wife
“I already know how you’d live your own life

“And I’m a craftsman thus get no greater joy
Than seeing an item or person their purpose employ”

Smiling and flushed they did deeply then kiss
Cupid’s arrow, it never does miss

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